Test and Trace Support payment

If you have received a notification to self-isolate from NHS Test and Trace or from the Cheshire East Contact Tracing Team on or after 28 September 2020 you may be eligible for a Test and Trace Support payment of £500.

Or

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 from the 8th March 2021 you may be eligible for a Test and Trace Support payment of £500.

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 received an NHS Test and Trace notification or have been contacted by the Cheshire East Contact Tracing Team on or after Monday 28 September 2020 either because I have tested positive for coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive. 
  • I have responded to messages received from NHS Test and Trace or the Cheshire East Contact Tracing Team (which will have been received via a combination of email, text, letter or phone call) in which I have provided my contact details and where I have tested positive the details of my contacts.
  • 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 8 March 2021, you could apply up to and including the 19 April 2021 but if you applied on the 20 April 2021 you would be out of time and refused.
  • I am currently employed or self-employed.
  • I am unable to work from home.
  • I will lose income during the period that I am required to self-isolate.
  • I am currently in receipt of one of the following; Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, Income-based Employment and Support Allowance, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit.

If a child or young person is required to self-isolate and you meet all of the following eligibility criteria, you can apply for this payment:

  • I am the parent or guardian of a child or young person in the same household and I need to take time off work to care for them while they self-isolate.
  • 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 cannot work from home while caring for the child or young person while they self-isolate and I will lose income as a result.
  • The child or young person;
    • 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 told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, or by the Cheshire East Contact Tracing Team, or by their education or care setting from 8th March 2021 because they have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • I am making an application on or after the 8th March 2021 but within 42 days after the child or young person's first day of self-isolation.
  • I am currently receiving at least one of the following benefits: Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Job Seekers Allowance, Income Support, Housing benefit and/or Pension Credit.

If you meet all of the above criteria (whether you are applying for yourself or you are applying because the child or young person is self-isolating) but 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 Scheme, if you can demonstrate that all of the following additional criteria apply to you:

  • I am on a low income. We will need to review your income and include your partner’s income (if you have one) for the 10 days of your isolation period.
  • I will face financial hardship as a result of not being able to work 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 income because you are self-isolating or while caring for the child or young person while 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 / images 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:

  • The notification from NHS Test and Trace asking you or the child or young person to self-isolate. This will include the date notified and a Unique 8 digit ID number known as a CTAS reference number. This must have been sent to you on or after Monday 28 September 2020 when the scheme launched or on or after 8 March 2021 when the scheme was extended to include a child or young person. 
  • Or, the notification from the Cheshire East Contact Tracing Team asking you or the child /young person to self-isolate. The Contact Tracing Team will provide a unique reference number.
  • 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

  • If you are employed - proof of your employment, for example your most recent pay slip.
  • If you are self-employed, evidence of your self-assessment returns, trading income and proof that your business delivers services which cannot be undertaken without social contact.

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 wages 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 by the 42nd day after the first day of your or the child or young person's period of self-isolation. Example: First day for self-isolation is 8 March 2021 you could apply up to and including the 19 April 2021 but if you applied on the 20 April 2021 you would be out of time and refused.

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 will 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.

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 Jun 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 from the 8th March 2021 you may be eligible for a Test and Trace Support payment of £500.