On 28 September 2020, the government announced that it was a legal requirement for any UK resident who tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), or was identified by NHS Test and Trace as a close contact, to self-isolate.
The government has introduced a scheme to help people who will struggle financially if they need to self-isolate. Anyone eligible for the scheme will get a £500 payment. The scheme will run until 31 March 2022.
From 16 August 2021, fully vaccinated adults, and children under 18 years and 6 months old, will no longer need to isolate if they're identified as a close contact of a positive case. Therefore these people will not be eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment.
Visit the government website to find out more about when you need to self-isolate and how long for.
Who can apply?
The payment is available to anyone who meets all of the following criteria:
- lives within the Middlesbrough Council local authority area (find out if you live in the Middlesbrough Council area)
- has been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, either because they've tested positive for coronavirus, or because they've recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus and are required to self-isolate
- From 8 March 2021 you are the parent or carer of a child who has been asked to self-isolate by the NHS Test, Trace, Protect service (TTP) or their school or childcare provider.
- The child attends a school or childcare setting is under 15 or is aged between 16 and 25 and has an Education, Health and Care Plan.
- The child or young person who the parent or guardian is caring for was told to self-isolate and did not continue to attend their education or care setting when they should have been self-isolating.
- is employed or self-employed (If you’re employed, you’ll pay tax on your payment if you go over your tax-free personal allowance. Your tax code will change to collect the tax. You will not pay National Insurance contributions on the payment. If you’re self-employed, you must report the payment on your Self-Assessment tax return).
- is unable to work from home and will lose income as a result
- is currently receiving Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit, and/or Pension Credit
From 8 March 2021, you must submit your application within 42 days from your first day of isolation (please note applications needed to be submitted within 28 days of the first day of isolation if this was prior to 8 March 2021).
If you are a parent / carer who applies your application will be checked with your child’s education or care setting.
If you meet the criteria, we'll make a payment via BACS once we've received all the evidence and verified your Test and Trace number/your child’s self isolation with the education or care setting. We'll email you to let you know.
If you/your child are asked to self-isolate more than once, you can apply for a payment for each period of isolation, as long as they don’t overlap, and you meet all of the criteria for each period.
We're also running a discretionary scheme to help residents who have to self isolate, but do not get any of the benefits listed in the 'who can apply?' section above.
To potentially get a payment through the discretionary scheme, you must meet all of the other criteria listed in the 'who can apply?' section above, and you must also:
- live with, and have responsibility for, a dependent child/children
- have no savings which can be used to alleviate the loss of earnings
- have no other form of income coming into your household
The discretionary scheme has now been extended so we can support more people who need to self isolate.
As of 1 November 2020, if you're not getting one of the qualifying benefits listed in the 'who can apply?' section above, you can still apply for a discretionary payment if you meet one or more of the following criteria:
- If you're self isolating and not getting a benefit (listed in the 'who can apply?' section) at the time of your application, but you're then awarded a benefit, we may be able to make a payment to you if your benefit payment covers your period of self-isolation.
- You have no income coming into your household for the period of your self isolation, and you have less than £1,000 in savings.
- You've had a significant reduction in earnings (more than 50%), and you have savings of £500 or less.
If you've been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, and meet all of the criteria above, you can apply for the discretionary scheme. You'll need to upload copies of your bank statements.
If you've been told by the NHS COVID-19 app to self-isolate
From Thursday 10 December 2020, you can now make a claim for the £500 self isolation payment if you've been told by the NHS COVID-19 app that you must self-isolate because you've been in close contact with someone who's tested positive for coronavirus.
To make a claim, you will need your 8 digit NHS Test and Trace Account ID. You cannot make a claim without it. You'll need to follow some steps to request your account ID.
You must be using at least version 4.0(1177) of the NHS COVID-19 app to do this. How to find out which version of the app you have. Please make sure you update to the latest version of the app. How to update the app.
How to get your 8 digit NHS Test and Trace Account ID if you've been told by the NHS COVID-19 app to self-isolate because you've been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus.
The NHS COVID-19 app is anonymous, so you need to register with NHS Test and Trace by following a link in the app. You must do this while you are in your self-isolation period. You cannot request your Account ID after you’ve finished self-isolating.
To start the process, select 'Financial support'. This button appears on the home screen of the app when you’ve been told to self-isolate because you’ve been in close contact with someone who has coronavirus.
You’ll be taken to a website which will ask you for some information to check whether you could be eligible. None of the information you provide will be passed back to the NHS COVID-19 app. The app is designed to protect your privacy and does not know who or where you are.
If your answers show that you may be eligible for the NHS Test and Trace Support Payment, there are 4 steps to apply for the payment.
Step 1 - Confirm who you are with NHS login
- You need to log in or register with NHS login so we can check who you are. If you are registering, you will receive a confirmation link in an email. When you read the email, make sure you keep the existing screen open so that you can continue to the next step.
Step 2 - Enter personal details
- You will be asked to enter your name so that NHS Test and Trace can carry out some checks. None of your personal details will be given to the app.
Step 3 - Register with NHS Test and Trace
- You will get an email and text message from NHS Test and Trace within one hour. Opening hours are between 7:30 am to 8:30 pm. If you register outside of these hours, there may be a delay in getting the email or text message until opening hours have started again.
- These messages will include a link which you need to follow to complete your registration with NHS Test and Trace. You must do this while you're still in your self-isolation period. You will not be able to apply for the NHS Test and Trace Support Payment without completing this step.
- Once you've completed your registration, you'll get a final confirmation email and text message from NHS Test and Trace. You'll then legally need to self-isolate.
Step 4 - Apply for the payment
- Once you've got the second email or text message with your NHS Test and Trace Account ID, you can apply for the NHS Test and Trace Support Payment from us. You can apply up to 14 days after your self-isolation period has ended. Getting an NHS Test and Trace Account ID does not necessarily mean you'll be eligible for the NHS Test and Trace Support Payment.
- You must request the Account ID during the self-isolation period. Once you have it, you can claim up until 14 days after your self-isolation period ended.
- We will ask you to provide additional evidence to prove your eligibility.
Applicants who are overdrawn
If your nominated bank account is overdrawn, the bank is not allowed to use this payment to repay your overdraft. But you'll need to contact your bank directly as soon as possible to protect the payment. This protection is called a 'First Right of Appropriation of Funds Order'.
Tell your bank that a deposit of £500 from Middlesbrough Council is a self-isolation payment. Here's an example of what you should say:
'On or around October 15th, my Test and Trace Support Payment will be paid into my current account number (for example, 01010101). I am exercising my first right of appropriation over these funds.'
Keep a record of any correspondence with your bank or building society in case there are any problems later. Examples of correspondence might include: letters, emails, records of live-chats (you can usually get these sent to you via email), or if you speak on the phone or in person, make notes of times and dates, the names of anyone you speak to, and what you talk about.
How to apply
If you do not have access to the internet, or you cannot complete the online application form yourself, you can call us on 01642 726006 (10am to 4pm), choosing the option for Test and Trace Support Payment. A caseworker will be able to help you with your application. Please note, this may delay your payment, as you'll still need to provide the evidence needed to support your application.
Please have all of the following evidence ready, as it'll be needed to claim your payment:
- a notification from NHS Test and Trace asking you to self-isolate (including your unique ID number)
- proof that you're getting 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 which cannot be done without social contact
Supporting evidence about the child or young person
- the child’s eight-digit NHS Test and Trace ID number. This is for parents and guardians of children or young people who have received a notification directly from NHS Test and Trace telling them to self-isolate.
- a communication from the child or young person’s education or childcare setting confirming that they have to self-isolate. This is for parents and guardians of children or young people who have been told to self-isolate by their education or childcare setting because they have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive
- a screenshot of a young person’s NHS COVID-19 App notification telling them to self-isolate AND evidence that the young person has an Education, Health and Care Plan. This is for parents or guardians of young people aged 16-25 who have additional support needs and who have been notified to self-isolate by the NHS COVID-19 App
Further help and advice
Find out where to get help and support, for example with debt, gas and electric, and housing.