Test and Trace Support Payment scheme

The Test and Trace Support Payment scheme has supported people on low income who are unable to work from home and will lose earnings if they are required to self-isolate because of COVID-19.

Eligible individuals receive a £500 payment. This is to help ensure people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and their close contacts self-isolate for the required period, and to encourage individuals who have symptoms to get tested. This is important to help stop the transmission of COVID-19 and avoid further economic and social restrictions.

The scheme ends on 30 September 2021.

Eligibility

You can apply for this payment if you are self-isolating and can demonstrate that all of the following criteria apply to you:

  • I have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, or the NHS COVID-19 app, or Cheshire East Contact Tracing Team, (which will have been received via a combination of email, text, letter or phone call) because I have tested positive for COVID-19; 

     or

  • I have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, or the NHS COVID-19 app, or Cheshire East Contact Tracing Team, (which will have been received via a combination of email, text, letter or phone call) because I have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive and I am not fully vaccinated;

     and

  • I have responded to the message from NHS Test and Trace and have provided any legally required information, such as details of my close contacts;
  • I am currently employed or self-employed;
  • I am unable to work from home;
  • I will lose earnings during the period that I am required to self-isolate;
  • I am currently in receipt of, or my partner who lives with me, is in receipt of, at least one of the following;
    • Universal Credit
    • Working Tax Credit
    • Income-based Employment and Support Allowance
    • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
    • Income Support
    • Housing Benefit
    • Pension Credit
  • I am applying within 42 days after the first day of my self-isolation period. Example: the first day of your self-isolation period is 1 September 2021, the last day on which you could make a claim would be 13 October 2021.

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

  • The child or young person;
    • has tested positive for COVID19 and is aged 15 or under, or aged 25 or under with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC);     

           or

    • has been identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19 (by NHS Test and Trace, or by the Cheshire East Contact Tracing Team, or by the NHS COVID-19 app or by their education or care setting), is aged 18-25, is not fully vaccinated and has an EHC Plan;

           and

  • The child or young person normally attends an education or care setting;
  • I need to take time off work to care for them;
  • I live in the Cheshire East area. If the child or young person attends a school or childcare setting in Cheshire East but you don't live in Cheshire East you must apply to the Council where you live; 
  • I am employed or self-employed;
  • I am unable to work from home while caring for the child or young person while they self-isolate and I will lose earnings as a result.
  • I am currently in receipt of, or my partner who lives with me, is in receipt of, at least one of the following;
    • Universal Credit
    • Working Tax Credit
    • Income-based Employment and Support Allowance
    • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
    • Income Support
    • Housing Benefit
    • Pension Credit
  • I am making an application within 42 days after the child or young person's first day of self-isolation.

Test and Trace Support payment - Discretionary Scheme

If you meet all of the above criteria but you, or your partner who lives with you, are not in receipt of one of these benefits you may still be eligible for the payment under the Cheshire East Discretionary Test and Trace Support Payment scheme.

You must demonstrate that the following additional criteria apply to you:

  • I will face financial hardship as a result of not being able to work from home whilst I am self-isolating or because the child or young person is self-isolating.

Before you start your application

We will ask you about your employment or self-employment so we can check that you cannot work from home and that you will lose earnings because you are self-isolating or while caring for the child or young person whilst they self-isolate.

At the end of the application form, you will be asked to upload documentary evidence to support your application. You can upload PDF and Microsoft Word documents and photographs of documents.

You should read our test and trace support payment privacy notice to understand how we use your data.

Required evidence

This is the evidence you will need to have ready. We cannot consider your application without all of this:

  • Evidence that you or the child or young person are required to self-isolate – provide the 8 digit ID number known as a CTAS reference number.

      or

  • the notification from the Cheshire East Contact Tracing Team asking you or the child or young person to self-isolate. The Contact Tracing Team will provide a unique reference number.

       or 

  • a screen shot of a young person’s NHS COVID19 App notification telling them to self-isolate. This is only for parents or guardians of young people 18-25 who have an EHC Plan and not fully vaccinated.

      and

  • Your most recent bank statement. This must be for the person self-isolating, or for the parent /guardian of the child/young person who is self-isolating, showing their name, account and sort code. 

To validate your bank account details, we need to share relevant information you've given us with TransUnion. This will be used to ensure your Test and Trace Support Payment is paid to the correct bank account and to help prevent fraudulent use of the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme. This is not a credit check and won't impact your credit rating.   

More information on how TransUnion may use your data.

Who is not eligible?

You will not be eligible for the scheme if you:

  • are quarantining after travelling abroad (unless you test positive during the 10-day quarantine period).
  • continue to receive full pay while you self-isolate.
  • can work from home during a period of self-isolation.
  • are no longer required to self-isolate i.e. your period of self-isolation ended before the Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme launched on 28 September 2020.
  • have not received a notification from NHS Test and Trace, or the Cheshire East Contact Tracing Team or the school/care setting telling you or a child/young person to self-isolate.
  • have not applied within 42 days after the first day of your or the child or young person's period of self-isolation. Example: the first day of your self-isolation period is 1 September 2021, the last day on which you could make a claim would be 13 October 2021

Apply for the Test and Trace support payment

Apply as a parent or guardian

If you are unable to complete the online application yourself, you can call 0300 123 5035 for assistance.

What happens after you submit an application

If you or the child or young person are eligible, we aim to make a payment into your bank account within 3 working days of receiving the completed application and evidence.

If you didn't submit evidence as part of the application, you can send it to us separately using the test and trace payment evidence upload form:

Test and trace payment evidence upload form

Questions about the scheme

The Government has set up the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme to help residents whose earnings are affected by staying at home and isolating for 10 days. Eligible residents can apply to their Local Authority for a one off Test and Trace Support Payment of £500.

People who live in the same household can each make an individual application to receive a support payment if they each meet the eligibility criteria.

You can claim more than once if you are told to self-isolate multiple times. This is as long as you meet the eligibility criteria for each individual claim and your periods of self-isolation do not overlap.

You can help someone else fill out an application, or fill out an application on their behalf. However, you cannot receive payments on behalf of someone else. Payments will only be made to the person (or to the parent or guardian of a child or young person) who has been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, or by the Cheshire East Contact Tracing Team, or by the school or care setting or because the young person  has been notified by the COVID-19 NHS App.

You can make an application up to 42 days after the first day of the period of self-isolation started if you or the child or young person meet the eligibility criteria.

Yes, the support payment is taxable if you are a tax payer but it is not subject to National Insurance Contributions. HMRC will automatically collect tax from your pay through your tax code, or self-employed recipients should report the payment on their 2020/21 Self-assessment tax return. Tax will not be deducted from the support payment itself.  

You should contact your bank and ask to make a ‘first right of appropriation of funds order’ to prevent the payment being used to pay your overdraft.

If you have two part-time jobs and continue to be paid a full wage by one employer, but the other employer is not paying you whilst you are self-isolating then you can be eligible for a Test and Trace Support payment if you meet all the eligibility criteria.

The closing date for applications is 30 September 2021.

If you are a parent or guardian who is not legally required to self-isolate but need to take time off work to care for a child or young person who is self-isolating you may be eligible for a Test and Trace Support payment of £500.