Skip to content

The Test and Trace Support Scheme is a £500 payment for eligible individuals on low income who have been told to self-isolate and may face financial difficulty because of taking time off work.

The scheme started on 28 September 2020 and will end on 30 September 2021.

The scheme is split into a Main Scheme for people getting a benefit and a Discretionary Scheme for people on a low income not getting one of the listed benefits.

From 8 March 2021, the scheme was expanded to include parents and guardians of children (aged 15 or under, or 25 or under with an Education, Health and Care Plan) who have been told to self-isolate by their childcare setting.

New rules from 16 August 2021 affecting close contacts

As of 16 August 2021, fully vaccinated adults are no longer required to self-isolate if identified as a close contact by NHS Test and Trace. This means they are no longer eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme.

People under 18 who are identified as a contact of someone with COVID-19 are also no longer required to self-isolate. Therefore, most parents and guardians will not be eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme from 16 August 2021.

This scheme will run until 30 September 2021.

See the Eligibility section below for further information.

How to apply

To apply, please complete the application form (link available at the bottom of this page) and we will assess your eligibility. Please do not delay in applying for financial support to self-isolate.

Before completing the form please read the eligibility criteria below. Please also read our information on the First Right of Appropriation.

Eligibility

People who live in Stevenage who have received notification from NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate may be entitled to a Test and Trace Support Payment if they:

  • have been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace because you have tested positive for Coronavirus, or
  • have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace because you have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive and you are not fully vaccinated, or
  • you have a child who has tested positive for Coronavirus and you have to take time off work to care for them.

You must also

  • be employed or self-employed
  • be unable to work from home and will lose income as a result
  • be aged 16 or over, and
  • be currently receiving:
    • Universal Credit
    • Working Tax Credit
    • Income-based Employment and Support Allowance
    • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
    • Income Support
    • Housing Benefit and/or;
    • Pension Credit, or your normal net weekly earned income is less than £500.

This payment is designed to support people on a low income if they will lose income as a result of self-isolating. This is important to help stop the transmission of COVID-19 and avoid further economic and societal restrictions. The scheme will last until 30 September 2021.

Parents and guardians of a child/young person who is self-isolating

From Monday 8 March parents or guardians who are not legally required to self-isolate can apply for a Test and Trace Support Payment or discretionary payment if they need to take time off work to care for a child or young person who is.

Applicants must meet all the criteria below:

  • They 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. (This is limited to one parent or guardian per household for the child or young person’s self-isolation period.)
  • They are employed or self-employed.
  • They cannot work from home while undertaking caring responsibilities and will lose income as a result.
  • They meet all the other means-tested eligibility criteria for a Test and Trace Support Payment or locally determined criteria for a discretionary payment as mentioned above.

Their child or young person:

  • is aged 15 or under (or 25 or under with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) and normally attends an education or childcare setting).
  • has been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace because they have tested positive for COVID-19.

Discretionary Scheme

If you do no meet the above criteria you may still qualify for a payment under our discretionary scheme. Discretionary scheme applications will be considered from:

  • Applicants who have 'no recourse to public funds'.
  • Applicants who are appealing or waiting a decision on a qualifying benefit.

To qualify for the discretionary scheme you must:

  • be unable to work from home
  • have a loss of income during the isolation period
  • will face financial hardship as a result of not being able to work whilst self-isolating
  • Earn less than £500 per week after Tax and National Insurance contributions
  • have less than £16,000 capital
  • supply evidence of the requirement to self-isolate (8-digit NHS ID)
  • claim within 42 days of the start of the self-isolation period.

Who is not eligible?

You will not be eligible for the scheme if you:

  • you are a close contact of a positive case and you have been fully vaccinated
  • you are quarantining after travelling abroad (unless you test positive during the 14-day quarantine period)
  • you have not received a notification from NHS Test and Trace telling you to self-isolate (unless it is your child who has been told to self-isolate)
  • you can work from home during a period of self-isolation
  • your period of self-isolation started before the Test and Trace Support Scheme launched on 28 September 2020, even if you are still required to self-isolate after that date
  • your child’s period of self-isolation started before the Test and Trace Support Scheme expanded on 8 March 2021, even if they are still required to self-isolate after that date
  • you will receive full pay from your employer during your self-isolation
  • you are on full-time furlough
  • you start an additional period of isolation before the previous one ends

Before you start

You will need the following information to complete this form:

  • your eight-digit NHS Test and Trace ID Number - we cannot issue a payment without this;
  • your bank details and a copy of your latest bank statement (one issued within the last month);
  • proof of your earnings, such as a pay slip (issued within the last month);
  • proof of self-employment for example, most recent set of accounts or invoices
  • Your National Insurance Number.

Test and Trace Support Payments are subject to income tax but exempt from any National Insurance contribution and they do not count as income for benefit purposes.

What am I required to do?

If you receive a Self-Isolation / Test and Trace Payment you must self-isolate as requested by NHS Test and Trace.

Please visit the NHS website for more details of the NHS Test and Trace self-isolation requirements for those

Fraud

You may face prosecution if you have manipulated or falsified your position in order to obtain these payments, including failure to self-isolate which puts others at risk. Any payment made as a result of fraud may be subject to claw back, as may any grants paid in error.

The Government is supporting Local Councils to make the necessary checks to ensure payments can be verified and have been made correctly.

Data Sharing

The information you submit here will be processed by Stevenage Borough Council. We need your consent so that we can access your records in the NHS Test and Trace system to confirm that you are eligible for the Self-Isolation / Test and Trace Payment Scheme.

You can find more information on this via the NHS Test and Trace Privacy Notice

We will carry out checks with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), for verification purposes, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), for tax and national insurance purposes, and with your employer. If you are claiming for a child we will verify information with the child's education and care settings. We will not share your data with other organisations or individuals outside of the Council for any other purpose.

We will provide information to HMRC about any payments we make because Self-Isolation / Test and Trace Payments are subject to Income Tax. If you are self-employed, you will need to declare the payment on your self-assessment tax return.

We may use some automated decision-making to determine if you are eligible to access funds. This means that a decision may be made by automated means, without any human involvement.

Your rights under the Data Protection Act 2018 allow you to object to any automated-decision making used in this process. If you do, there may be a significant delay in the processing of your application.

We never sell your data to third parties or use it for marketing purposes without your consent. All information is processed in accordance with the Council’s data protection policy

If you wish to request any changes to the way your data is used for the purposes of processing this application, including the withdrawal of consent , you can exercise your rights under GDPR in writing to the Council’s Data Protection Officer.

If you do withdraw your consent, we will not be able to continue payments to you. Your consent is necessary to establish your eligibility and to authorise any payments made.

In submitting an application you must confirm that you have read, understood and consented to your data being processed in this way for the purposes of assessing your eligibility for a Self-Isolation / Test and Trace Payment.

Bank details validation

To validate your bank account details, we need to share relevant information you've given us with TransUnion. This will be used to ensure your support payment is paid to the correct bank account and to help prevent fraudulent use of support payments.

This is not a credit check and won't impact your credit rating.

Please visit the TransUnion website for more information on how TransUnion may use your data.

Application

Please fill in the form below if your isolation period started before the scheme changed on 16 August 2021.

Claim for Self-Isolation Payment - opens new window

Please fill in the form below if your isolation period started after the scheme changed on 16 August 2021.

Claim for Self Isolation payment from 16 August 2021 - opens new window