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Test and Trace Support Payments

Payments have changed

From the 16 August 2021, if you are fully vaccinated (have had 2 doses of the vaccine) and you are identified as a close contact, you will no longer need to self-isolate. This means you cannot apply for a Test and Trace Support Payment. We will verify vaccination status as part of the checks made following an application.

In addition, anyone under 18 who is a contact will also be exempt from self-isolation. This means that most parents and guardians will not be eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment if their child is identified as a contact, as the child will no longer need to self-isolate.

As children who have tested positive still need to self-isolate, parents and guardians will still be eligible, regardless of whether they are fully vaccinated (as they may need to stay at home and look after the child).

You might be able to get a payment of £500 if:

  • you have been told to self-isolate because of coronavirus (COVID-19) and you cannot work from home
  • you are not fully vaccinated (2 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine) with last dose more than 14 days ago
  • you’re the parent or guardian of a child who has been told to self-isolate due to testing positive for COVID-19 and you need to take time off to look after them

Main scheme payments

You may be eligible for the £500 payment if you:

  • have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace and are not fully vaccinated
  • are employed or self-employed
  •  cannot work from home
  • receive one of the following benefits:
    • universal credit
    • income related Employment Support Allowance
    • income based Job Seekers Allowance
    • income support
    • working tax credit
    • housing benefit
    • pension credit

Discretionary scheme payments

You may be eligible for a £500 discretionary payment if you meet all the other eligibility criteria above, but you:

  • do not currently receive one of the qualifying benefits and
  • you will face financial hardship as a result of not being able to work while you are self-isolating
  • do not have capital available to you of more than £3000

Parents or guardians of a child who has been told to self-isolate

If you are not legally required to self-isolate, but you are the parent or guardian of a child who has been told to self-isolate on or after 8 March 2021 due to the child testing positive for COVID-19, you could be eligible for a £500 Test and Trace Support Payment or discretionary payment.

To be eligible you must:

  • be the parent or guardian of a child or young person in the same household and need to take time off work to care for them while they self-isolate - this is limited to one parent or guardian per household for the child or young person’s self isolation period
  • be employed or self-employed
  • be unable to work from home while undertaking caring responsibilities and will lose income as a result
  • meet all the other means-tested eligibility criteria for a Test and Trace Support Payment or the criteria for a discretionary payment specified in Bracknell Forest Councils Discretionary Scheme

Your child or young person:

  • must be aged 15 or under (or 25 or under with an Education, Health and Care Plan) and normally attends an education or childcare setting
  • must have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or by their education or childcare setting because they have tested positive for COVID-19

If a child’s self isolation period is wholly within the school holidays or there is a school closure due to COVID-19, then you are not eligible for a payment within the test and trace scheme.

Check if you are eligible to apply

Check if you are eligible to apply on GOV.UK

Payment details

The payment is:

  • £500
  • subject to income tax
  • not subject to National Insurance contributions

When to apply

You must apply no later than 42 days after the first day of your self-isolation period.

If you are overdrawn

If your bank account is overdrawn you have a right to ask that the £500 is used to pay your bills rather than your overdraft. This is called exercising your first right of appropriation.

If you want to do this you must tell your bank 7 days before the bill is due and you must give them specific details of what should be paid. You can get more information and download a template letter from the National Debtline website.

Appeals

Please note that there is no right of appeal. If you are not awarded payment it is because you do not meet the criteria.

Bracknell Forest Council administers this scheme in line with guidance from the Department of Health and Social Care and the Department for Works and Pensions.

Fraud

We have the right to recover costs from people who claim the payment fraudulently.

You may face prosecution if you provide any false details in your application.

More information

For more information, read:

Contact information

Welfare and Housing Service - welfare enquiry

Make an enquiry