The £500 Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme will now extend to parents who are unable to work due to caring for a child who is self isolating.
The move comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his roadmap to ease lockdown restrictions on Monday (22 Feb).
‘Funding for parents’
While Johnson did not address the payments in his roadmap announcement, they do appear in the official Covid-19 Spring Response 2021 documents.
It states: “The Government will also expand support for those self isolating.
“While self isolation is critically important to halting the spread of the disease, it is never easy for those affected.
“The Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme will continue into the summer, and will be expanded to cover parents who are unable to work because they are caring for a child who is self isolating, and the funding made available for local authorities as part of this to make discretionary support payments will be increased to £20 million per month.
“There will be more funding too to help local authorities ensure people self isolating have access to practical support, such as food delivered or help with their caring responsibilities, and support for wellbeing.”
Who is eligible for the payment?
To be eligible to claim the Test and Trace Support Payment, you must meet the following criteria:
- 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 have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive
- You’ve responded to messages from NHS Test and Trace and have provided any legally required information
- You’re employed or self employed
- You’re unable to work from home and will lose income as a result of self isolating
- You’re currently receiving or are the partner of someone in the same household who is receiving 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, Pension Credit
If you’re not on one of the previously mentioned benefits, you could still be eligible for a £500 discretionary payment if all the following apply:
- You meet all the other criteria
- You’re on low income
- You will face financial hardship as a result of self isolating
If you’re eligible for either the Test and Trace Support Payment or a discretionary payment, you will receive the £500 payment in addition to any benefits and Statutory Sick Pay you receive currently.
How to apply
The Test and Trace Support Payment scheme is administered by unitary authorities and district councils.
If you think you meet the eligibility criteria for either the Test and Trace Support Payment, or the discretionary payment, you’ll be able to apply via your local council.
You can claim up to 28 days after the first day of your self isolation period.
For your application, you’ll need the following:
- An NHS Test and Trace Account ID, sometimes also referred to as a CTAS number. If you tested positive for Covid-19, or are told to self isolate by contact tracers, you will be provided with an NHS Test and Trace Account ID
- Proof that you receive one of the qualifying benefits
- A bank statement
- Proof of employment, or, if you’re self employed, evidence of self assessment returns, trading income and proof that your business delivers services that cannot be undertaken without social contact
If you have been told to self isolate because you’ve been in close contact with someone else who tested positive for Covid-19, then you will need to follow a few additional steps in order to obtain your NHS Test and Trace Account ID.
To do this, you’ll need to register with NHS Test and Trace by following a link in the app - you need to 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’ll need to apply via your local councils website - you might also be informed that you need to provide extra evidence to apply.
If you don’t know who your local council is, you can search your postcode on the Government website, and you’ll be directed to the right council.