Frequently Asked Questions
Please read the information in our Frequently Asked Questions before applying for a Test and Trace Support payment.
1. Date of isolation and backdating
Eligibility for the Test and Trace Support Payment, including discretionary payments, will be for people who are told to self-isolate on or after 28 September 2020 and who meet the relevant eligibility criteria. On Monday 18th January, the rules around making an application after your isolation period ended were changed by the Government. Up to 17th January 2021, you could apply for a payment up to two weeks (14 days) after your isolation period ended. From 18th January 2021, this changes to 28 days meaning that you can apply for a payment up to 28 days after your isolation period starts. This applies only to applications made on or after 18th January 2021.
2. Can I apply after the 28 September 2020?
You will be able to claim retrospectively, as long as your period of self-isolation began on or after 28 September 2020. On Monday 18th January, the rules around making an application after your isolation period ended were changed by the Government. Up to 17th January 2021, you could apply for a payment up to two weeks (14 days) after your isolation period ended. From 18th January 2021, this changes to 28 days meaning that you can apply for a payment up to 28 days after your isolation period starts. This applies only to applications made on or after 18th January 2021.
3. What if my isolation started before 28 September 2020?
We are not able to accept applications from people told to self-isolate before 28 September 2020, even if the period of self-isolation continues until or after 28 September.
4. How do I provide the evidence you need?
Evidence can be provided online at the time of application or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Evidence to support your application can be a scanned copy, a clear photograph of the evidence or screen shots of online accounts. Hard copy evidence should be provided as a last resort and may delay any payment.
5. How long does the process take and when will I hear back from you?
We aim to make payments to successful applicants within 3 working days of receiving an application providing all supporting evidence has been provided and can be verified. If we need further evidence or evidence is not provided at the time of the application, this might delay your payment.
If you have not heard back from us within 1 week please contact us.
6. What if I am overdrawn, will my payment be taken by the bank?
If you are overdrawn, you can ask your bank not to use your payment to pay-off your overdraft. This is called your “first right of appropriation”. Banks are not allowed to use housing benefit or any other benefit to repay an overdraft.
You can protect your payment by telling your bank it should only be used to pay your rent or utility bills for example. This protection is called a ‘first right of appropriation of funds order’.
You can use the first right of appropriation on any money being paid into your account. You must contact your bank directly and we recommend that you do this as soon as you have made an application.
7. What if I test positive during my isolation period and have to isolate for longer than 14 days?
While you can apply to the scheme more than once, to qualify for another payment you isolation periods must not overlap or run on into one longer isolation period. This means that if you test positive during your isolation, you will not be eligible to another payment.
8. Can I apply after my isolation ends?
Yes, if you are eligible, you can make a claim up to 28 days after your period of self-isolation starts. We are not able to accept applications after this point.
On Monday 18th January, the rules around making an application after your isolation period ended were changed by the Government. Up to 17th January 2021, you could apply for a payment up to two weeks (14 days) after your isolation period ended. From 18th January 2021, this changes to 28 days meaning that you can apply for a payment up to 28 days after your isolation period starts. This applies only to applications made on or after 18th January 2021.
9. Can more than one person from the same household apply?
Yes, people in the same household can each make an individual application to receive the payment, if they each meet the eligibility criteria as an individual applicant.
10. Can I claim more than once?
Yes, an individual can claim more than once (if you are told to self-isolate multiple times), as long as you meet the eligibility criteria for each individual claim and your periods of self-isolation do not overlap.
11. Can I apply for someone else, or can someone else apply for me?
Yes, applicants can apply on behalf of someone else. However, the £500 will be paid into a bank account in the name of applicant, not the person making the application (so, for example, if someone applied on behalf of a parent, the payment would be made into the parent’s bank account).
12. I am isolating but have not been told to do so by the NHS Test and Trace service
We are not able to approve applications for anyone who does not have a valid notification from NHS Test and Trace. The legal duty to self-isolate that came into force on 28 September 2020 applies only to people who have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace. You will be notified directly by the Test and Trace service and you will receive an 8-digit code.
13. I have to isolate because I have been abroad, can I apply?
The Test and Trace Support Payment scheme does not cover people who are self-isolating after returning to the UK from abroad, unless they have tested positive for coronavirus or have been instructed to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace.
14. I am furloughed, can I apply?
We are not able to make payments to applicants whose income is lower than normal because they are furloughed. The Test and Trace Support Payment is for people facing a reduction in income because they cannot work while self-isolating.
15. Will I pay tax on the support payment?
These payments will be subject to income tax. Payments will not be subject to National Insurance contributions. Details of any payments made will be sent to HMRC to make any necessary changes to your income tax calculations. If you are self-employed you should report the payment on your 20/21 Self-Assessment tax return.
16. Will the payment affect my benefits?
These payments will be disregarded when calculating eligibility for other benefits. This means that your benefits will not reduce as a result of receiving this payment. This includes calculating entitlement to Universal Credit and Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support.
17. Can I appeal if my application is unsuccessful?
If your applications is unsuccessful, it will be because you do not meet, or are unable to prove that you meet the scheme’s criteria. There is no right of appeal against any decision not to award a payment, either for the main Test and Trace Support Payment or the discretionary scheme. If you disagree with a decision not to award a Test and Trace payment, you may ask for your application to be reviewed by another officer.
Wherever possible, we will work with you to make sure you provided the necessary evidence to support a successful application. For instance, someone who is self-employed may have forgotten to provide their self-assessment return in the first instance. It is important that the contact details you give us are accurate so that we can help you.
18. I don’t have access to the internet, how can I apply?
A telephone application can be made by calling 01254 388 111 Monday to Friday 9:00am to 5:00pm for residents who do not have access to the internet. All residents will be encouraged when they telephone us to use the online form whenever possible or to ask someone else to apply online for them.
I still have some questions, what can I do?
The NHS has a test and Trace enquiry and complaints team that can be contacted by ringing 119.
Please contact us if our FAQs have not answered your questions.