Test and Trace Support Scheme
Please note that there are extremely high numbers of test and trace support payment applications which have resulted in longer processing times.
If you are working, on a low-income and are required to self-isolate, you could be eligible for a £500 Test and Trace Support payment.
Test and trace support payments are part of a legal duty for people to self-isolate and ensures that those on low incomes are able to self-isolate without worrying about their finances. Government has asked local authorities to administer the payments.
Who is eligible?
Stockton-on-Tees residents who have received notification from NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate will be entitled to a Self-Isolation Payment providing they satisfy all of the following requirements:
- They comply with the notification from NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate.
- Have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app because you 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 you have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive, and are not fully vaccinated (this applies for isolation periods on or after 16 August 2021); or
- Have an 8 digit NHS Test and Trace reference number.
- Are employed or self-employed;
- Are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result; and
- 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
Who is not eligible?
You will not be eligible for the scheme if you:
- Are quarantining after travelling abroad (unless you test positive during the 14-day quarantine period).
- Continue to receive full wages while you self-isolate.
- Can work from home during a period of self-isolation.
- Have not received a notification from NHS Test and Trace telling you to self-isolate.
Parents or Guardians
Government has announced that 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:
- You 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;
- You are unable to work from home and will lose income; and
- The young person has:
- Tested positive for COVID-19 and is aged 15 or under, or aged 25 or under with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan; or
- Been identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19 (by NHS Test and Trace, their education or care setting or the NHS COVID-19 app), is aged 18-25, is not fully vaccinated and has an EHC Plan (this applies for isolation periods on or after 16 August 2021); and
- The young person normally attends an education or care setting;
- You are employed or self-employed.
- You cannot work from home while undertaking caring responsibilities and will lose income as a result.
- You meet all the other means-tested eligibility criteria for a Test and Trace Support Payment or locally determined criteria for a discretionary payment.
What if I don't meet the criteria?
Applicants who do not receive any of the qualifying benefits outlined above but do meet all of the other criteria may be considered for a Discretionary Payment provided they:-
- Are not able to work due to self-isolation or having a child who is self-isolating.
- Are on a low income and;
- Would sustain financial hardship as a result.
Applications for a Discretionary Support payment are identified automatically from the main Test and Trace Support payment application form. A separate application is not required but if you do qualify for a Discretionary Support payment you will need to provide:
- Details of your income and expenditure;
- Details of any savings or capital
- Details of any financial hardship caused by being told to self isolate
For the purposes of this particular scheme we consider financial hardship to be where the customer cannot meet the cost of essential household bills because of losing income as a result of isolation and has insufficient savings to cover the shortfall.
The customer must be responsible for Essential Household Bills that include:
- Council Tax
- Expenses to or for work
Please refer to the Test and Trace Support Scheme Policy for more information.
You may also be considered for alternative welfare support schemes and referred to other support and welfare services available. This may include, but is not limited to, food bank organisations, CAB, Tees Credit Union (not for profit community bank) and the Department of Work & Pensions DWP.
All payments will subject to taxation but not National Insurance contributions.
NHS COVID-19 App
You can now make a claim for the self-isolation payment if you’ve been told by the NHS COVID-19 app that you must self-isolate because you have been in close contact with someone who’s tested positive for Coronavirus.
To make a claim you will need your 8 digit NHS Test and Trace Account ID. You cannot make a claim without it. You’ll need to follow some steps to request your account ID.
To do this you must have the latest version of the NHS COVID-19 app to help you find out which version you have visit the NHS website. If you already have the app, please make sure that it is kept up to date.
Once you have downloaded the correct version this YouTube video will guide you through the steps to get your NHS Test and Trace account ID.
If you have any problems with your 8 digit NHS Test and Trace Account ID or are unable to locate your number, you can ring NHS Test and Trace on 119 who will be happy to help.
How do I apply?
If you are a Stockton-on-Tees resident, applications should be made to Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council. You must submit your application within 42 days of the last day of your period of self-isolation.
If you have any difficulty completing the online form you can call 01642 524500.
Before you start
You will need the following information to complete the form:
- A copy of your latest bank statement for all accounts held including balance and transactions (one issued within the last two months and if you are employed must clearly show proof of earnings).
- If applying for discretionary payment you must also provide all bank statements for any partner that lives with you.
- If applicable, proof of self-employment e.g. recent business bank statement (within the last two months), most recent set of accounts or evidence of self-assessment returns
- Your 8 digit NHS Test and Trace reference or official confirmation that you or the person you care for has been told to self isolate.
- Proof of the Account ID you have received from NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate.
- Your National Insurance Number.
You can read our privacy statement to see how we handle your data.
What happens next?
We will make the necessary checks to ensure payments can be verified and made correctly. We will confirm your isolation status with NHS Test and Trace and we may contact the Department of Work and Pensions and your employer as well as HMRC for tax purposes.
We will email you about the outcome of your application. If you meet the criteria we’ll aim to make a payment into your bank account within 3 working days of verifying all of your evidence.
Successful applicants who are overdrawn on their bank account
The Council is aware that some applicants may be overdrawn and the bank may use the isolation payment to offset an overdraft. To protect the isolation payment you should contact your bank to explain that a self-isolation payment is due and that you would like to exercise your ‘first right of appropriation’ over these funds.
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 well as any grants paid in error.
What are the penalties for not self-isolating?
As well as new support measures, f you could also be fined if you do not stay at home and self-isolate following a positive test result for COVID-19, or if you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace and instructed to self-isolate because you are a contact of someone who has had a positive test result.
If you test positive for COVID-19, it is also an offence to knowingly provide false information about your close contacts to NHS Test and Trace.
Failure to comply with these requirements may result in a fine of up to £10,000.