The Government has announced a new payment scheme to support and enforce self-isolation where people may be struggling financially.
What is this scheme and why is it being introduced?
From 28 September in England, it will be a legal requirement to self-isolate if you have tested positive for coronavirus or you have been contacted by the NHS Test and Trace team and told to isolate. If you refuse to self-isolate, you can be fined at least £1,000 and up to £10,000 for multiple breaches.
To help support people to isolate, the Government has introduced a Test and Trace Support Payment scheme for those on low incomes who cannot work from home whilst they’re self-isolating because they're unable to work from home.
When does the scheme start?
The scheme started on the 28 September 2020.
How to apply
You can apply for this payment via an online application form, available on Norfolk County Council's website.
You are eligible to apply if:
- You have been told to self-isolate by the NHS Test and Trace system, including the NHS COVID-19 app
- You meet the eligibility requirements listed below
How much is the payment?
It is a lump sum of £500, which you are entitled to if you are required to self-isolate and meet the eligibility criteria listed below.
Who is eligible?
To receive the Test and Trace support payment, you must:
- Have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace either because you’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;
- 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
You can apply for a payment up to 42 days after the first day of your self-isolation.
If you are on a low income and unable to work from home, but do not receive one of the qualifying benefits, you may still be considered for a discretionary payment.
If you’re the parent or guardian of a child who’s been told to self-isolate
If you’re not legally required to self-isolate, but you are the parent or guardian of a child who has been told to self-isolate, you could be eligible for a £500 Test and Trace Support Payment or discretionary payment if all the following apply:
- You’re the parent or guardian of a child in your household who is self-isolating, and you need to take time off work to care for them
- Your child is aged 15 or under, or aged 25 or under with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan, normally attends an education or childcare setting, and has been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or by their education or childcare setting
- You’re unable to work from home and will lose income because you have to care for your child while they are self-isolating
- You meet all the other eligibility criteria for a Test and Trace Support Payment or discretionary payment
What am I required to do?
If you receive a Test and Trace Support Payment, you are agreeing to self-isolate for the entire period required to help stop the spread of coronavirus.
Can I receive more than one payment?
Yes, but only for separate periods of self-isolation. Only one payment will be made for a single period of self-isolation, no matter how long you self-isolate for.
Are the payments taxable?
Yes, the payments are subject to income tax, but they will not be subject to National Insurance contributions.
Can I help someone else make an application or make an application on their behalf?
Yes, you can help someone fill out an application or do it on someone’s behalf. But you cannot receive payments on behalf of someone else – payments will only be made to the person who has been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace.
What if I was told to self-isolate before 28 September 2020?
If you were told to self-isolate before the 28 September, you will not be eligible to make a claim. However we have other support available for those needing help with self-isolating, such as getting access to essential supplies and medicine or financial support because you cannot work.