If you have been told by the NHS to self-isolate, either because you have tested positive for coronavirus COVID-19 or you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, you may be entitled to some financial support during your self-isolation period.
Also, from 8 March 2021, parents or guardians who are not legally required to self-isolate can apply for a Test and Trace Support Payment or discretionary payment. This is for if they need to take time off work to care for a child or young person who is aged 15 or under (or 25 or under with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC)) and normally attends an education or childcare setting and has been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or by their education or childcare setting because they have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
From 16 August 2021, people who are fully vaccinated and who are identified as contacts will no longer be required to self-isolate. This will mean that fully vaccinated contacts are ineligible for a Test and Trace Support Payment from 16 August 2021 unless they test positive, at which point they would become eligible. Please see the below update effective from 30 November 2021 which advises of an update to the Self-Isolation Exemptions.
Also, from 16 August 2021, anyone under 18 who is a contact will also be exempt from self-isolation. This will mean that most parents and guardians will be ineligible for a Test and Trace Support Payment if their child is identified as a contact, as the child will no longer be required to self-isolate. As children who have tested positive will still be required to self-isolate, their parents and guardians will still be eligible, regardless of whether they are fully vaccinated (as they may need to stay at home and look after their child). Please see the below update effective from 30 November 2021 which advises of an update to the Self-Isolation Exemptions.
From 30 November 2021 to 13 December all close contacts of a suspected or confirmed case of the Omicron variant will be required to self-isolate, regardless of any exemptions from self-isolation, such as their age or vaccination status.
This means the following groups may be eligible for a Test & Trace Support Payment if they meet the criteria:
- people who are fully vaccinated who are identified as a suspected or confirmed contact of someone with the Omicron variant
- people taking part in workplace daily contact testing schemes who are identified as a suspected or confirmed contact of someone with the Omicron variant
- a parent or guardian of a child who is a contact of someone suspected or confirmed to have the Omicron variant.
From 14 December 2021 fully vaccinated adults and young people who have been identified as the contact of a positive COVID-19 case should take an NHS lateral flow test every day for seven days. The following groups are eligible to take part in daily testing if they have been identified as a close contact of a confirmed case:
- Fully vaccinated household and non-household adult close contacts
- Contacts who have taken part in, or are currently part of, an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial
- Contacts who are unable to get vaccinated for medical reasons
- Contacts who are between the ages of 5 and 18 years and 6 months
These individuals do not have to self-isolate and will therefore be ineligible for a payment under the scheme unless they test positive.
From 11 January 2022 people who receive positive lateral flow results for COVID-19 will be required to self-isolate immediately and will not be required to take a confirmatory PCR test. However, a confirmatory PCR test must be taken by those wishing to claim a Test & Trace Support Payment. An application should not be made by individuals without having received a positive PCR test result.
The Scheme will end on 31 March 2022.
What are Test and Trace Support Payments?
Individuals may be entitled to a Test and Trace Support Payment or discretionary support payment of £500. This is to support people on low incomes who are unable to work from home if they are told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or have been identified as a close contact by the NHS COVID-19 App and will lose income as a result. From 8 March 2021 you may also apply for a payment if you are the parent or guardian of a child or young person in the same household and need to take time off work to care for them while they self-isolate.
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. If you are self-employed you should report the payment on their 20/21 Self-Assessment tax return.
Who is eligible?
Residents who have received notification from NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate or are the parent or guardian of a child or young person in the same household and need to take time off work to care for them while they self-isolate will be entitled to a self-isolation payment providing they:
- Comply with the notification from NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate
- Are employed or self-employed
- Are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result
- Are in receipt of one of the following benefits *
- Universal Credit
- Working Tax Credit
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Housing Benefit
- Income Support
- Income based Job Seeker’s Allowance
- Pension Credit
* If you are not currently receiving one of the above benefits unfortunately, you do not meet the criteria for a Test and Trace Support Payment. However, you can be considered for a discretionary payment if:
- you have less than £6,000 capital
- you normally work for 16 hours or more per week
- your average gross weekly pay is less than £500**, and
- you are responsible for paying housing costs such as a domestic mortgage or rent, or you have significant existing financial commitments**
** Revised criteria applicable to claims made on or after 11 October 2021
How are claims made?
Please complete our online form. If you are unable to apply online please telephone 01246 242396 for further guidance.