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Financial support available for those on benefits who are told to self-isolate

Anyone who has been told to isolate by NHS Test and Trace, or who is a parent or guardian of a child who has been told to self-isolate, and who meets the relevant eligibility criteria, can submit a claim for the Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme (TTSP) for an additional £500 in financial support.

From 16 August 2021, anyone who is fully vaccinated and identified as a contact will no longer have to self-isolate, so won’t qualify for a test and trace payment. Those who test positive for covid will still have to isolate and can still claim if they meet the criteria.

To claim this support you must submit your application within 42 days after your first day of self-isolation.

The scheme will last until 31 March 2022. 

For further details please see our Self-isolation payment privacy notice.

To qualify for this support:

  • You must be employed or self-employed;
  • You must be unable to work from home;
  • You will lose income as a result as a result of being self-isolated;
  • and, you must 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.

Those applicants who are not in receipt of the listed benefits can still receive a grant if:-

  • a single applicant has a gross income less than £21,500 per annum
  • a couple or single parent has a gross income less than £32,250 per annum

If you are a parent or guardian living with a child who has been told to self-isolate by their school, child care provider, or by NHS Test and Trace, then you may be entitled to financial support.

From 8 March 2021, any parent or guardian who has had to take time off work to supervise a child aged 15 or under (25 or under if that child has an Education Health and Care Plan) can apply for a £500 grant. This applies for a child who has to self-isolate from 8 March 2021.

From 16 August 2021, a child who is identified as a contact will still be able to go into school etc, so the parent/guardian will not have to take time off work to look after them. Children who test positive for covid will still have to self-isolate.

To be eligible:

  • you must be the parent or guardian of the child / young person and their main residence is yours
  • you must need to take time off work to care for them while they self-isolate
  • be employed or self-employed
  • not work from home whilst undertaking caring responsibilities for them and will lose income as a result
  • you must currently receive at least one of the following benefits: Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit].
  • Your child has been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or by their education or childcare provider* because they have tested positive for Covid-19 or have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.

If you who do not meet the benefit criteria, but you do meet all the other criteria, you can apply to our discretionary scheme for those on low income . You may also qualify if your household income is below £32,250 per annum gross.

*this must be a recognised school or registered childminder, not including informal childcare arrangements such as family, friends or neighbours. 

Only one parent or guardian can make an application for a child told to self-isolate.

The following are not eligible for this support:

  • If you are self-isolating under ‘quarantine rules’ after returning to the UK from abroad – unless you have tested positive for coronavirus or you have been instructed to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace;
  • If you are on furlough.

Updates to self-isolation exemptions Omicron variant

From 30 November 2021, all close contacts of a suspected or confirmed case of the Omicron variant will be required to self-isolate, regardless of any exemptions from self-isolation, such as their age or vaccination status.

This means the following groups may be eligible for TTSP if they meet the criteria:

  • people who are fully vaccinated who are identified as a suspected or confirmed contact of someone with the Omicron variant
  • people taking part in workplace daily contact testing schemes who are identified as a suspected or confirmed contact of someone with the Omicron variant
  • a parent or guardian of a child who is a contact of someone suspected or confirmed to have the Omicron variant.

Contacts of people who are suspected or confirmed to have the Omicron variant will be told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace. These contacts will receive written confirmation of the requirement to do so (either by email or text message), which they should provide as evidence when applying.

Updates to test and trace scheme from January 2022

From 11 January in England, people who receive positive lateral flow results for COVID-19 will be required to self-isolate immediately and won’t be required to take a confirmatory PCR test. This is a temporary measure while COVID-19 rates remain high across the UK. With COVID-19 rates so high, Government is very confident that someone with a positive LFD result has COVID-19 and can act on that test result without needing a PCR test too.

Please note: individuals who self-report a positive LFD test and wish to claim for TTSP will need to take a confirmatory PCR test – the position remains the same. Only those who take this PCR test will be pulled through onto the eligibility checker and be eligible for TTSP.

Unvaccinated adult contacts will be able to claim TTSP after being traced from a positive self-reported LFD test. This could lead to individuals self-reporting a positive LFD result fraudulently (knowing that their PCR test will be negative) and naming unvaccinated adult contacts. If multiple claims are received, for example from the same household, and the council is confident that the applicants are abusing the scheme, it will reject these claims.

Change to Self-isolation Rules

Please note: this does not affect who is eligible for TTSP, or the amount paid to successful applicants.

From Wednesday, 22 December 2021, people who test positive for COVID-19 can self-isolate for seven days instead of ten days if they receive negative LFD tests on day 6 and day 7 of their self-isolation period (with tests taken at least 24 hours apart). This applies to vaccinated and unvaccinated people who test positive for COVID-19.

The first test must be taken no earlier than day 6 of the self-isolation period. If the LFD test on day 6 is positive, but the two subsequent consecutive daily LFD tests – taken at least 24 hours apart – are negative, a person can leave self-isolation on the day of their second negative LFD test. For example, negative tests on day 7 and day 8 will enable the person to leave self-isolation on day 8.

As applicants will have to isolate for a minimum of seven days and may incur loss of income, they will remain eligible for TTSP. As individuals may need to self-isolate for longer than seven days, and up to ten days, the amount will remain fixed at £500.

There is no change to the guidance for unvaccinated contacts of positive COVID-19 cases who are still required to self-isolate for ten full days after the date of exposure to the virus.

Adult Social Care Infection Control Fund

Applications for the TTSP made by staff working in the care sector should be rejected. Instead, the individual should be directed to the Adult Social Care Infection Control Fund (ICF), which their employer will have access to. In exceptional circumstances, e.g., the care home has used their ICF funding, the care home worker may be considered for TTSP.

All staff working or volunteering in a care home will need to demonstrate that they are fully vaccinated, unless they are exempt. This means that staff who are not fully vaccinated who either test positive for COVID-19 or are identified as a contact will not qualify for TTSP, as they will not be facing a loss of income.

Healthcare workers who have been identified as contacts and are fully vaccinated but have been refused entry into their workplace because a member of their household has tested positive, do not qualify for TTSP.

More details about making a claim

People in the same household can make an individual application if they meet qualifying criteria.

You can claim more than once, if you are told to self-isolate multiple times.

Applicants can claim on behalf of someone else (e.g. a son on behalf of a parent) but the payment will only be made into the bank account in the name for whom the application was made (e.g. in the parent’s name).

You will be notified when your application has been assessed. If successful you should expect to receive the money within three working days of it being approved.

Please note, any applications received after 20 December 2021 may not be dealt with before 4 January 2022.

If you are unable to complete this form online, or need help completing it, then please call 0800 464 3623

Can my bank take this payment to pay my overdraft?

No, banks are not allowed to use this or any other benefit to repay an overdraft.

You can protect your payments by telling your bank it should only be used to pay your rent, or other bill such as electricity or water rates. 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 will need to tell your bank how to use these payments.