Skip to main content

Test and Trace Support Payment

   

From 16 August 2021, people who have received both vaccinations and are identified as contacts are no longer required to self-isolate. This means that fully vaccinated contacts are not eligible for Test and Trace Support Payment from this date (unless they test positive, at which point they would become eligible).

Anyone under 18 who is a contact is also exempt from self-isolation. This means that most parents and guardians will not be eligible for Test and Trace Support Payment if their child is identified as a contact, as the child will no longer be required to self-isolate.

As children who have tested positive are still required to self-isolate, their parents and guardians will still be eligible, regardless of whether they are fully vaccinated (as they may need to stay at home and look after their child).

If a young person aged under 25 has been identified as a close contact and they have an Education, Health and Care plan, their parents or guardians may be eligible if they need to stay at home to look after them.

The Government is providing a support payment of £500 for people on a low income who are unable to work and will lose pay because they have been told to self-isolate. From 27 January 2021 the Council is providing an extra £200 to increase this payment for Bedford Borough residents to £700.

The Test and Trace Support Payment is designed to help people on low income who cannot work from home and will lose income if required to self isolate.

Eligible individuals can make a claim up to 42 days after their self-isolation start date.

Eligibility for the Test and Trace Support Payment

You are entitled to a Test and Trace Support Payment of £500 (£700 for applications received from 27 January 2021 onwards) if you:

  • have been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, either because you have tested positive for coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive

And

  • have responded to messages received from NHS Test and Trace (which will have been received via a combination of email, text, letter or phone call) in which they provided their contact details and where they have tested positive, the details of their contacts
  • are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result
  • you are employed or self-employed
  • are 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.

Discretionary Payment

You may be eligible for a £500 (£700 for applications received from 27 January 2021 onwards) discretionary payment if you meet all the eligibility above, but:

  • you do not receive Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit
  • are on a low income - (normally we will only consider you to be on a low income if your household* earns less than the equivalent of £25,000 per annum)

and

  • can evidence that a reduction in income due to self-isolating means you will be in financial hardship. Financial hardship is considered to be where there is an immediate and serious risk to the health and safety of the applicant or a dependent child that may be eased by financial support

*For the purpose of a discretionary Test and Trace Support Payment, a household is a single person or a couple who are married, civil partners or live together as partners.

Parents and guardians of a child/young person who is self-isolating

From 8 March 2021, parents or guardians who are not legally required to self-isolate can apply for a Test and Trace Support Payment or discretionary payment if they need to take time off work to care for a child or young person who is.

Applicants must meet all the criteria below:

  • 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 young person’s self-isolation period.
  • They are employed or self-employed.
  • They cannot work from home while undertaking caring responsibilities and will lose income as a result.
  • They meet all the other means-tested eligibility criteria for a Test and Trace Support Payment or locally determined criteria for a discretionary payment as mentioned above.
  • Their child or young person:
    • is aged 15 or under (or 25 or under with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) and normally attends an education or childcare setting.
    • 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.

Applying for the payment

Please apply for the payment using this online form:

Apply for Test and Trace Support Payment 

Contact us on 01234 718020 or email testandtracesupportpayments@bedford.gov.uk if you have any queries.

You will not be eligible for a Test and Trace Support Payment if:

  • you are self-isolating after returning to the UK from abroad, unless you have tested positive for coronavirus or have been instructed to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace.
  • you do not have a valid notification from NHS Test and Trace. The legal duty to self-isolate that comes into force on 28 September applies only to people who have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace.
  • you have not engaged with NHS Test and Trace and completed the end-to-end journey
  • you have not had a reduction in income due to being/were furloughed in your self-isolation period

Local Discretionary Payment - paid carers only

From 27 January 2021 you may be eligible for a £700 discretionary payment if you work as a paid carer and your employer does not receive Infection Control Funding.

This includes people who are employed, self-employed and work through an employment agency as temporary staff. People who care for someone but are not employed to do so, for example those who receive carer’s allowance, will not qualify for this payment.

People that are eligible include those working in home care, residential care and temporary care workers (including temporary NHS carer workers).

You do not need to be on a low income to qualify, but your income must be reduced due to you having to self-isolate.

Self-isolating if you have tested positive, or have been in close contact with someone that has tested positive, is important to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

The payment will be subject to income tax. It will not be subject to National Insurance contributions.

The scheme will run until 31 March 2021. 

Apply for Local Discretionary Payment - paid carers only

Receiving payment

If your bank account is overdrawn you are able to exercise your 'first right of appropriation'. This means you have the right to tell the bank how you want the £500 payment (£700 for applications received from 27 January 2021 onwards) to be used so that they don't automatically use it to clear your overdraft. The law provides that a customer needs a minimum amount of money to live on.

See Citizens Advice Bureau for further help to claim back any charges.

Further help if you are self isolating

Help is available if you need help with food shopping and prescriptions.

Or see our main COVID-19 information webpage