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Test and Trace Support Payment

From 28 September, there is a new legal duty in England, for all those who test positive for COVID-19 or are identified by NHS Test and Trace as a close contact, requiring them to self-isolate.

The government is providing funding for a new Test and Trace Support payment scheme. This is a one off taxable payment of £500, which will run from 28 September until 31 January 2021.

This payment is designed to support people on low incomes, if they lose income as a result of self-isolating, and to encourage them to get tested if they have symptoms. This is important to help stop the transmission of COVID-19 and avoid further economic and societal restrictions.

More information on this government announcement is available on the GOV.UK website.

Eligibility for the Test and Trace Support Payment

Please first refer to the Standard Scheme Policy.

To be eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment, an individual must meet all of the following:

  • have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, on or after 28 September but not before that date, because:
    • they have been notified that they have tested positive for Coronavirus, or
    • they have been notified that they have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive
  • be employed or self-employed
  • be unable to work from home and will lose income as a result, and
  • be currently receiving Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit or Pension Credit.

If you are not currently receiving one of the incomes detailed above, but you meet all of the other eligibility criteria, you may be eligible for a Discretionary Test and Trace Support Payment. Please refer to the Discretionary Test and Trace Support Payment Policy before applying.

For a claim to be considered, we must receive the claim and supporting evidence within 14 days of the applicant's self-isolation period ending. We will be unable to accept a claim received after this point.

Eligible individuals who are told to self-isolate more than once, may make a claim for a further self-isolation period as long as the individual meets the eligibility criteria for each individual claim and the periods of self-isolation do not overlap.

Evidence requirements

The government has set out that the following supporting evidence (electronic evidence such as scanned images, photo images, screenshots) must be supplied with the application for the Test and Trace Support Payment:

  • a notification from NHS Test and Trace asking that you self-isolate (this will include your Unique ID number)
  • recent proof of receipt of one of the qualifying benefits
  • a recent bank statement (which shows the full name on the account, the full account number and sort code)
  • recent proof of employment (most recent payslip), or, if you are self-employed, evidence of self-assessment returns, trading income and proof that your business delivers services which cannot be undertaken without social contact.

Individuals who are quarantining after returning to the UK

Individuals who are self-isolating after returning to the UK from abroad, are not eligible to be considered under the Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme, unless they have tested positive for Coronavirus or been instructed to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace.

Apply online

If, after reading the above information, you are eligible for a Test and Trace Support Payment and your main place of residence is in the BCP Council area, please apply online.

Where more than one individual in the same household has been told to self-isolate, they must each make a separate application to receive a Test and Trace Support Payment, if they meet the eligibility criteria in full.

If you need help with applying online, please call us on 0345 034 4569.

How to upload evidence after applying to support your claim

If you are unable to supply the supporting evidence required at the time of submitting the application, evidence can be uploaded via our online evidence upload form.

Right of Appropriation

If you know that your accounts are at risk and to avoid this payment being taken as soon as it has been deposited into your account, you could exercise your ‘first right of appropriation’. This is a temporary measure under common law, allowing you to earmark funds for specific essential bills, for example; your rent, your mortgage, and your gas or electricity.

You will need to put this request in writing to your bank or building society and list the bills you need to be earmarked.

If your bank or building society has already taken funds, leaving you with not enough to cover your essential bills, you should contact
them anyway to discuss your circumstances and to request a full or partial refund to cover your essential living costs. If your bank or building society refuses your request, you should make a complaint to the bank.

When you make a 'first right of appropriation' request, your bank can make a decision to either freeze your account and/or remove an
overdraft facility if you have one. You need to make sure that you can manage either or both of these situations before you make the request.