From Monday, 28 September 2020, you are required by law to self-isolate if you are told to do so by NHS Test and Trace.
The Government has introduced a £500 support payment to help people on low incomes who have to self-isolate. The scheme will run until 31 March 2022 but is being kept under review by the Government. Worcester City Council is responsible for making the payments. Please read all of the information on this page before applying.
From Monday 16 August 2021, if you are fully vaccinated and identified as a close contact by NHS Test and Trace or by the COVID-19 app you will no longer be required to self-isolate.
- If you are fully vaccinated and identified as a close contact you will no longer be required to self-isolate – this means you will not be eligible for a Self-Isolation Support Payment.
- If you are fully vaccinated and test positive for Covid-19 you will still need to self-isolate – this means you may be eligible for a support payment if you meet the eligibility criteria.
- Anyone under 18 identified as a close contact will no longer be required to self-isolate- this means most parents or guardians will no longer be eligible for a support payment.
- Children who test positive will still need to self-isolate- this means that parent or guardians may still be able to apply if they need to stay at home to care for a child who has tested positive.
Do I qualify for this scheme?
To qualify for the payment, you will need to meet all of the criteria below:
- you have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace because you have tested positive for Covid-19
- you have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace because you have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive and you are not fully vaccinated
- you have responded to messages or calls from NHS Test and Trace and provided any legally required information
- you are employed or self-employed
- you cannot work from home and will lose money as a result
- you are currently receiving (or a partner of someone in the same household of someone who is receiving) at least one of the following benefits: Universal Credit, Working Tax Credits, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Pension Credit or Housing Benefit.
If you are not claiming one of the above benefits you may still qualify for a payment under the local discretionary scheme - please see below.
Who cannot apply for a payment?
You cannot apply for this scheme if:
- You do not have a valid notification from NHS Test and Trace. The only exception to this is if you are a parent or guardian of a child or young person who has tested positive for Covid-19 (see below for further details). Isolation notes and lateral flow test results are not eligible under this scheme. Notifications from the COVID-19 app are eligible, as long as you have selected the ‘claim financial support’ button on the home page and followed the instructions (see FAQ’s below for more information).
- It has been more than 42 days since the first day of your isolation period.
- You are self-isolating or ‘quarantining’ after returning from abroad.
- You are on furlough. The self-isolation support payment is only for people who will lose money because they cannot work while self-isolating.
- You can work from home while self-isolating.
- If you are the owner or employee of a business that is currently closed due to national lockdown restrictions.
- You are not claiming one of the benefits listed. You may qualify for help from the local discretionary self-isolation support scheme instead (see below for further details).
What proof do I need to provide?
To prove you are eligible for the scheme, you will need to fill in the online application form on this page and you must provide the following information:
- A recent bank statement (within the last two months) showing your name, address, account number and sort code for verification purposes.
- National Insurance (NI) number
- Your eight-digit NHS Test and Trace ID number
- Proof of benefit entitlement - Accepted evidence includes a recent (within two months) benefit award letter or email, a screenshot or photograph of Universal Credit journal showing award and payment date, or a recent (within two months) bank statement showing the benefit payments in your account.
- If you are employed:
- Proof of employment (for example wage slip).
- Evidence showing a reduction in your wage from your employer (for example, a letter, email or notice from your employer).
- Proof of self-employment (for example, evidence of self-assessment returns, trading income)
- Proof that you cannot deliver services without social contact
- Either a valid NHS Test and Trace ID reference number, OR evidence of communication from your child's education or childcare setting telling them to self-isolate (for example, a letter, email or notice from the education or childcare setting).
Your application may be rejected if you do not provide the information required.
Parents and Guardians
You may be eligible for a payment if you have to take time off work to care for a child who is self-isolating. This is limited to one parent or guardian per household for the child or young person’s self-isolation period and only applies to self-isolation periods that began on or after 8 March 2021.
Eligibility for school-age children is restricted to isolation periods that occur during term time only. This is because holiday clubs, summer camps, and other out-of-school settings are not classed as education or care settings under this scheme.
To be eligible for a payment you must meet all of the criteria below:
- you are the parent or guardian of a child or young person aged 15 or under and normally attends an education or childcare setting, who lives in the same household and you need to take time off work to care for them while they self-isolate because they have tested positive for Covid-19
- you are the parent or guardian of a child or young person aged between 15 and 18, has an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC) and normally attends an education or childcare setting, and you need to take time off work to care for them while they self-isolate because they have tested positive for Covid-19
- you are employed or self-employed
- you cannot work from home while undertaking caring responsibilities and will lose income as a result;
- you are claiming at least one of the following benefits: Universal Credit, Working Tax Credits, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Pension Credit or Housing Benefit.
- you are not in receipt of one of the qualifying benefits, but are on a low income and will face significant hardship as a result of lost income. Please apply for the local discretionary scheme.
Local discretionary self-isolation support scheme
If you meet all the other criteria for the self-isolation support payment, but you are not claiming one of the benefits listed then you may still qualify for help from the local discretionary self-isolation support scheme. You must be on a low income and self-isolating will cause you severe financial hardship,
If this applies to you, please fill in the application form as normal, but when you get to the question about claiming benefits, choose ‘none of these'. Carry on to complete and submit the form.
Additional criteria for a discretionary payment
- You must meet all the eligibility criteria apart from the receipt of the qualifying benefits; and
- Earn £410.00 or less per week after tax and national insurance deductions; and
- Work at least 16 hours per week; and
- Have capital of less than £6,000; and
- Will face hardship as a result of lost income during your self-isolation.
We may ask you for additional evidence to assess you for a discretionary payment, including proof of savings and evidence of hardship.
Can other people I am living with make a claim?
If there are other people living in your household, then they can make their own application to the scheme, as long as they meet the eligibility criteria.
Can I claim on someone else’s behalf?
You can apply on someone else’s behalf, but the £500 must be paid into the bank account in the name of the person you are applying on behalf of. For example, if you are applying on behalf of a parent, the money must be paid into your parent’s bank account.
I have been asked to self-isolate more than once. Can I claim again?
If you are told to self-isolate more than once, you will be able to apply for the payment again, as long as you still meet the eligibility criteria and your periods of self-isolation do not overlap.
I have been notified to isolate by the NHS Covid-19 App, can I make a claim?
If you have been notified to isolate by the app you will need to follow some steps to get your own unique Test and Trace ID number, which you will need to make an application from this scheme. Please visit the NHS website for more details.
How long do I have to claim?
From 17 March 2021, the deadline to submit an application has been extended to 42 days from the first day of your self-isolation period. This means that someone who began isolating on 17 March must submit their application by 28 April 2021. Unfortunately, applications submitted after the 42-day deadline will be rejected.
Tax and the Self-Isolation Support Payment scheme
Payments made under the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme are subject to income tax (if you’re a taxpayer) but not National Insurance contributions. If you’re employed, HMRC will automatically recover the tax from your pay with a change to your tax code.
Self-employed recipients will need to report the payment on their 2020 to 2021 Self Assessment tax return.
Apply for a self-isolation support payment
Due to a high volume of applications, it may take up to 10 days to process your application.
If you are unable to complete this form online or need help completing it, then please call 01905 722233, then selecting Option 8 and then Option 4. You will be asked to leave a voicemail message and someone will get back to you and set up a mutually convenient telephone appointment to take you through the application process. You will be advised of any information that will be required to complete the application.
Other financial support
If you are on a low income but do not qualify for a self-isolation support payment, or the local discretionary scheme, then you may be able to apply for Statutory Sick Pay, Universal Credit or another benefit.
- Financial support if you cannot work because of Covid-19
- Worcester Citizen's Advice Bureau is also able to provide benefit and debt advice.
Other help while you are self-isolating
If you need help while you are self-isolating, such as deliveries of food or medicine, then please fill in the Worcestershire Here 2 Help I need help form.