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Coronavirus (COVID-19) latest information and advice

Apply for a Test and Trace Support Payment

The government has introduced a Test and Trace Support Payment of £500 to help you if you have lost income because you have been told to self-isolate.

This self-isolation includes the following situations:

  • If you have had a positive PCR test for COVID-19
  • If you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, and are not exempt from self-isolation

From 16 August 2021, the rules about who has to self-isolate have changed.

You will no longer need to self-isolate if you become a close contact of someone who tests positive for COVID-19, and one or more of the following applies to you:

  • You are under 18 years old
  • You are fully vaccinated with an approved vaccine (this means that you received your second dose 14 days ago or more)
Warning We strongly advise all close contacts to take a PCR test, to ensure that you have not caught COVID-19. Discovering your status will help to prevent the transmission of disease, and will also mean that you will become eligible for the support payment, if you test positive and then have to self-isolate.

These new rules apply to people who become close contacts of someone with a positive test from 16 August onwards. If you were a close contact before that date, you may still apply if you were under a legal duty to self-isolate.

If this change means that you don't have to isolate, you will not be eligible for support through this scheme.

Eligibility

You're entitled to a Test and Trace Support Payment of £500 if you meet the additional criteria below, and one of the following applies to you:

  • You have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 App, either because you've tested positive for COVID-19, or you have recently been in close contact with someone else who has tested positive, and have followed the 'financial support' process on the App
  • You are looking after a child under 16 years old who usually attends an educational or childcare setting, but is self-isolating as instructed by NHS Test and Trace, the NHS COVID-19 App, or their educational or childcare setting. 
  • You are looking after someone under 26 years old with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP ‘qualifying young person’) who usually attends an educational setting, but is self-isolating as instructed by NHS Test and Trace, the NHS COVID-19 App or their educational or childcare setting. 

Additional criteria

You must also meet all of the following work- or benefit-related criteria:

  • You're employed or self-employed, but you're unable to work at home, and will lose income as a result of having to self-isolate
  • You're currently receiving one or more of the following benefits:
    • Universal Credit
    • Working Tax Credit
    • Income based Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
    • Income based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)
    • Income Support
    • Housing Benefit
    • Pension Credit

You can make a claim up to 42 days after the first day of your period of self-isolation, but we won't accept any applications submitted after that.

If you don't receive the above benefits

You could still be eligible if you do not receive any of the above benefits, if you're on a low income and will face financial hardship as a result of not being able to work while you're self-isolating. This is called a discretionary payment.

Expand the sections below to find out if you are eligible to claim in any of these situations.

If members of your household also need to self-isolate

People in the same household can each make an individual application to receive the payment, if they meet the eligibility criteria. Only one member of a household can claim the payment for caring for a child or young person who is self-isolating.

If you have had to self-isolate twice or more

You can claim the payment more than once, if you are told to self-isolate multiple times, as long as you meet the eligibility criteria for each individual claim and your periods of self-isolation do not overlap.

If the period of self-isolation started up to 42 days ago

You can make a claim up to 42 days after your period of self-isolation has started. We won't accept any applications submitted after that.

If you can't complete the application yourself

You can get someone else to apply for you, but the money must be paid into your account. If you want to apply for this help over the telephone, call our Welfare Support team on 01225 47 72 77.

If you're self-isolating, but NHS Test and Trace has not told you that you have to

If you haven't been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, then you are not eligible to claim a Test and Trace Support Payment, unless you are claiming as a parent or carer of a child or young person who has been told to self-isolate. If you think you have symptoms of COVID-19, please get a test

If you are quarantining after travel outside the UK

You're not eligible for a Test and Trace Support Payment if you're self-isolating after returning to the UK from abroad, unless you've tested positive for COVID-19, been instructed to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app, or you're claiming as a parent or carer.

If you are furloughed

You're not eligible for a Test and Trace Support Payment if you're furloughed from work. This type of payment only applies if you face a reduction in income because you can't work whilst self-isolating.

If your income is lower because you're furloughed, and you have concerns over food supply, welfare or well-being, you may be able to get some support and advice from the Compassionate Community Hub:

Before you apply

Before you apply online, you will need all of the following:

  • Eight digit reference number from the NHS Test and Trace notification asking you to self-isolate, if applicable (follow the steps on the NHS Test and Trace app to get your eight digit number or we can't make a payment)
  • Eight digit reference number from the NHS Test and Trace notification asking the child or qualifying young person to self-isolate (if applicable)
  • Letter or email from the child’s or qualifying young person’s educational or childcare setting asking them to self-isolate (if applicable)
  • Proof that you receive one of the qualifying benefits
  • Bank statement for the account you would like the payment to be paid into
  • Proof of your employment (if self-employed, evidence of self-assessment returns, trading income and proof that your business delivers services which cannot be undertaken without social contact)
  • If you don't receive one of the qualifying benefits - statement which explains how you should be considered to be on a low income and how the period of self-isolation will cause you financial hardship

Apply online

Next steps

We will check the information you have provided to establish whether you're eligible. Once we have carried out these checks, we will issue a payment within three working days of receiving your application, into the bank account you have provided.

Warning Due to the current volume of applications being received, assessments are taking longer than expected. We will be in contact with you as soon as possible.
Ensure you can use the payment, even if your account is overdrawn

If your bank account is currently overdrawn, you may be worried that your bank will want to use the £500 payment to pay your overdraft, and that you won't be able to use the money for your immediate needs.

You can exercise your 'first right of appropriation' on the payment to stop this happening. This means that when the payment comes into your account, you have the right to tell the bank how you want that money to be used, for example, to pay rent or regular bills.

Write to your bank at least seven days before your payment is due, making it clear that this payment from Bath & North East Somerset Council is a Test and Trace Support Payment to compensate for lost income when self-isolating.

You can use the below example letter, just replace the underlined sections with your information.

On or around October 14th, a Test and Trace Support Payment will be paid into my current account, number 0101010101. I am exercising my first right of appropriation over these funds, and wish you to pay the following items from them: £75 standing order payable to my landlord Mr Smith on the 25th of the month; £45 direct debit payable to British Gas on the 28th of the month. Please give me a written confirmation of these instructions.

Keep a copy of your letter, in case there is any dispute later.

Other regular payments you can't afford

If there are any other regular payments yo no longer want to come out of your account, or you can't afford for them to come out, give your bank separate cancellation instructions.

This is because the 'first right of appropriation' does not stop the bank paying items as well as those you have listed. If you don't cancel these regular payments, your bank may return the items as unpaid, and charge you for this.

However, if you have a separate loan with the same bank as your account, you cannot cancel repayments of this loan from your account.