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Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme guidance

The Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme aims to help people on low incomes to self-isolate when they test positive for COVID-19, or are identified as a contact.

This will encourage more people to get tested if they have symptoms, and help to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Find out about:

Who is eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment?

To be eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment, you must meet ALL of the following criteria:

  • you have been notified to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace (or via the COVID-19 app from 10 December 2020 onwards and you have subsequently registered with NHS Test and Trace), because you have tested positive for COVID-19, or have recently been in close contact with someone that has tested positive
  • you have an 8 character NHS Test and Trace Account ID number
  • you were notified to self-isolate on or after 28 September 2020
  • you comply with the NHS test and Trace notification to self-isolate
  • you are employed or self-employed
  • you are not able to work from home, AND you will lose income as a result of having to stay at home and self-isolate
  • you are receiving Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit, or Pension Credit

If you are not receiving one of these benefits, but self-isolation will cause you exceptional financial hardship, you may still be entitled under a special discretionary scheme. 

Have you been told to self-isolate by your employer?

Most people who test positive for COVID-19, or are a contact of someone who has had a positive test, will be notified to self isolate by the NHS Test and Trace service or via the COVID-19 app. 

If your employer has asked you to self-isolate (because a colleague has tested positive for COVID-19), they can register you directly with the Contact Tracing Advisory Service (CTAS) by calling 020 3743 6715.

You will then be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and will receive the 8-character code you need to apply for Test and Trace payments.

If you have been notified to isolate via the COVID-19 app (from 10 December 2020 onwards)

You will need to register with the Contact Tracing Advisory Service (CTAS) to get your NHS Test and Trace Account ID number - this is because the app is anonymous. There is a link in the app and you must register while you are in your self-isolation period - you cannot request your Account ID after you’ve finished self-isolating.

Click the ‘Financial support’ button that appears on the home screen of the app when you’ve been told to self-isolate.

You’ll be taken to a website which will ask you for some information to check whether you could be eligible. None of the information you provide will be passed back to the NHS COVID-19 App. The app is designed to protect your privacy and does not know who or where you are.

If your answers show that you may be eligible for the NHS Test and Trace Support Payment, there are four steps to follow:

Step 1 - confirm who you are with NHS login
You need to log in or register so that NHS Test and Trace can check who you are. If you are registering, you will receive a confirmation link in an email. When you read the email, make sure you keep the existing screen open so that you can continue to the next step.

Step 2 - enter your personal details
You will be asked to enter some personal details so that NHS Test and Trace can carry out some checks. None of your personal details will be given to the app.

Step 3 - register with NHS Test and Trace
You will get an email and text message from NHS Test and Trace within one hour if you register between 7.30am and 8.30pm. If you register outside of these hours, you may not receive the email or text message until the service reopens. These messages will include a link that you need to follow to complete your registration with NHS Test and Trace. You must do this while you are still in your self-isolation period. You will not be able to apply for the NHS Test and Trace Support Payment without completing this step. Once you have completed your registration, you will receive a final confirmation email and text message confirming your 8 character NHS Test and Trace Account ID. You will then be subject to the legal obligation to self-isolate.

Step 4 - apply for the Test and Trace Support Payment 
Once you have received this second email or text message with your 8 character Account ID, you can apply for the Test and Trace Support Payment. Receiving an NHS Test and Trace Account ID does not necessarily mean you will be eligible for the payment. You must request the Account ID during your self-isolation period - and must claim the payment within 14 days of your self-isolation period ending.

Who isn't eligible

You will not be eligible for the scheme if you:

  • have not received a notification from NHS Test and Trace telling you to self-isolate
  • don't have an 8 character NHS Test and Trace Account ID number
  • were notified to self isolate before 28 September 2020
  • are not employed or self employed
  • are quarantining after travelling abroad (unless you test positive during the 10-day quarantine period)
  • are self-isolating because you or another member of your household have symptoms of COVID-19
  • are unable to work because a child under your care cannot attend school due to an outbreak of COVID-19 
  • continue to receive full wages during your period of self-isolation (for example your employer pays you as normal, or you take holiday entitlement instead of unpaid leave)
  • can work from home during your period of self-isolation

You can not claim if your self-isolation period ended more than 14 days ago.

Evidence required to support your claim

When you apply you will need to provide:

  • your National Insurance Number
  • your most recent bank statement, showing your name and bank details
  • if you are employed: 
    • proof of employment such as your most recent wage slip or bank statement showing the wages being paid into your account
    • the name and address of your employer
  • if you are self-employed: 
    • proof of your self-employment, such as your most recent set of accounts or evidence of self-assessment tax returns
  • your 8-digit NHS Test and Trace Account ID number - - this can be found on the text message or email you were sent by NHS Test and Trace - you can't submit the form without this number

How to claim

If you live in the Chesterfield Borough Council area you can apply for a Test and Trace Support Payment online through My Chesterfield. Registering for an account is quick and easy, and you will be able to track the progress of your claim.

You need to claim from the local council that sends your Council Tax bill. If you're not sure who that is you can find your local council here.

If you are not sure whether your income will reduce please check with your employer before claiming - we want to avoid asking you to pay the money back.

Get help with your application

Someone can help you to claim by applying on your behalf, but the payment can only be paid into your own bank account.

If you are unable to apply online please call our customer services team on 01246 959786.

When to claim

You should claim as soon as possible, and no later than 14 days after your period of self-isolation has ended. Applications after this time won't be accepted.

Can payments be backdated?

Your claim can be backdated if you were told to self-isolate on or after 28 September 2020. You must submit your claim within 14 days of your period of self-isolation ending.

If you were told to self-isolate before 28 September 2020 you can not claim this payment, even if your period of self-isolation ended after 28 September.

How much is paid and when

If you are successful you will receive a £500 lump sum payment.

We aim to make your payment within three working days of receiving your completed application - your claim is not complete until we have received all the evidence and information we have asked you for.

Tax and National Insurance on Test and Trace Support Payments

These payments are subject to income tax, but are not subject to National Insurance contributions.

How will the payments be made?

Payment will be made into the bank account matching the bank statement you provided with your claim.

If your bank account is overdrawn

You should let your bank know that the payment is intended to support your living costs while you are in self isolation. Ask for a ‘right of first appropriation' to make sure that the bank doesn't use the money towards your overdraft.

Claiming for more than one period of self-isolation

You can claim for more than one period of self-isolation. The periods must be separate and the dates of self-isolation can not overlap. You must meet the eligibility criteria and provide supporting evidence each time you claim. 

Can more than one person in the same household apply?

Each person in your household can make their own application as long as they meet the eligibility criteria.

Quarantining after returning to the UK

The Test and Trace Support Payment scheme does not cover people who are self-isolating after returning to the UK from abroad, unless they have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been instructed to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace.

When does the scheme end?

The scheme will run until at least 31 January 2021.

Information about self-isolation and COVID-19

You can find lots of useful self-isolation guidance and information on the website, including:

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Last updated on 18 December 2020