Self-Isolation Payments Scheme

General

Eligible individuals are entitled to apply for a Test and Trace Support Payment (main award) or discretionary support payment of £500. This is to support people on low incomes who are unable to work from home if they are told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace and will lose income as a result.

As of 16 August 2021, fully vaccinated adults are no longer required to self-isolate if identified as a contact by NHS Test and Trace. This means they will no longer be eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme. However, from 30 November 2021, all close contacts of a suspected or confirmed case of the Omicron variant will be required to self-isolate, regardless of any exemptions from self-isolation, such as age or vaccination status.

Fully vaccinated adults who test positive are still required to self-isolate. They are still eligible for this scheme.

From 8 March 2021, the scheme was expanded so 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. 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 an Education Health Care Plan (EHC) will still be required to self-isolate if they are not fully vaccinated. Their parents/guardians may retain eligibility for the scheme if they still need to take time off work to care for them while they self-isolate.

These payments are designed to help ensure people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and their close contacts self-isolate for the required period to stop the onward spread of the virus. They are also designed to encourage individuals who are eligible for this payment to get tested if they have symptoms. This is important to help stop the transmission of COVID-19 and avoid further economic and societal restrictions.

The scheme will end on 31 March 2022.

Further guidance on this scheme can be found by visiting Gov.uk (opens in a new window)

Eligibility for the Main award

Eligibility for a £500 Self-Isolation Payment is restricted to individuals who live in England and:

  • have been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app, because they have tested positive for COVID-19; or
  • have been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app, either because they have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive, and are not exempt from self-isolation; and
  • have responded to message from NHS Test and Trace and have provided any legally required information, such as details of their close contacts;
  • are employed or self-employed; 
  • are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result;
  • 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.

A parent or guardian of a young person who is required to self-isolate may be eligible for a ‘main’ payment if they live in England and 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 is:
      • aged 15 or under and been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace because they have tested positive for COVID-19; or
      • aged 25 or under with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan and been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace because they have tested positive for COVID-19; or
      • aged 25 or under, is not exempt from self-isolation from 16 August, has an EHC Plan and has been notified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19 (by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app); or
      • self-isolating because there was an outbreak at their education or childcare setting, and they have been sent home by their local public health team;
  • the young person normally attends an education or care setting; 
  • the parent or guardian meets all the criteria for the 'main' payment.

Eligibility for a Discretionary payment

The purpose of this discretionary scheme is to facilitate awards to those residents who do not meet the criteria for the main award because they are not currently receiving one of the qualifying benefits, and are on a low income and will face financial hardship as a result of not being able to work whilst they are self-isolating.

Eligibility for a £500 discretionary payment is restricted to individuals who live in England and:

  • have been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app because they have tested positive for COVID-19; or
  • have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace because they have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive, and are not exempt from self-isolation; and
  • have responded to message from NHS Test and Trace and have provided any legally required information, such as details of their close contacts;
  • are employed or self-employed; 
  • are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result.

 In addition, the discretionary payment is for people who:

  • Are not 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; and
  • Are on low incomes and will face financial hardship* as a result of not being able to work while they are self-isolating (low incomes are average gross weekly pay of less than £400 per week but more than £85 per week).

 To be eligible for the Discretionary Support Payment, applicants must also meet at LEAST ONE of the criteria below:

  • Have claimed one of the qualifying benefits (as listed above) but not yet had a decision. The claim must have been made before the start of the self-isolation period.
  • Are in receipt of Local Council Tax Support or Child Tax Credit.
  • Were in receipt of Local Council Tax Support, Child Tax Credit or one of the qualifying benefits (listed above) in the last two months
  • Have savings less than £3000

*There is no single definition of financial hardship; for the purpose of this policy consideration will be given to people who are responsible for and unable to meet their liability to pay for essential household expenditure. Essential household expenditure is that which prevents homelessness and enables basic living standards to be maintained. This includes but not limited to:

  • Mortgage, rent and service charges
  • Gas, Electricity, Oil and Water services
  • Phone, Broadband and TV licence; not digital TV services
  • Council Tax
  • Buildings and property insurance

Assessment Process

All applications will be assessed on a case by case basis.  The application form sets out particulars of the evidence that need to be included with the application for the payment. You must apply within 42 days of your isolation start date to be considered for this scheme. There will be no right of appeal against a decision not to award a payment. Applications for the payment can be made by logging in or registering for a My Erewash account (opens in a new window).   PLEASE NOTE:  We are currrently experiencing high volumes of applications and these may take longer than normal to process.  To help us, please ensure all evidence is uploaded to your claim to prevent any further delays.

Funding and demand

The Department of Health and Social Care has provided the Council with fixed funding to support residents under the discretionary element of the scheme. Payments will be made within 3 days of notifying you of a successful application. 

The drawdown of the funding amount will be kept under constant review and no further payments will be made once the allocation is exhausted unless further funding is provided.

For both the Test and Trace Support Payment and discretionary payments, eligible individuals will receive their £500 payment on top of any benefits and Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) that they currently receive.

Any monies paid can be recovered if post-payment checks indicate a false application has been made.  Such as if you were found to have worked and or received earnings for the self-isolation period.