New package to support and enforce self-isolation

From 28 September 2020, there is a legal duty to self-isolate if you have tested positive for Covid-19 or if you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive. Failure to do so is an offence with a fine of at least £1,000 and up to £10,000 for multiple breaches.

The government has introduced the test and trace support payment scheme to give financial support to people on low incomes who must self-isolate, cannot work from home and will lose income as a result.


Update: claims for children

From 8 March, if you are a parent responsible for the care of a child under 15 who has been told by an education establishment to self-isolate, and you meet all of the other criteria then you could be eligible for a payment.

We haven't launched the application process for claims for children yet, but details will be available on the website soon. Please check back regularly for information.


Who is eligible?

People who live in the Cheltenham borough area and have received notification from NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate or parents responsible for the care of a child under 15 who has been told by an education establishment to self-isolate may be entitled to a £500 support payment if they meet all of the following requirements:

If you are making a claim based on your own self-isolation period

  • You comply with the NHS Test and Trace notification to self-isolate
  • You are employed or self-employed
  • You are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result
  • You are in receipt of one of the following benefits:
    • Universal Credit
    • Working Tax Credit
    • Income-based Employment and Support Allowance
    • Income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance
    • Income Support
    • Housing Benefit
    • Pension Credit

You must meet all of the above criteria to be eligible for a payment.

If you are not receiving one of these benefits but are on a low income and self-isolation will cause you hardship you may still be entitled under a special discretionary scheme.

If you are a parent or guardian making a claim based on your child or young person’s self-isolation period

  • You 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 isolate. This is limited to ONE parent or guardian per household for the child or young person’s isolation period
  • You are employed or self-employed
  • You are unable to work from home while carrying out caring responsibilities and will lose income as a result
  • Your child or young person is 15 years old or under, (25 or under with an Education, health and care plan EHC) and normally attends an education or childcare setting
  • Your child or young person MUST have 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 COVID- 19
  • You must meet all the other means-tested eligibility criteria for a Test and Trace Support Payment or locally determined criteria for a discretionary payment
  • You are in receipt of one of the following benefits:
    • Universal Credit
    • Working Tax Credit
    • Income-based Employment and Support Allowance
    • Income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance
    • Income Support
    • Housing Benefit
    • Pension Credit

You must meet all of the above criteria to be eligible for a payment.

If you are not receiving one of these benefits but are on a low income and your child’s or young person’s self-isolation will cause you hardship you may still be entitled under a special discretionary scheme.

Can I make a backdated claim for my child?

To make a backdated claim your child or young person must have been told to self-isolate on or after 8 March 2021. Applications can be backdated to this point and the parent or guardian will be eligible for the payment if they meet all of the other eligible criteria (for the main and discretionary scheme).

For an application with an effective date of 8 March, you will need to apply by 19 April for this to be valid.

Parents and guardians who are not legally required to self-isolate can make one application per household for the child or young person’s self-isolation period.

Claims by parents and guardians can be made up to 42 days after the child or young person’s first day of self-isolation.

What if I have more than one child self-isolating?

A parent or guardian can claim more than once, provided their child or young person’s self-isolation periods do not overlap. This applies irrespective of whether the parent or guardian is claiming twice for the same child, or for two different children.

How will payment be made?

The payment will be made direct in to your bank account.

What if I my bank account is overdrawn?

Banks are not allowed to use any benefit to repay an overdraft. More information is available in this guidance document.

Will the payment be taxed?

This payment will be for £500 and is subject to tax.

However, you will not be taxed at the point of payment and will be contacted by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) at a later date.

Who is not eligible?

You will not be eligible for this scheme if you:

  • are quarantining after travelling abroad (unless you test positive during the 14-day quarantine period)
  • continue to receive full wages while you self-isolate
  • can work from home during a period of self-isolation
  • are no longer required to self-isolate, that is to say if your period of self-isolation ended before the scheme was launched on 28 September 2020
  • have not received a notification from NHS Test and Trace telling you to self-isolate

When will this come into force?

The scheme comes in to force from 12 October 2020 and ends on 30 June 2021.

When do I need to apply?

You must submit your application within 28 days of the last day of your isolation period.

Before you start

You will need the following information to complete your application:

  • Your 8-digit NHS Test and Trace reference
  • A copy of the NHS Test and Trace notification you received. This can be a photo of the letter or email, but it must clearly show the date you received the notification and the Test and Trace ID
  • A copy of your latest bank statement (issued in the last two months). This can be a photo but must clearly show proof of earnings
  • Proof of self-employment such as a recent business bank statement (issued in the last two months), most recent set of accounts or evidence of self-assessment returns
  • To consent for us to access your records in the NHS Test and Trace system to confirm your eligibility. Read the NHS Test and Trace privacy notice
  • To consent to us verifying your loss of income, this may be by contacting your employer
  • Your National Insurance number

If you are applying for a child or young person, in addition to the above information (excluding your own NHS Test and Trace Account ID number) you will also need to supply:

  • the child’s eight-digit NHS Test and Trace ID number. This is for parents and guardians of children or young people who have received a notification directly from NHS Test and Trace telling them to self-isolate

Or

  • a communication from the child or young person’s education or childcare setting confirming that they have to self-isolate. This is for parents and guardians of children or young people who have been told to self-isolate by their education or childcare setting because they have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive

Or

  • a screenshot of a young person’s NHS COVID-19 App notification telling them to self-isolate AND evidence that the young person has an Education, Health and Care Plan. This is for parents or guardians of young people aged 16-25 who have additional support needs and who have been notified to self-isolate by the NHS COVID-19 app

Read the full scheme conditions.

For more information about how we use your data, view the test and trace self-isolation payment privacy notice.

General information about the scheme is available on the GOV.UK website.

How to apply

Complete the online application form.

We haven't launched the application process for claims for children yet, but details will be available on the website soon. Please check here regularly for updates.

Please ensure that before you start the application process you have read the guidance above and you have the supporting documents available to upload. 

Contact the team on 01242 264341 if you are unable to submit the application online.

Test and trace support payment application form

What happens next?

The government is supporting local councils to make the necessary checks to ensure payments can be verified and have been made correctly.

We will review your application and carry out the necessary checks with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), for verification purposes, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), for tax purposes, and NHS Test and Trace to confirm your self-isolation status.

If we are able to verify your entitlement we will contact you to confirm when you will receive your payment.

We aim to process your application and make a decision within 3 working days. We will notify you by email of the outcome of your application by email and if awarded a payment, this should reach your bank account within 2 working days of our email.


What if I need other support due to COVID-19?