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Test and trace support payment | Sandwell Council

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Test and trace support payment

Due to the high volume of applications we are receiving, it may take up to 15 working days for a decision to be emailed through to you. Please do not chase your payment until at least fifteen days following the submission of your application.

Read about the Government's financial package to support and enforce self-isolation

In some circumstances, if you are required by law to self-isolate, you may be supported by a payment of £500, payable through Sandwell Council. 

Main scheme

Who can get the Test & Trace Support Payment?

The Department of Health and Social Care have confirmed that from 16 August 2021 people who are fully vaccinated and who are identified as a contact will no longer be required to self isolate. This will mean that fully vaccinated contacts will be ineligible to claim a Test and Trace Support Payment (TTSP) unless they have tested positive for COVID.

Also from this date, anyone under 18 who is a contact will also be exempt from self isolation. This will mean most parents and guardians will be ineligible to claim a TTSP if their child has been identified as a contact (as the child will no longer be required to self isolate).  Any child that does test positive for COVID will still be required to self isolate and therefore their parents or guardians will still be eligible to claim a TTSP.

To get the Test & Trace Support Payment, you must:

  • have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test & Trace either because you’ve tested positive for coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, and who are not fully vaccinated. (Please note that you must complete the NHS registration process or your details will not appear on the NHS system and we will be unable to award your payment)
  • have responded to the message from NHS Test and Trace and provided any legally required information, such as details of your close contacts.
  • be employed or self-employed
  • be unable to work from home and will lose income as a result of self isolating
  • be currently receiving Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-based Employment & Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit.

Parents/Guardians

A parent or guardian of a young person who is required to self-isolate may be eligible for a main scheme payment if they meet the following criteria (even if they are fully vaccinated):

• 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.

• 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 above)

• The child or young person:

  • has tested positive for COVID
  • 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.
  • has been identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19 (by NHS Test and Trace, their education or care setting or the NHS COVID-19 app), is aged 18-25, is not fully vaccinated and has an EHC Plan

Discretionary Scheme

Please note that if you are not receiving any of the above benefits you may still be eligible for a discretionary Test and Trace Support payment from Sandwell Council if you are on a low income and are experiencing financial hardship as a result of being asked to self-isolate.  

To qualify for this Discretionary payment you must :

  • Have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test & Trace on or after 28 September 2020 either because they have tested positive for coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, and are not fully vaccinated
  • have responded to a message from NHS Test and Trace and have provided any legally required information, such as details of your close contacts
  • be employed or self-employed
  • be unable to work from home and will lose income as a result
  • be on a low income (Earn less than £26,000 per year (£500 per week)
  • be suffering financial hardship
  • not currently be receiving Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, Income Support, Housimg Benefit or Pension Credit

Discretionary Scheme parent or guardian

A parent or guardian of a young person who is required to self-isolate may be eligible for a Discretionary Scheme payment if they meet the following criteria (even if they are fully vaccinated):

  • They are the parent or guardian of a young person in the same household who is self-isolating and need to take time off work to care for them
  • They are unable to work from home and will lose income
  • The young person has:
    • Tested positive for COVID and is aged 15 or under, or aged 25 or under with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan
    • Been identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19 (by NHS Test and Trace, their education or care setting or the NHS COVID-19 app), is aged 18-25, is not fully vaccinated and has an EHC Plan
  • The young person normally attends an education or care setting; and
  • The parent or guardian meets all the other criteria for a ‘main’ payment.

Please note: If your payment is approved, it may take up to five days for the bank transfer to take place.

Time limit to submit your Test and Trace support payment application

You must submit your application within 42 days of the first day of your isolation

Why are most parents and guardians no longer eligible?

As of 16 August 2021, people under 18 are no longer required to self-isolate if identified as a contact by NHS Test and Trace. This means that their parent/guardian will no longer need to care for them while they self-isolate, as they can continue to leave home to attend school, college etc.

Some people aged 18-25 with EHC Plan (EHC) will still be required to self-isolate if they are not fully vaccinated. Their parents/guardians may retain eligibility for TTSP if they still need to take time off work to care for them while they self-isolate.

How do we define an 'education or care setting' for applications from parents/guardians

An education or childcare setting is somewhere that is registered with the local authority where the child would spend most of the weekday during term-time. Schools, nurseries and care settings for 16-25 year-olds with additional support needs are included.

Things that are not covered include unregistered childcare providers, informal childcare arrangements, home-schooling and after-school/weekend/holiday activities (e.g. Scouts/Guides, sports clubs, summer camps). This is not an exhaustive list.

How much is the payment?

You may be supported by a lump sum payment of £500.

Will this payment be taxed?

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

How long will this be in place for?

The scheme will run until 30 September 2021.

When will this come into force?

These changes came into effect on 28 September 2020, alongside the legal duty to self-isolate. Individuals who are eligible prior to that date will be able to make a backdated claim.

Advice and guidance on how to fill the Test and Trace Support form in is available on Youtube. 

Practical help and support

Get emergency help if you are having to self-isolate.

Please make sure that the bank details that you enter as part of the application are correct, otherwise your claim will be rejected and you will need to re-apply. 

Apply for a Test and Trace Support payment