From 28 September 2020, the government is introducing a Test and Trace Support Payment of £500, to help people who have lost income due to the need to self-isolate.
Who is eligible for the payment?
You will be entitled to a Test and Trace Support Payment of £500 if all of the following are true for you:
- You've been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, either because you have tested positive for coronavirus, or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive
- You're employed or self-employed, but you are unable to work at home, and will lose income as a result of having to self-isolate
- You're currently receiving any 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 might also be eligible if you do not receive any of the above benefits, and you are on a low income and will face financial hardship as a result of not being able to work while you are self-isolating. This is called a discretionary payment.
You can expand the sections below to find out if you are eligible to claim in any of these situations.
People in the same household can each make an individual application to receive the payment, if they meet the eligibility criteria.
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.
You can make a claim up to 14 days after your period of self-isolation has ended. We will not accept any applications submitted after that.
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, you can contact our Welfare Support team on 01225 47 72 77.
If you have not been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, then you are not eligible to claim a Test and Trace Support Payment. If you think you have symptoms of COVID-19, then you should get a test.
The Test and Trace Support Payment scheme does not cover people who are self-isolating after returning to the UK from abroad, unless you have tested positive for coronavirus, or have been instructed to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace.
The Test and Trace Support payment is only for people who face a reduction in income because they cannot work whilst self-isolating.
If your income is lower because you are on furlough, 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.
Their contact details are as follows:
You can claim a Test and Trace Support Payment from 28 September, and your payment will be backdated to that date. We cannot make any payments for self-isolation periods that started before 28 September.
Before you apply
You can apply online for this payment. Before you apply, you will need all of the following:
- A notification from NHS Test and Trace asking you to self-isolate
- Proof that you receive one of the qualifying benefits
- A statement for the bank account you would like us to make the payment into
- Proof of your employment or, if you are self employed, evidence of self-assessment returns, trading income and proof that your business delivers services which cannot be undertaken without social contact.
What happens next?
We will check the information you have provided to establish whether you are 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.
How to ensure you can use the payment, even if your bank 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.
To do this, you'll need to 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.
Below is an example letter that you can use. You will need to replace the underlined sections with information which is correct for you.
Keep a copy of your letter, in case there is any dispute later.
If there are any other regular payments which you no longer want to pay from your account, or which you cannot afford, you should 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 do not cancel these other items, your bank may return the items as unpaid, and they may 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.