COVID-19: Test & Trace Support payment
We are all working hard to keep each other safe and stop the spread of COVID-19 by covering our faces, keeping our distance, washing our hands and national guidance.
If you are required by NHS Test & Trace services to isolate and you cannot work from home, the Government have announced a new one-off payment to support you.
The NHS test and Trace Support Payment scheme will make sure that people are not out of pocket if they are told by NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate or some parents or guardians who need to take time off work to care for a child or young person who is isolation who would ordinarily be at school, and cannot work from home.
Changes to self-isolation requirements from 16th August 2021
From 16 August 2021, people who are fully vaccinated and who are identified as contacts will no longer be required to self-isolate. This will mean that fully vaccinated contacts are ineligible for TTSP from 16 August 2021 (unless they test positive, at which point they would become eligible).
From this date, anyone under 18 who is a contact will also be exempt from self-isolation. As children who have tested positive will still be required to self-isolate, their parents and guardians may still be eligible, regardless of whether they are fully vaccinated (as they may need to stay at home and look after their child).
If a young person aged under 25 has been identified as a close contact and they have an Education, Health and Care plan, their parents or guardians may still be eligible if they need to stay at home to look after them.
Updates to Self-Isolation Exemptions from 30th November
From 30 November 2021, all close contacts of a suspected or confirmed case of the Omicron variant will be required to self-isolate, regardless of any exemptions from self-isolation, such as their age or vaccination status. It is our understanding that this will be reviewed in three weeks.
This means the following groups may be eligible for TTSP if they meet the criteria:
- people who are fully vaccinated who are identified as a suspected or confirmed contact of someone with the Omicron variant
- people taking part in workplace daily contact testing schemes who are identified as a suspected or confirmed contact of someone with the Omicron variant
- a parent or guardian of a child who is a contact of someone suspected or confirmed to have the Omicron variant.
Contacts of people who are suspected or confirmed to have the Omicron variant will be told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace. These contacts will receive written confirmation of the requirement to do so (either by email or text message), which you will need to provide as this will override the exemption flag which tells us whether someone is exempt from self-isolation.
Update on International Travel
The following groups of people remain ineligible for TTSP as they are required to quarantine on entry to the UK (and therefore cannot work):
- international arrivals from a red list country
- international arrivals from a non-red list country who are not fully vaccinated and are over 18
International arrivals from a non-red list country who are fully vaccinated and over 18 will be required to take a PCR test before the end of day two. If they test positive, they may be eligible for TTSP – and their contacts may be eligible too if the person who has COVID-19 is suspected or confirmed as having the Omicron variant. If the day two PCR test is negative, the person will not be eligible for TTSP.
Full details of this scheme can be found here at GOV.UK: New financial package to support and enforce self-isolation
Am I eligible for a test and trace support payment?
There are two schemes – the “Main” and “Discretionary” schemes.
The “Main” Scheme is set by Central Government and applicants must meet the criteria below:
- 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;
- 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;
- have responded to message from NHS Test and Trace and have provided any legally required information, such as details of their close contacts;
- are employed or self-employed;
- are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result of self-isolating;
- are currently receiving, or are the partner in the same household as someone who is receiving, at least one of the following benefits:
- Universal Credit
- Working Tax Credit
- income-based Employment and Support Allowance
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income Support
- Housing Benefit
- Pension Credit
A parent or guardian of a young person who is required to self-isolate may be eligible for a ‘main’ payment if they live in England and meet the following criteria (even if they are fully vaccinated):
- they 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;
- they are unable to work from home and will lose income;
- 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;
- 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;
- the young person normally attends an education or care setting; and
- the parent or guardian meets all the other criteria for a ‘main’ payment.
The “Discretionary” Scheme is set locally and are for applicants that would be entitled to a main scheme payment but do not receive a qualifying benefit and are on a low income as defined by the Local Authority, and will face hardship as a result of self-isolating.
You can view the full South Somerset District Council Test and Trace Discretionary Payment Scheme policy online.
When can people apply?
All applications must be made within 42 days of the first day of isolation.
The scheme is due to run until March 2022
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I claim if I'm self-isolating after returning to the UK?
The scheme does not cover people who are self-isolating after returning to the UK from abroad, unless they have tested positive for coronavirus or have been instructed to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace.
Can more than one person in a household claim?
People in the same household can make an individual application if they meet qualifying criteria.
Can I claim more than once?
You can claim more than once, if you are told to self-isolate multiple times, as long as your isolation periods do not overlap. Only one payment can be made for overlapping isolation periods.
Are fully vaccinated adults still eligible for the scheme?
As of 16 August 2021, fully vaccinated adults are no longer required to self-isolate if identified as a contact by NHS Test and Trace. This means they are no longer eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme.
Fully vaccinated adults who test positive are still required to self-isolate. They are still eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme.
Can I apply on behalf of someone else?
Applicants can claim on behalf of someone else (eg a son on behalf of a parent) but the payment will only be made into the bank account in the name for whom the application was made (eg in the parent's name).
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
- Are no longer required to self-isolate, that is, your period of self-isolation ended before the self-isolation payment scheme launched (28 September 2020)
- Have not received a notification from NHS Test and Trace telling you to self-isolate
If you do not engage with Test and Trace during your period of isolation
How can I apply?
Retrospective claims will be allowed for a period of 42 days from the date of isolation.