Test and Trace Support payment for low-income workers - England & Wales
From 28th September 2020, people in England and Wales are required by law to self-isolate if they test positive or are contacted by NHS Test and Trace. (See below for Scotland).
To help those low paid workers who cannot work from home the government has introduced a new Test and Trace Support Payment.
Is it for people in receipt of certain benefits* who normally work (employment or self-employment), but who are having to self-isolate at home, who are unable to work from home and have lost income.
The government hope that this extra payment – paid on top of these benefits - will mean people "don't lose out by doing the right thing".
Those entitled need to apply to their Local Authority- generally the claim will be online.
Local authorities are expected to have their systems in place by 12 October; individuals who are eligible prior to that date will be able to make a backdated claim.
* The LA does have the discretion to award a Test and Trace Payment to those who don’t receive the qualifying benefits, but are on a low income and could suffer financial hardship as a result of not being able to work.
Guidance for LAs available here.
To be eligible for the funding, individuals must meet the following criteria:
1. Have tested positive for Covid-19 on or after 28th September 2020 or received a notification from NHS Test and Trace on or after 28th September asking them to self-isolate.
2. Be employed or self-employed.
3. Be unable to work from home (checks will be undertaken on all applicants).
4. Will lose income as a result.
5. Be currently receiving Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, Income-Based Jobseeker's Allowance, Income Support, Income-Related Employment Support Allowance, Pension Credit or Housing Benefit.
Applying for the payment
People will make an online application (or a telephone application if they are digitally excluded) to their Local Authority and will need to submit as supporting evidence:
- a notification from NHS Test and Trace asking them to self-isolate (this will include a Unique ID number);
- a bank statement; and
- proof of employment, or, if they are self-employed, evidence of self-assessment returns, trading income and proof that their business delivers services which cannot be undertaken without social contact.
How much will they get?
For those that qualify they will receive a payment of £500 per person.
Payments will be provided within 48 hours of the eligible individual providing the necessary evidence. Individuals will be asked to provide a notification from NHS Test and Trace and a bank statement.
The payment will be totally disregarded as income for benefit purposes. But will be taxable.
Can someone make multiple claims if asked to isolate multiple times?
A claim can be made for each period of self-isolation required. All eligibility criteria must be met and supporting evidence provided.
How long will the scheme last?
The scheme will run until at least 31st January 2021.
Test and Protect Payment - Scotland
The Scottish scheme, open for applications from 12 October, will pay a £500 Grant to eligible people on low incomes who have been told to self-isolate through the Test and Protect Programme and are unable to work from home.
It will be targeted at people who are in receipt of Universal Credit or legacy benefits,with some discretion to make awards to others in financial hardship. .
It will be delivered through the Scottish Welfare Fund which is administered by local authorities.
An individual can apply immediately they have been told to self-isolate, but local authorities are also being encouraged to pro-actively telephone people who have been asked to self-isolate, to obtain information about eligibility for financial support, and to offer support in applying.
In a letter to the Social Security Committee on 30th September, MSP Shirley-Anne Somerville stated that details were still to be put in place.