The Government recently announced a new national Test and Trace Support scheme which started on 28 September 2020 for certain people who are required by law to self-isolate. If you have been personally contacted by the NHS Tracing team via phone call, text or email and have been issued with your own personal NHS 8 digit account ID, either because you have tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) or you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive, you may be entitled to some financial support during your self-isolation period.
If you have been told to self-isolate by your employer or by Public Health England due to a positive COVID-19 case being reported within your work place setting, there may be a delay in you receiving your 8 digit account ID whilst your details are registered with Public Health England, your employer can contact them on 020 3743 6715.
Please make your application once you have been contacted by the NHS Tracing team and issued with your NHS 8 digit account ID. You can still apply up to 42 days after your first day of self-isolation. For example, if the period of self-isolation started on 1 April 2021, an application can still be made up to 13 May 2021.
An NHS 8 digit account ID is only issued when you are personally contacted by the NHS tracing team because you have tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), or are a registered close contact of a person who has tested positive. The NHS 8 digit account ID is normally received by text or email from the NHS tracing team. In these circumstances, your NHS 8 digit account ID must be supplied when making an application.
NHS COVID-19 app
If you have the NHS COVID-19 smartphone app and have received a notification telling you to self-isolate because you’ve been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus, you will need to register with the NHS Test and Trace service. This is done by selecting the ‘Financial Support’ option on the home screen of the app. You will then be taken to a website to register your personal information to check whether you could be eligible. If your answers show that you may be eligible for the NHS Test and Trace Support Payment, there are 4 further steps to complete before you will receive your NHS 8 Digit account ID from the NHS Tracing team.
Only the latest version of the NHS COVID-19 app will provide the new ‘Financial Support’ option. It will be necessary to download any app updates for this change to take effect on previously installed NHS COVID-19 apps.
Who should apply
People living in Torbay who have received notification from NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate should apply for a Self-Isolation Payment providing they satisfy the following four requirements:
- you comply with the notification from NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate;
- you are employed or self-employed
- you are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result
- you have responded to messages received from NHS Test and Trace (which will have been received via a combination of email, text, letter or phone call)
There are two elements to the scheme, a standard payment and a discretionary payment. To qualify for a standard payment you must be in receipt of one of the following benefits:
- Universal Credit
- Working Tax Credit
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Housing Benefit
- Income Support
- Income base Job Seeker's Allowance
- Pension Credit
If you are not receiving one of these benefits you can make an application for a discretionary payment. This is for individuals on low income (regularly receiving gross earnings of less than £380 per week prior to self-isolation) and will face financial hardship as a result of not being able to work whilst self-isolating. This is a limited fund so applications will be considered on a case by case basis. For full details of the discretionary payment scheme please see our Test and Trace Support Payments Scheme policies.
Who is not eligible
You will not be eligible for the scheme if:
- you are quarantining after travelling abroad
- you continue to receive full wages while you self-isolate
- you can work from home during a period of self-isolation
- you received your notification from NHS Test and Trace telling you to self-isolate before Monday 28th September
- You have not received an NHS 8 digit account ID from NHS Test and Trace telling you to self-isolate, (unless you are a parent or guardian of a child who has been instructed to self-isolate by an education or childcare provider - see below)
Parent and guardian applications
From 8 March 2021, Test and Trace Support Payment eligibility has been expanded to include applications from one parent or guardian of a child aged 15 or under (or a young person aged 25 or under with an Education, Health and Care Plan) who normally attends an education or registered childcare setting and has been officially informed to self-isolate for 10 days by the education or childcare provider. This is where the child or young person has been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
In these circumstances, an official letter will be issued by the education or care provider confirming that the named child or young person must self-isolate. Applications are limited to one parent or guardian per period of child self-isolation. Proof of the official letter issued by the education or childcare provider must be provided as supporting evidence. In addition, we will also contact the named education or childcare provider to verify the details stated to be correct.
It is important to note that a parent or guardian must still meet the qualifying eligibility criteria for a standard payment or a discretionary scheme payment when making an application. The only exception is that an NHS 8 digit account ID will not be issued in these education or childcare setting circumstances and therefore does not need to be supplied.
The child or young person must have been told to self-isolate on or after the 8 March 2021. If you wish to make a parent or guardian application, please click on the ‘apply for a test and trace support payment’ link below. Please ensure that you include a copy of the official letter you have received from the education or childcare provider, instructing your child to self-isolate, within the supporting evidence documents you need to upload.
How much funding will be provided?
If eligible a lump sum payment of £500 will be paid to cover the period of isolation.
The Test and Trace Payment is taxable if you are a taxpayer but it is not subject to National Insurance Contributions. HMRC will automatically collect tax from your pay through your tax code, or self-employed recipients should report the payment on their 20/21 Self-Assessment tax return.
You can apply by completing the application. If you’re employed, you’ll pay tax on your payment if you go over your tax-free personal allowance. Your tax code will change to collect the tax. You will not pay National Insurance contributions on the payment. If you’re self-employed, you must report the payment on your Self-Assessment tax return.
If you are asked to provide further documents you can upload these.
The data you provide on this form will be used to assess your eligibility for this support payment and will be processed in accordance with data protection legislation. Further information about how we use your personal data can be found in our privacy notices
Can a bank take my test and trace support payment to pay my overdraft?
You can protect your test and trace support payment award by telling your bank it is required to support you financially during your period of self-isolation when you are unable to work. This protection is called a 'first right of appropriation of funds order'.
You need to write to your bank at least seven days before the payment is due, making it clear why you require access to these funds.
We have enclosed a sample letter that you can use to instruct your bank or building society: Please keep a copy for your own records.50363