COVID-19 - Test and Trace Support scheme

Last updated: 15 October 2020 at 10.55am

On 20 September 2020, the government announced a new Test and Trace Support scheme for those people required by law to self-isolate and earning a low wage who cannot work from home and have lost income as a result.

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 is taxable.

The scheme runs from 28 September 2020 until 31 January 2021 and is open to anyone who has been advised by NHS Test and Trace that they should self-isolate, will lose income as a result and meets the criteria set out below.

In addition to the main scheme, there is also a discretionary scheme. More information on both can be found below:

PDF document Test and Trace Policy (PDF) [356 kb]

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible for a payment under the Test and Trace Support scheme, an individual must:

  • have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace either because they’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; 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.

Payments will be subject to income tax but not national insurance contributions.

Discretionary Scheme

To be considered for a payment under the Discretionary Test and Trace Support scheme, an individual must:

  • have been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, either because they have tested positive for coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive;

  • are employed or self-employed;

  • are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result;

  • have no more than £3,000 in capital/savings that can be accessed (ie. Bank account, ISA and not stocks and shares); and

  • are on a low income and will face financial hardship as a result of not being able to work while they are self-isolating, providing they would usually have a minimum income of £80 per week but no more than £250 per week.

This scheme is funded from a cash limited fund and therefore will be kept under review.

Test and Trace Support Payment Privacy Notice

If you apply, we will need to process your personal data to assess whether you are eligible to receive financial support, and if so, to provide a payment to you. This Privacy Notice sets out what personal data we will use, how we will use it, and why we need to, when an applicant applies for this support.

PDF document Privacy Notice - Test and Trace Support Payments (PDF) [41 kb]

How to apply

To make an application you will need to provide evidence of the following. A payment cannot be made until all information has been verified.

  • A copy of your latest bank statement (one issued within the last two months which must clearly show proof of earnings if you are employed)

  • Proof of employment or self-employment eg.most recent payslip, recent business bank statement (within the last two months) most recent set of accounts, or evidence of self-assessment returns

  • Proof of your notification from NHS Test and Trace asking you to self-isolate which will have your unique Test and Trace account ID on it

  • Your national insurance number

If you are a resident in the Basingstoke and Deane Council area, select the button below to apply:

Apply for the Test and Trace Support Scheme

Frequently asked questions

Will payments under the Test and Trace Support scheme be taxed?

Payments made under the scheme will be subject to income tax. They will not be subject to National Insurance contributions.

Is the Test and Trace Support Payment taxable?

This payment will be subject to income tax. It will not be subject to National Insurance contributions.

I'm self-employed, how will this payment affect my tax?

The payment will be a coronavirus support payment and therefore a revenue receipt of your business, contributing towards your profits. The payment will need to be included on your Self-Assessment Tax Return along with any other coronavirus support payments you may have received.

I'm employed, how will this payment affect my tax?

There is nothing you need to do. If your income for the year is not more than £12,500, you will not have any tax to pay. If tax is due, HMRC will automatically recover it from your pay through a change in your tax code. HMRC will send you a new tax code notice.

Can I receive the payment whilst in receipt of Statutory Sick Pay?

Claimants can claim Statutory Sick Pay as well as a Test and Trace Support Payment, but not contractual sick pay from their employer. Employers can claim Statutory Sick Pay Reimbursement for those self-isolating.

Will this payment affect my existing benefit entitlements?

No, the payment does not affect existing entitlements to Universal Credit, Pension Credit, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Pension Credit, Housing Benefit. The payment will also be disregarded as income for the purposes of tax credits.

I have just returned from holiday and I have to quarantine. Am I eligible for this payment?

No, the Test and Trace Support scheme does not apply to people who are self-isolating after returning to the UK from abroad, unless you have tested positive for coronavirus or have been told to stay home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace.

How long will the Test and Trace Support payment scheme be in place?

The scheme will run from Monday 28 September 2020 to Sunday 31 January 2021

Why has the scheme been brought in?

The Government made the decision to introduce the scheme to help ensure that 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, including local lockdowns.

I was required to self-isolate after 28 September but before the council finalised its application process. Can I make a backdated claim?

Yes. Those meeting all the eligibility criteria set out in the section above can apply for a backdated payment once the council has opened its application process.

I need help to complete the application. What do I do?

If you are unable to complete the application form yourself and are unable to request help from family or friends. Please contact 01256 844844 and they will be able to arrange for an officer to help you.

I don't have the evidence you say I need, what should I do?

A Test and Trace Support Payment cannot be made until your circumstances have been verified. If you think you will be eligible under either the main scheme or the discretionary scheme, you should complete the application form and provide any evidence that you can and one of the council’s decision makers will make contact with you to discuss further.

I am overdrawn and worried that the bank will use this money to clear my overdraft. What can I do?

Banks are not allowed to use a payment of benefit to repay an overdraft. You can protect the payment by telling your bank it is a payment due to reduced income as you have been advised by NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate. This protection is called a 'first right of appropriation of funds order”. You need to write to them at the point you apply for a Test and Trace payment, advising them that you are expecting this payment and what it is intended for.

How do I know you have received my application for a Test and Trace Support payment?

When you submit your application, you will receive an email from donotreplyrab@basingtoke.gov.uk. If you do not receive this email, your application has not submitted and you should re-submit it.

I do not qualify for a Test and Trace Support payment. Is there any other support available to me?

There is lots of support available. Take a look at our community hub page for more information.

Contact us

  • Contact us online
  • 01256 844844
  • Civic Offices
    London Road
    Basingstoke
    RG21 4AH
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    8.30am to 5pm
    Fridays
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