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Are you eligible for a Test and Trace Support Payment?

Since 28 September 2020, the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme has supported people on low incomes who are unable to work from home and will lose income if they are required to self-isolate because of COVID-19.

Eligible individuals receive a £500 payment. This is to help ensure people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and their close contacts self-isolate for the required period, and to encourage individuals who have symptoms to get tested. This is important to help stop the transmission of COVID-19 and avoid further economic and societal restrictions.

The scheme will end on 31 March 2022.

Standard Scheme

The Standard Scheme Test and Trace Support Payment is for people who live in England and:
• have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app because they have tested positive for COVID-19;
or
• have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app because they have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive, and are not exempt from self-isolation;
and
• have responded to message from NHS Test and Trace and have provided any legally required information, such as details of their close contacts;
• are employed or self-employed;
• are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result of self-isolating; and
• are currently receiving, or are the partner in the same household as someone who is receiving, at least one of the following benefits:

  • Universal Credit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • income-based Employment and Support Allowance
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Housing Benefit
  • Pension Credit

A parent or guardian of a young person who is required to self-isolate may be eligible for a Standard Scheme payment if they live in England and meet the following criteria (even if they are exempt from self-isolation):
• they are the parent or guardian of a young person in the same household who is self-isolating and need to take time off work to care for them;
• they are unable to work from home and will lose income;
• the young person is:

  • aged 15 or under and has been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace because they have tested positive for COVID-19; or
  • aged 25 or under with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan and been told to stay at home and self- isolate by NHS Test and Trace because they have tested positive for COVID-19; or
  • aged 25 and under, is not exempt from self-isolation from 16 August, has an EHC Plan and has been notified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19 (by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app).

• the young person normally attends an education or care setting; and
• the parent or guardian meets all the other criteria for a Standard Scheme payment.

Parent/guardians must add themselves as a close contact of the child who has tested positive so they receive their own NHS Test & Trace ID number. This ID number must be used to make a NHS Test and Trace claim.

Discretionary Scheme

Discretionary Test and Trace Support Payments are for people who live in England and:
• have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app because they have tested positive for COVID-19;
or
• have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app because they have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive, and are not exempt from self-isolation;
and
• have responded to a message from NHS Test and Trace and have provided any legally required information, such as details of their close contacts;
• are employed or self-employed;
• are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result of self-isolating;
• are not currently receiving, and are not the partner in the same household as someone who is receiving, at least one of:

  • Universal Credit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • income-based Employment and Support Allowance
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Housing Benefit
  • Pension Credit

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.

• you are not a student

The Discretionary scheme is cash limited so the qualifying criteria is subject to review. The policy can be found here (pdf).


A parent or guardian of a young person who is required to self-isolate may be eligible for a discretionary payment if they live in England and meet the following criteria (even if they are exempt from self-isolation):
• they are the parent or guardian of a young person in the same household who is self-isolating and need to take time off work to care for them;
• they are unable to work from home and will lose income;
• the young person is:

  • aged 15 or under and has been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace because they have tested positive for COVID-19; or
  • aged 25 or under with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan and been told to stay at home and self- isolate by NHS Test and Trace because they have tested positive for COVID-19; or
  • aged 25 and under, is not exempt from self-isolation from 16 August, has an EHC Plan and has been notified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19 (by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app)

• the young person normally attends an education or care setting; and
• the parent or guardian meets all the other criteria for a Discretionary Scheme payment.

Parent/guardians must add themselves as a close contact of the child who has tested positive so they receive their own NHS Test & Trace ID number. This ID number must be used to make a NHS Test and Trace claim.

The following income-bands define a low income.

If your normal household income (not including Child Benefit and disability benefits) is below the relevant threshold detailed below, you may qualify for a £500 discretionary payment provided you also meet the criteria detailed above for the Discretionary Scheme.

Household circumstances

Net household income threshold

Single

£                                             26,250

Single with 1 child

£                                             38,576

Single with 2 or more children

£                                             49,187

Couple

£                                             29,776

Couple with 1 child

£                                             42,101

Couple with 2 or more children

£                                             52,712

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.

 

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