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Test & Trace Support Payment

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1. Overview

A payment is available to support people who face financial difficulty as a result of an instruction to self-isolate.

From 28 September 2020, eligible individuals are entitled to a Test and Trace Support Payment or discretionary support payment of £500. This is to support people on low incomes who are unable to work from home if they are told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace and will lose income as a result.

The support will take the form of a single payment of £500 for people aged 16 or over who:

  • Have been told to isolate by NHS Test & Trace and

  • Are employed or self-employed and

  • Are unable to work from home and

  • Will lose income as a result of being instructed to isolate and

  • Are in receipt of one of the qualifying benefits

    • Universal Credit

    • Working Tax Credits

    • Income related Employment and Support Allowance

    • Income based Jobseekers Allowance

    • Income Support

    • Pension Credit

    • Housing Benefit 

If you meet the other conditions but are not entitled to one of these benefits you could still receive a discretionary payment if you will face financial hardship. 

 

Changes from 16 August 2021

Isolation rules have been changed from 16 August. From this date you will no longer be required to isolate as a close contact of someone who has tested positive if you have been fully vaccinated or are under the age of 18 years and 6 months. You are only eligible for Test & Trace Support Payment if NHS Test & Trace have told you that you must isolate.

 

Parents or guardians of isolating children

Changes have been made to the rules from 8 March 2021. From that date you can claim if:

  • A child you are responsible for has been told to isolate because they are a close contact of a person who has tested positive AND
  • They normally attend an education or childcare setting AND
  • You are employed or self-employed AND
  • You are unable to work from home AND
  • You will lose income as a result of looking after them

You can claim from either the main scheme, if you receive a qualifying benefit, or the discretionary scheme if you will suffer financial hardship. Please read the rest of the details about these schemes to see if you are eligible before applying.

The change applies to instructions to isolate starting on or after 8 March 2021.

The new rules apply to children up to the age of 15 or between 16 and 25 if they have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC). The instruction to isolate can come from NHS Test & Trace or the childcare or education setting they attend.

Only one parent or guardian can claim for each period of isolation. If two children have overlapping periods then only one claim can be made. However if there are two separate periods (i.e. with at least a day between them) then a second claim can be made.

This change does not apply if the child has tested positive themselves. In that situation you would be their close contact and should have your own Test and Trace reference, allowing you to make your own claim.