Reduced Services

Accessing Council Services:  

  • You can access advice, or support with using our online services, by phoning 01268 882200 (8.45am to 5.15pm Mon to Thurs, and to 4.45pm on Fri)
  • The Kiln Road office will re-open for pre-booked appointments only (9.00am to 4.00pm), these can be arranged on a case by case basis by phoning 01268 882200.
  • You can find information and advice on COVID-19 and our 24/7 online services on our  Coronavirus information page

Test and Trace Support Payments

Eligibility from Monday 16th August

If you are fully vaccinated or under 18, you may no longer be required to self-isolate after being identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

This will affect who is eligible for a Test and Trace Support payment:

  • If you are fully vaccinated and are identified as a close contact, you will no longer need to self-isolate and so will not be eligible for a payment.
  • Anyone under 18 that is identified as a close contact will no longer need to self-isolate, meaning most parents or guardians will no longer be eligible for a support claim for their child.
  • Anyone fully vaccinated or under 18 that tests positive must self-isolate and therefore may be eligible (please read all information below).

 

Eligibility before Monday 16th August

If you are told to self-isolate, you must do so. You may face a fine of £1,000 if you do not, or up to £10,000 for repeat offences or serious breaches of the rules. If you cannot work from home and you have lost income as a result, you may be eligible for a £500 Support Payment.

You may be eligible for the NHS test and trace support payment scheme of £500 (GOV.UK) . If you are not eligible for that you may be eligible for a discretionary payment of £500. Details of both are set out below.

Please read the information on this page before completing the online test and trace application form which can be found further down the page. 

You should make your claim as soon as possible, and no later than up to 28 days from the date your self-isolation period ended as we are unable to accept applications after this time.

 

What is the aim of the test and trace support payment?

The Test & Trace Support Payment Scheme has been introduced by Central Government in response to feedback that some residents have struggled to self-isolate due to financial constraints. The aim of the payment is to help ensure that employed or self-employed people on low incomes self-isolate when they test positive or are identified as a contact, and to encourage more people to get tested. This will help to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and avoid further societal and economic restrictions.

Who will be eligible?

To be eligible for the Test & Trace Support Payment, you must:
  • reside in the borough
  • have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace either because they’ve tested positive for coronavirus or 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-based Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit

What evidence will I need to provide with my claim?

You will need to provide;
  •  A notification from NHS Test and Trace asking you to self-isolate – this must show your 8 digit Test and Trace Account ID number (Please note: Notifications from the NHS Isolation Note Service are not acceptable evidence);
  • Proof that you receive one of the qualifying benefits – this must show your name, address, NINO, date of award, and type of benefit;
  • A recent bank statement; and
  • Proof of employment 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.
Scanned or photographed documents will be accepted.
You must upload your evidence at the end of the online claim form – make sure you have your documents ready. Failure to upload the required evidence may result in your application being refused.

People in the same household can each make an individual application to receive the payment, provided they each meet the eligibility criteria.
 

Parents and guardians support payment

On the 8th March 2021, the Government introduced the ability for parents and guardians to claim for a support payment, if the child or young person in their care has to self-isolate and they need to take time off work because of it.

Applicants must meet all the criteria below:

  • they are the parent or guardian of a child or young person in the same household and need to take time off work to care for them while they self-isolate. This is limited to one parent or guardian per household for the child or young person’s self-isolation period. 
  • they are employed or self-employed.
  • they cannot work from home while undertaking caring responsibilities and will lose income as a result.
  • they meet all the other means-tested eligibility criteria for a Test and Trace Support Payment or locally determined criteria for a discretionary payment. 
  • their child or young person:
    • is aged 15 or under (or 25 or under with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC)) and normally attends an education or childcare setting.
    • has been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or by their education or childcare setting because they have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Additional guidance from the department of health and social care [pdf] 210KB

 

Discretionary Test and Trace Support Payment

If you aren’t in receipt of one of the qualifying benefits but will still face hardship while self-isolating because you cannot work from home and will lose income as a result, you might qualify for a Discretionary Test and Trace Support Payment instead. The funding for a Discretionary Payment is limited and to be considered you must;
 
  • have less than £16,000 total household capital (savings etc in all accounts) and
  • have a gross weekly income prior to isolation of less £500 per week OR
  • have been working for a total of more than 16 hours prior to the period of self isolation and will receive a reduced wage for the period of isolation.

What evidence will I need to provide with my claim?

You will need to provide;
  • A notification from NHS Test and Trace asking you to self-isolate – this must show your 8 digit Test and Trace Account ID number (Please note: Notifications from the NHS Isolation Note Service are not acceptable evidence);
  • Evidence that during the period of isolation you will be receiving a reduced wage
Scanned or photographed documents will be accepted.

You must upload your evidence at the end of the online claim form – make sure you have your documents ready.
 
You should make your claim as soon as possible, and certainly no later than up to 28 days from the date your self-isolation period ended as we are unable to accept applications after this time.
 
People in the same household can each make an individual application to receive the payment, provided they each meet the eligibility criteria.

Who is not eligible?

People who;

  • were asked to self-isolate before 28th September 2020.
  • are self-isolating after travelling abroad (unless you test positive during the 14 day  quarantine period).
  • are self-isolating but have not received a notification from NHS Test and Trace telling them to self-isolate.
  • can work from home and continue to receive full wages whilst self-isolating.
 

When does the scheme come into force and how do I claim?

This scheme came into effect on 28th September 2020, alongside the legal duty to self-isolate.
 

You should use this form whether you are applying for a standard Test & Trace Support Payment, or a Discretionary Payment.

If you need help, someone else can complete the form for you, however they will be asked to provide their details, explaining why they are completing the form for you.
 
You should make your claim as soon as possible, and no later than up to 28 days from the date your self-isolation period ended as we are unable to accept applications after this time.
 

How much is the payment, and how and when will I be paid?

Individuals who are required to self-isolate and who meet the benefits-linked eligibility criteria will be entitled to £500. This will be payable as a lump sum directly to the account which you evidenced with your claim.
 
We expect to make payment as soon as possible after receiving your eligible claim and supporting evidence. We will send you an email confirming your payment once it has been made.

Payments cannot be made to a third party or other account – they can only be made to the person and account evidenced on the claim.
 
Any Test and Trace Payments you receive will be fully disregarded when calculating eligibility to other benefits that you may claim – this includes Universal Credit.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I’ve claimed once already, and must self-isolate again?

You can claim more than once provided, in each separate claim period, you meet the eligibility criteria and the periods of self-isolation do not overlap - a new application will need to be made for each distinct period of self-isolation. You do not need to complete another form for this. The questions you answer on the Test & Trace Form will tell us if you might be eligible, and we will then contact you if we need further information.

What should I do if the bank account I’ve ask you to use to pay me is overdrawn?

You should exercise your ‘first right of appropriation’ over the £500. Once you do this your bank cannot use this money to offset your overdraft and must make the £500 available for you to use for essential bills as you have instructed them.
To do this you must write to your bank as soon as you are asked to self-isolate (and at least seven days before your £500 payment is due to be paid).

The following websites give further advice and some letter examples;

 

I applied, but have been turned down - can I appeal?

There is no legal right of appeal to the Test & Trace Payment Scheme, however you can ask us to review our decision if we have turned you down for a Discretionary Payment.
 
To do this you must write to the Council within 3 days of us notifying you of our decision, clearly stating the reason why you disagree. You can also send us further information at this point if you think this will help us to better understand your situation.