Discretionary test and trace support payment
The discretionary test and trace payment scheme is available for Cheltenham residents who have received notification from NHS test and trace or a child’s education establishment to self-isolate but are not in receipt of any of the qualifying benefits, are on a low income and will face financial hardship as a result of not being able to work while they or their child are self-isolating.
Changes to self-isolation rules from 11 January 2022
From 11 January in England, people who receive positive lateral flow device (LFD) test results for coronavirus (COVID-19) will be required to self-isolate immediately and won’t be required to take a confirmatory PCR test.
These changes do not apply to people applying for the test and trace support payment scheme. To apply for this you must have a positive PCR test
Who is eligible?
- People who live in the Cheltenham borough area and have received notification from NHS test and trace to self-isolate following a positive PCR test, or
- parents responsible for the care of a child under 15 who has been told by NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate following a positive PCR test
- Check the rules on who is required to self-isolate
You will need an NHS Test and Trace Account ID
To apply for the NHS Test and Trace Support Payment, you need to register with NHS Test and Trace by following a link in the app to obtain an NHS Test and Trace Account ID. This is an 8-digit code also known as a ITS number. You must do this while you’re in your self-isolation period. You cannot request your NHS Test and Trace Account ID after you’ve finished self-isolating.
You must make your claim within 42 days of the first day of your self-isolation period provided you obtain your NHS Test and Trace Account ID during your isolation period.
If you are an adult self-isolating and meet all of the following requirements:
- You’ve been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app, either because you’ve tested positive for COVID-19 or, in some cases, have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive
- You are employed or self-employed
- You are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result
- are on a low income and will face financial hardship as a result of not being able to work while they are self-isolating
If you are a parent or guardian of a child or young person who’s been told to self-isolate and you meet the following requirements
- You are the parent or guardian of a child or young person in the same household. This is limited to ONE parent or guardian per household for the child or young person’s isolation period and
- the child or young person has been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace because they have tested positive for COVID-19 and 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, or
- the child or young person is aged 18- 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC), is not fully vaccinated 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 COVID-19
Parents and guardians must also meet the following criteria:
- Be employed or self-employed
- Be unable to work from home
- You need to take time off work to care for them while they isolate and will lose income as a result
- Be unable to work from home while undertaking caring responsibilities and will lose income as a result
You must also meet the council’s additional criteria for discretionary payments:
- your weekly gross income is less than £575 (this is before tax, National Insurance, Pension or any other deductions;
- you are suffering financial hardship which means you are having difficulty paying essential bills such as rent, mortgage, heating and food.
- university students and those in higher education are excluded from this scheme
- An application may be considered in cases where income and/or capital exceeds the limits set above and financial hardship is due to exceptional circumstances
- People who have no recourse to public funds will be eligible for this scheme subject to all other eligibility (listed above) being met
- You must provide any additional information requested
Payment will only be made under this scheme whilst the council has funding available.
The council reserves the right to change the eligibility criteria during the life of the scheme.
When will this come into force?
The scheme comes in to force from 12 October 2020 and is due to end on 31 March 2022.
When do I need to apply?
You must submit your application within 42 days of the first day of your isolation period but you must obtain your NHS Test and Trace Account ID during your isolation period.
Before you start
The changes from 11 January do not apply if you wish to apply for this payment. You must have a positive PCR test to proceed.
You will need the following information to complete your application:
- Your 8-digit NHS Test and Trace account ID – Check you have followed the process to obtain the correct account ID link to section above You will need an NHS Test and Trace Account ID
- 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 account 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.
- 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.
- 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 discretionary scheme conditions.
For more information about how we use your data, view the test and trace self-isolation payment privacy notice.
How to apply
Complete the online application form.
Before you start the application process, please ensure that 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.
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?
- Visit our community support page and Gloucestershire County Council's community help hub to see what further help is available while you are self-isolating
- You may also be able to get help from Cheltenham Foodbank
- Government has made information on coronavirus support available
- Find out more about benefits you may be entitled to and how to get advice
- Check if you might be eligible for statutory sick pay (SSP)