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Getting support when self isolating

NHS Test and Trace Support Payment

If you are on a low income, need to self-isolate, and are unable to work from home, you may be eligible for financial support. This will be a £500 lump sum.

To be eligible for the NHS Test and Trace Support Payment, you must apply no later than 42 days from your isolation start date and:

  • have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, either because you’ve tested positive for COVID-19 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 of self-isolating; 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.

Discretionary payments

You may still be eligible for a £500 discretionary payment if you meet all the eligibility criteria above, but you:

  • do not currently receive one of the qualifying benefits and
  • you will face financial hardship as a result of not being able to work while you are self-isolating.

UPDATES: 

From Tuesday 11 January 2022 , anyone wishing to claim a NHS Test & Trace Support Payment will need to have had a positive PCR test. We can no longer accept applications solely based on a positive lateral flow device (LFD) test.

From Wednesday, 22 December 2021, people who test positive for COVID-19 can self-isolate for seven days instead of ten,  if they receive negative LFD tests on day 6 and day 7 of their self-isolation period (with tests taken 24 hours apart). 

This applies to vaccinated an unvaccinated people who test positive for COVID-19. The first test must be taken no earlier than day 6 of the self-isolation period. 

Those who leave self-isolation on or after day 7 (because they have received two consecutive negative LFD tests 24 hours apart) are strongly advised to take precautionary measures. This includes
limiting close contact with other people in crowded or poorly ventilated space, working from home and minimising contact with anyone who is a higher risk of severe illness if infected with COVID-19.

As applicants will have to isolate for a minimum of seven days and may incur loss of income, they will remain eligible for TTSP. As individuals may need to self-isolate for longer than seven days, and up to ten days, the amount will remain fixed at £500. 

NB: There is no change to the guidance for unvaccinated contacts of positive COVID-19 cases who are still required to self-isolate for ten full days after the date of exposure to the virus.

From 14 December 2021, fully vaccinated adults and young people who have been identified as the contact of a COVID-19 case should take an NHS lateral flow test every day for seven days.

The following groups are eligible to take part in daily testing if they have been identified as a close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case:

-fully vaccinated household and non-household adult close contacts.

-contacts who have taken part in, or are currently part of, an approved COVID-19 vaccine trials.

-contacts who are unable to get vaccinated for medical reasons.

-contacts who are between the ages of 5 and 18 years and 6 months.

As these individuals do not have to self-isolate, they – or their parents and guardians, in the case of young people – will be ineligible for the NHS Test and Trace Support Payment (TTSP) unless they test positive for COVID-19.

If someone is eligible for daily testing and chooses not to take part, they will not be eligible for TTSP

Adult contacts who are not fully vaccinated will still be required to self-isolate, so will not be able to take part in daily testing.

They will therefore be eligible for the NHS Test and Trace Support Payment (TTSP); unless taking part in an approved workplace daily contact testing scheme.

From 11 November 2021, all staff working or volunteering in a care home will need to demonstrate that they are fully vaccinated, unless they are exempt. Staff who are not fully vaccinated who either test positive for COVID-19 or are identified as a contact will not qualify for NHS Test and Trace Support Payment (TTSP), as they will not be facing a loss of income.

Anyone including NHS and Care workers who are contacts and are fully vaccinated but are being refused entry into their workplace because a member of their household has tested positive do not qualify for TTSP. This is because they are able to claim from the Adult Social Care Infection Control Fund via Gov.uk

This fund is for any individuals who work in the care sector and have been told to self-isolate or been stopped from entering work. The Adult Social Care Infection Control Fund (ICF) is a £600 million fund to support adult social care providers to reduce the rate of COVID-19 transmission in and between care homes and support wider workforce resilience.

This includes ensuring that staff who are isolating in line with government guidance receive their normal wages while doing so (for example, uplifting the pay of those who need to isolate and who would normally only be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay).

The above also means that anyone who is fully vaccinated, working in any capacity in a social care setting, and has been asked to self isolate having tested positive, will not qualify for TTSP  and should apply to the Adult Social Care Infection Control Fund via Gov.uk    

NB: The rule does not apply to social care staff visiting people within their homes (domicillary care providers) - only those in care homes itself

Between 30 November 2021 and 13 December 2021, close contacts of a suspected or confirmed Omicron case were required to self-isolate – regardless of their age or vaccination status, and without any exemption for approved workplace daily contact testing schemes

For this period, the following groups were eligible for the NHS Test and Trace Support Payment scheme (TTSP) – provided they meet the rest of the criteria:

-fully vaccinated contacts of someone suspected or confirmed to have the Omicron variant.

-the parent or guardian of a child who is a contact of someone suspected or confirmed to have the Omicron variant (as age was not an exemption for self-isolation).

-people taking part in workplace daily contact testing schemes who have been identified as a contact of someone suspected or confirmed to have the Omicron variant (as they were required to self-isolate without exemption).

As per the usual rules, applicants have 42 days from the start date of isolation to apply for the TTSP.

A contact of a suspected or confirmed Omicron case (or their parent or guardian), has until 24 January 2022 to claim for TTSP

Parents or guardians of a child who has tested postive for Covid 19

From Tuesday 11 January 2022 (NB: need the date bold and underlined please), all children need to have had a positive PCR test. We can no longer accept applications solely based on a positive lateral flow device (LFD) test.

If you are not legally required to self-isolate, but you are the parent or guardian of a child who has been told to self-isolate on or after 16th August 2021, you could still be eligible for a £500 Test and Trace Support Payment or discretionary payment.

To be eligible you must:

• be 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.

• be employed or self-employed.

• be unable to work from home while undertaking caring responsibilities and will lose income as a result.

• meet all the other means-tested eligibility criteria for a Test and Trace Support Payment or locally determined criteria for a discretionary payment.

Your child or young person:

  • must be aged 15 or under (or 25 or under with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC)) and normally attends an education or childcare setting

  • must have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace because they have tested positive for COVID-19. 

Payment, tax and scheme dates

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 and subject to income tax but not National Insurance contributions. 

These changes will come into effect on 28 September 2020, alongside the legal duty to self-isolate. The scheme will run until 31 March 2022.

How to apply for the Test and Trace Support Payment

You will need to make an online application or call 020 8770 5000 and select the ‘Housing Benefits’ option. You’ll need to submit the following as supporting evidence:

  • Full and complete screenshot of the message/ email from NHS Tracing or NHS Test and Trace that confirms your name and Test and Trace Account ID (which is made up of 8 characters) and that you have either:

          -tested positive for Covid 19 or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid 19

We can also accept a screenshot of the message from the NHS Test and Trace app telling you to self isolate.

NB: Even if you have been fully vaccinated, if you tested positive for Covid 19, it is still a legal requirement to self isolate, so please ensure you have completed the contact tracing journey as per the link in any self isolation messages you may already have received.

This will ensure NHS Tracing has details of your contacts in order to notify them to self isolate (depending on your vaccination status) 

  • a full bank statement; and

  • proof of employment or, if self-employed, evidence of self-assessment returns, trading income and proof that the business delivers services which cannot be undertaken without social contact.     

From Monday 23 February 2021, to validate your bank account details, we need to share relevant information you've given us with TransUnion. This will be used to ensure your support payment is paid to the correct bank account and to help prevent fraudulent use of support payments. This is not a credit check and won't impact your credit rating. For more information on how TransUnion may use your data, visit their website.

 

Submit your application here

Multiple claims 

A claim can be made for each period of self-isolation required, as long as the self isolation dates do not overlap at all.  All eligibility criteria must be met and supporting evidence provided.

Other types of financial support

If you are not eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment, there may be other types of support that you can access. 

Council Tax

If you are concerned about paying your council tax, we can talk to you about your options. Read our online information about help with council tax and if you need to speak to someone, get in touch with us at: counciltax@sutton.gov.uk

General support and questions

If you need advice on issues such as welfare benefits, housing, employment and debt, Citizens Advice Sutton can help. The service is free, confidential, independent and impartial. Call them: 0208 405 3552, or use their webform to get in touch.

Universal Credit

You can find more information, provided by the Government here.

Self-isolation Service Hub

The Department for Health and Social Care has launched the Self-Isolation Service Hub (020 3743 6715). The phone line is open 7 days a week, 8am to 8pm, allowing employers to provide contact details of those individuals who have been asked to self-isolate and are likely to be eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment or discretionary payment. 

By providing these details, close contacts of positive cases will be formally advised to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace and provided with an NHS Test and Trace Account ID. Individuals who have not been formally advised to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace will not receive an NHS Test and Trace Account ID and will not be able to claim from the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme.