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Benefits & Council Tax Support

CORONAVIRUS Support

Test and Trace Support Payment

This payment is designed to support people on low incomes who will lose income as a result of self-isolating, and to encourage them to get tested if they have symptoms. This is important to help stop the transmission of COVID-19 and avoid further economic and societal restrictions.

More information on this government announcement is available on the GOV.UK website.

There are two different types of schemes which can be applied for. The original scheme has been in place since 28th September 2020 and applies to individuals who receive a notification from NHS Test and Trace advising them they need to self-isolate. From 8th March 2021 the government extended the scheme to include the parents or guardians who have to take time off work in order to care for a dependent child who has been identified as needing to self-isolate due to being a contact of someone in their childcare or education setting who has tested positive for Covid-19.

The current closing date to apply for a Test and Trace Support Payment is 31st March 2022.

Please read this page in full and consult the appropriate policy document before making an application for this support payment.

Changes to the Self-Isolation rules from 16th August 2021

From 16th August 2021, the rules about who has to self-isolate have changed. From this date, close contacts of a positive COVID19 case who are either under the age of 18 or have been ‘fully vaccinated’ are no longer under a legal obligation to self-isolate. They will instead be advised to take precautions such as taking regular lateral flow tests, mask wearing, and avoiding vulnerable relatives, but they will no longer be prohibited from leaving the house or attending their place of work.

‘Fully vaccinated’ is defined as having received the full dose of a COVID19 vaccine more than 14 days prior to the date of becoming a close contact.

These changes do not affect positive cases of COVID19, who are still required to self-isolate as normal.

Citizens who meet the new self-isolation rules of being either fully vaccinated or under the age of 18 are therefore no longer eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme if they become a close contact of a positive case after 16th August 2021. Mid Sussex District Council can therefore only consider applications from individuals who have received an instruction from NHS Test and Trace that they must self-isolate. We will be unable to take into consideration circumstances where an individual has chosen to self-isolate, or has been advised to do by a third party such as an employer.

The date of 16th August 2021 applies to the first date of self-isolation. Therefore, someone who is advised to self-isolate starting from 15th August would apply according to pre-16th August rules, and someone who is advised to self-isolate starting from 16th August 2021 would apply according to post-16th August rules.

Mid Sussex District Council is still able to accept late applications up to 42 days from the first date of self-isolation, meaning that up until and including 26th September 2021, applications can still be accepted under the pre-16th August rules if the first date of self-isolation was less than 42 days prior to this date

National Scheme (for those in receipt of certain benefits)

Please refer to the National Test and Trace Support Payment Policy before applying. 

Individuals Self-Isolating

To be eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment (National Scheme) an individual must meet all of the following:

  • Have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, on or after 28 September but not before that date, because:
    • they have been notified that they have tested positive for Coronavirus, or
    • they have been notified that they have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, and
  • They are employed or self-employed, and
  • They are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result, and
  • They are currently receiving Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit or Pension Credit.

Parents/Guardians of Children Self-Isolating

To be eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment for parents/guardians (National Scheme) an individual must meet all of the following:

  • 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 for the young person’s self-isolation period (it is not possible for two people to claim for the same self-isolation period of one child), and
  • 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; and
  • 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 COVID19, and
  • They are employed or self-employed, and
  • They cannot work from home and will lose income as a result. This only applies where it is not possible for the work to take place at home, which means that applicants who have the capability to work from home but may need to take time off to provide care will not be eligible. Similarly, if one adult takes time off work where there is another adult in the household capable of providing care, they will not be considered eligible, and
  • They currently receiving Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit or Pension Credit.

 

Discretionary Scheme (for those not in receipt of the benefits listed above)

Individuals Self-Isolating

If you are not currently receiving one of the benefits detailed above, but you meet all of the other eligibility criteria, you may be eligible for a Discretionary Test and Trace Support Payment. 

Parents/Guardians of Children Self-Isolating

If you are not currently receiving one of the benefits detailed above, but you meet all of the other eligibility criteria, you may be eligible for a Discretionary Test and Trace Support Payment.

Please refer to the Discretionary Test and Trace Support Payment Policy before applying.

Qualifying Conditions

Individuals Self-Isolating

The government has set out that the following supporting evidence (electronic evidence such as scanned images, photo images, screenshots) must be supplied with the application for the Test and Trace Support Payment:

  • A notification from NHS Test and Trace asking that you self-isolate (this will include your unique 8-digit NHS Test and Trace Account ID number)
  • Recent proof of receipt of one of the qualifying benefits (if applicable)
  • A recent itemised bank statement (which shows the full name on the account, the full account number and sort code)
  • Recent proof of employment (most recent payslip), 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.
  • Evidence of the financial hardship that will be faced (if applying for the Discretionary Scheme)

Parents/Guardians of Children Self-Isolating

If you are a parent/guardian of a self-isolating child, you will not need to provide a notification from NHS Test and Trace asking you to self-isolate, but all other evidence as outlined above will still be required. Please refer to the appropriate policy document for full details on what evidence is required if applying for this scheme.

Individuals who are quarantining after returning to the UK

Individuals who are self-isolating after returning to the UK from abroad, are not eligible to be considered under the Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme, unless they have tested positive for Coronavirus or been instructed to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace.

Apply online

If, after reading the above information, you believe that you may be eligible for a Test and Trace Support Payment and your main place of residence is in the Mid Sussex District Council area, please apply online at https://midsussex.grantapproval.co.uk .

Where more than one individual in the same household has been told to self-isolate, they may each make a separate application to receive a Test and Trace Support Payment, if they meet the eligibility criteria in full.

If you need help with applying online, please call us on 01444 477264.

How to upload evidence after applying to support your claim

If you are unable to supply the supporting evidence required at the time of submitting the application, evidence can be uploaded to your application at a later date by logging back into your application portal.

The NHS Covid-19 App

Up until 10th December 2020, to be eligible for the scheme a person must have been contacted by a human tester working for NHS Test and Trace, either because they had tested positive or they had been in close contact with someone who had, and that contact had provided their details directly to NHS Test and Trace. This meant that anyone advised to self-isolate by the NHS Covid-19 App would not meet the requirements for the Test and Trace Support Payment.

From 10 December 2020, the NHS Test and Trace Support Payment will be extended to include NHS COVID-19 App users who live in England and have been notified only via the app that they have been in close contact with a positive case of coronavirus. An App user will need to follow some steps to request an 8-digit NHS Test and Trace Account ID, and because app users are anonymous, they will need to leave the App to do this. They will need to register with NHS Test and Trace by following a link in the App.

The user must do this while they are in their self-isolation period. They will be unable to request an Account ID after they’ve finished self-isolating.

To start the process on the App, the user will need to select ‘Financial support’. This button appears on the home screen when an individual has been told to self-isolate via the App because they have been in close contact with someone who has Covid-19. They will be taken to a website which will ask for some information to check whether they could be eligible. None of the information provided will be passed back to the NHS COVID-19 app. The App is designed to protect the user’s privacy and does not know who or where the user is located.

If answers show that a user may be eligible for the NHS Test and Trace Support Payment, there are four steps to apply for the Test and Trace Support Payment:

Step 1 - Confirm who you are with NHS login.

Step 2 - Enter personal details.

Step 3 - Register with NHS Test and Trace.

Step 4 - Apply to your local authority.

Right of Appropriation

If you know that your bank accounts are at risk and to avoid this payment being taken as soon as it has been deposited into your account, you could exercise your ‘first right of appropriation’. This is a temporary measure under common law, allowing you to earmark funds for specific essential bills, for example; your rent, your mortgage, and your gas or electricity.

You will need to put this request in writing to your bank or building society and list the bills you need to be earmarked.

If your bank or building society has already taken funds, leaving you with not enough to cover your essential bills, you should contact them anyway to discuss your circumstances and to request a full or partial refund to cover your essential living costs. If your bank or building society refuses your request, you should make a complaint to the bank.

When you make a 'first right of appropriation' request, your bank can make a decision to either freeze your account and/or remove an overdraft facility if you have one. You need to make sure that you can manage either or both of these situations before you make the request.