Reduced Services

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

In line with social distancing advice and to protect residents and staff the Council has taken the decision to close the Council offices to the public until further notice.

Whilst the offices are closed to visitors, you are still able to access services and information from this website 24/7.

Information and advice on coronavirus (COVID-19) and how to access Council Services during this period can be found on our Coronavirus information page

You are invited to view and contribute to the The Mayor's Covid Record of Reflection

Message from the Mayor of Castle Point Council Councillor Colin Riley and the Leader of the Council Councillor Norman Smith

Test and Trace Support Payments

 

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.

You should make your claim as soon as possible, and certainly no later than up to 14 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.
 

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 £1,500 in capital (savings etc in all accounts) and
  • have a gross weekly income prior to isolation of less £400 per week OR
  • be in receipt of Local Council Tax Support 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);
  • Proof of capital/savings showIng you have less then £1,500
  • Evidence that during the period of isolation you wll 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 14 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.
 

Complete an application for Test and Trace Support Payment.

You shuld 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.

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 within 4 working days of 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.