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Test and Trace Isolation Support Payment FAQs

The Covid alert level for Charnwood when national restrictions end at 00:01 on Wednesday December 2 will be Tier 3 (very high). Full details at www.charnwood.gov.uk/coronavirus_restrictions.

For details of the Covid-19 national restrictions up until December 2, changes to Council services, and support available for residents, council tenants and businesses, visit www.charnwood.gov.uk/restrictions.

Below are frequently asked questions regarding the Test and Trace Isolation Support Payment scheme.

Do I need to meet all 4 of the eligibility criteria?

Isolating individuals need to meet all 4 of the eligibility criteria to be entitled to a £500 Test and Trace Isolation Support payment.

However, those who are not in receipt of any of the listed benefits but meet all the other criteria, and are experiencing financial hardship as a result of not being able to work due to self-isolating, may be eligible to apply for the Council’s Discretionary Support Grant scheme.

How much is the payment?

Isolating individuals who meet all 4 of the eligibility criteria will be entitled to a £500 Test and Trace Isolation Support payment, payable as a lump sum, regardless of how much they have lost in income.

Those successfully applying for the Council’s Discretionary Support Grant scheme instead will similarly receive a £500 grant payment while allocated funding remains.

From what date can I apply?

You can apply from 28 September 2020 if eligible, so long as your period of self-isolation began on or after this date.

Is there any time limit for making applications?

Yes, you should apply as soon as you are able to, and no later than 14 days after your period of self-isolation has ended. Applications received after this period will not be accepted. The main scheme closes on 31 January 2021. The Council’s Discretionary scheme closes when our allocated funds have been allocated.

What do I need to provide to apply?

  • Your notification from NHS Test and Trace asking you to self-isolate, which will include your unique 8-character Account ID (e.g. 4a2c204a)
  • A recent bank statement (dated within the past two months)
  • Proof of employment (such as a recent payslip or recent bank statement showing wages being paid into your account), or if self-employed, evidence of self-assessment returns, trading income and proof that your business delivers services which cannot be undertaken from home.
  • Your National Insurance Number.

Can I apply without an NHS reference number?

No, anyone asked to isolate by NHS Test and Trace will have been provided with a unique 8-character Account ID. Applications made without a verified reference will be refused.

If I’ve been advised to self-isolate by someone other than NHS Test and Trace will I qualify for support?

No. To be eligible you must have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace and been issued with a unique 8-character Account ID. Applications made without a verified reference will be refused.

If I am instructed to self-isolate on more than one occasion will I be given a different 8-character Account ID for each self-isolation period? 

Yes, a new ID is issued for each self-isolation period; the unique ID is linked to that isolation period and not the person.

Can I claim more than once if asked to isolate multiple times?

Yes, a claim can be made for each period of self-isolation required provided the eligibility criteria are met on each separate occasion and the self-isolation periods for which you are claiming don’t overlap.

Can several people from the same household apply?

Yes, people who live in the same household can each make an individual application to receive the payments, provided each applicant meets the eligibility criteria.

Can I apply on someone else’s behalf?

Yes, you can fill out an application on someone else’s behalf, but you cannot receive payments on behalf of someone else. Payments will only be made to a bank account in the name of the person who has been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace (i.e. if someone is applying on behalf of a parent, the payment must be made into the parent’s bank account).

I am currently furloughed and self-isolating – can I apply? 

If you have been furloughed but have still been working part-time and cannot do your part-time job from home while self-isolating and will lose income as a result, you may be eligible for the scheme providing you meet all the eligibility criteria.

I am quarantining after returning to the UK – can I apply? 

No. The Test and Trace Support Payment scheme does not cover people who are quarantining after returning to the UK from abroad, unless you test positive during the 14-day quarantine period and have been instructed to self-isolate by NHS Test & Trace and given a valid 8-character reference.

I cannot work as I am having to look after my young child who has COVID – can I apply? 

No. The Test and Trace Support Payment scheme is specifically for people on low incomes who have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace and who can’t work from home; it does not cover parents who have not themselves been instructed to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace.

Are students eligible for the payments? 

Students can apply provided they meet all 4 of the eligibility criteria. In practice, most will not be eligible. Students will not be considered under the Council’s Discretionary scheme.

Is the Test and Trace support payment based upon low income only, or are savings also taken into account?

The Test and Trace Support Payment is not based upon your level of earnings or savings, just on whether you meet the 4 eligibility qualifying criteria.  

However, if you are applying for the Council’s Discretionary scheme then the level of your income and savings will be taken into consideration, as it is a payment to support those experiencing financial hardship as a result of not being able to work due to self-isolating.

What if I do not receive any of the benefits listed but meet all the other criteria?

You may be able to receive help from the Council’s Discretionary Self-Isolation Support Grant scheme if you are facing financial hardship as a result of not being able to work due to self-isolating.

To be eligible for the scheme you must be a Charnwood resident and meet the following criteria:

  • You must have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace either because you have tested positive for COVID-19 or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive.
  • You must be employed or self-employed.
  • You must be unable to work from home and will lose income as a result of having to stay at home and self-isolate.
  • You must have less than £6,000 savings.
  • You must be working 16 hours or more.
  • Your maximum hourly rate must be £9.30.
  • You are not in full time further or higher education.
  • You have not received any other grant support for the same isolation period.
  • You are not subject to immigration control as defined by the Housing Benefit regulations.

The Council’s grant scheme will close once the total funding has been spent.

How do I apply for Discretionary fund support?

Please use the same online application form as if applying for the standard Test and Trace Support payment scheme at www.charnwood.gov.uk/pages/test_and_trace_support_payment_scheme

Is there a right of appeal against the decision? 

There is no right of appeal. People who are refused the payment will not be eligible because they don't meet the criteria. We will work with eligible applicants to make sure they provide the necessary evidence to support a successful application. 

What is the expected timescale for processing applications and making payments?

Wherever possible, we aim to make payments within 3 working days of receipt of a completed application form (if all criteria are met and the necessary supporting evidence is provided).

How will the payments be made? 

Payments will be made by bank transfer to the bank account matching the bank statement you provide as proof of eligibility.

What if I am overdrawn?

Banks are not allowed to use certain types of payments to repay an overdraft, i.e. welfare benefits. You can ensure the money isn’t used to pay your overdraft by contacting your bank to explain to them that you are expecting a £500 NHS Test and Trace Support Payment and telling your bank what the payment should be used for. This protection is called a ‘first right of appropriation of funds order’.

If your bank account is overdrawn and you would like us to delay your £500 Test and Trace payment until you have contacted your bank, please notify us.

Will these payments be taxed?

Payments made under the scheme will be subject to income tax, but they will not be subject to National Insurance contributions. Tax will not be deducted from the payment itself; you will need to declare the payment to HMRC.

How are these payments treated in respect of other benefits (i.e. Housing Benefit and Universal Credit etc)? Are they treated as earnings, or disregarded?

These payments will be disregarded when calculating entitlement to other benefits.

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Last updated: Tue 13th October, 2020 @ 10:36