Self isolating and the Test and Trace support payment

Find out what to do if you have to self-isolate, how this is enforced, and what financial support may be available to you.

Find out about self-isolating, NHS Test and Trace and local contact tracing.

When to self isolate and how long to self isolate


Legal duty to self-isolate

A legal duty to self-isolate came into force on 28 September 2020. You can read the full announcement here.

People who are legally required to self-isolate will be fined if they breach the regulations. Penalties start at £1,000 for a first offence but could increase to up to £10,000 for repeat offerenders. These fines will also apply to employers who refuse to allow staff the time off work to self-isolate.


NHS Test and Trace

If you test positive for coronavirus, the NHS Test and Trace system will ask you to share your most recent contacts with them. This allows your contacts to be 'traced' via this service, and they will be informed that they have recently been in contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus. They can then self-isolate for 10-days to stop the spread if they are required to do so.

 

Contact tracing

The council is supporting the NHS in its bid to stop the spread of Covid-19 by helping to ensure that residents who have tested positive are informed of the need to self-isolate.
 
The council team is picking up contact tracing responsibility for Northumberland residents who have tested positive for Covid-19 but who the national NHS Test and Trace team have been unable to contact.
 
This will ensure that every known infection is investigated and those who have been in close or direct contact with Northumberland residents who have tested positive for Covid-19 - and could possibly be incubating the virus - are alerted.
 
Our team will receive information about Northumberland residents who have tested positive from the national NHS Test and Trace team. We’ll be contacting those people to work through a contact tracing questionnaire and to share information about self-isolation and the need to protect others.

We’ll also be able to signpost people to local support they may need in order to self-isolate. The service will contact residents from our dedicated telephone line and email address:
Fully vaccinated adults who test positive are still legally required to self-isolate. Find out about financial support you may be entitled to if you're legally required to self-isolate

From 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 are no longer eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme. 


Self-isolating can have an impact on your ability to earn a living, so the government has introduced a financial support scheme to support people on a low income.
If you’re employed or self-employed on a low income, and can’t work from home while self-isolating, you may be entitled to financial support of £500.

Please click on the links below to find out more:


You should use the same form for both types of support payment. Information on the discretionary support payment is below.If you are unable to complete the online form, provide the relevant information, or have further questions please contact us on 0345 600 6400 and we will be able to help you and/or help you make a claim over the telephone. 

  • If contacting us by telephone you still be required to send your information either by upload or by post, which could delay your payment.
  • Payments will be made from the 12 October 2020 onwards. If you tested positive after the 28 September, you can apply for a back dated grant.
  • Please complete the application form and we will assess your eligibility for help under the national or discretionary scheme as appropriate.
  • Full guidance on self isolation payment support can be found here.


Test and Trace support payment

Apply here

Please click here to apply for the £500 support payment. Check eligibility and what you need to apply (outlined below) before applying. 


Eligibility

To qualify you must have been notified through NHS Test and Trace and have received a unique 8 character ID number.
 
To claim the £500 payment you must: 
  • be aged over 16 
  • live in Northumberland 
  • be employed or self-employed
  • be unable to work from home and face losing income as a result 
  • receive at least one of the following benefits: Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit 
  • have been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace on or after 28 September 2020
  • You have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, either because you have tested positive for coronavirus or you have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive and you have NOT been fully vaccinated

What you need to apply

Do not delay in applying for financial support to help self-isolate. You can make your claim within 42 days of your first day of isolation. We will not be able to accept claims after this date. 


You will need to complete our online form, or a telephone application by contacting us on 0345 600 6400 and provide the following information: 

  • your unique 8 character ID number as provided by NHS Test and Trace. This is referred to as your Account ID in your text message from NHS Test and Trace.
  • your National Insurance number 
  • a copy of your latest bank statement showing your name, sort code and account number 
  • proof of employment (e.g. recent wage slip, employment contract, bank statement issued within the last two months, which clearly shows proof of earnings) 
  • proof of self-employment (e.g. recent business bank statement issued within the last two months, most recent set of accounts or evidence of self-assessment returns) 

Please ensure that you engage with Test and Trace so we can verify that your name, address, date of birth and test and trace reference number matches the information you have submitted on your application.

The council has introduced a further discretionary scheme that can provide £500 per household in exceptional circumstances for people who don’t meet the conditions of the national scheme.

This can help if you’re working and on a low income but aren’t receiving a relevant qualifying benefit; or, if you lack recourse to public funds, and will experience financial hardship if you have to self-isolate.
 

From 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 are no longer eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme. 



Apply here

Please click here to apply for the £500 support payment. Check your eligibility and what you need to apply (outlined below) before applying.
 
If you are unable to complete the online form, provide the relevant information, or have further questions please contact us on 0345 600 6400 and we will be able to help you and/or help you make a claim over the telephone. 


Eligibilty for discretionary scheme

You may be eligible for a discretionary track and trace support payment if you meet all of the following criteria: 
  • You have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, either because you have tested positive for coronavirus or you have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive and you have NOT been fully vaccinated
  • Are over the age of 16 years
  • You are employed or self employed
  • Are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result
  • You are a resident of Northumberland
  • You 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
  • You can demonstrate you will face financial hardship as a result of not being able to work while you are self-isolating. 
The discretionary fund is limited and will be judged on a case by case basis, but if you fit into the criteria above please consider applying. You will need to provide a recent full month's bank statement showing all income and expenditure for you and where applicable your partner, if your partner resides with you.

If you do not meet, or are unable to demonstrate that you meet the criteria for this scheme, you will not be eligible to receive a payment. There is no right of appeal.
 

What you need to apply

Please note: Do not delay in applying for financial support to help self-isolate. You can make your claim within 42 days of your first day of isolation. We will not be able to accept claims after this date. 

You will need to complete our online form, or a telephone application by contacting us on 0345 600 6400 and provide the following information: 

  • your unique 8 character ID number as provided by NHS Test and Trace. This is referred to as your Account ID in your text message from NHS Test and Trace. 
  • your National Insurance number 
  • a recent full month's bank statement showing all income and expenditure for you and where applicable your partner, if your partner resides with you.
  • proof of employment (e.g. recent wage slip, employment contract, bank statement issued within the last two months, which clearly shows proof of earnings) 
  • proof of self-employment (e.g. recent business bank statement issued within the last two months, most recent set of accounts or evidence of self-assessment returns)
If you are applying for the discretionary scheme, we will also need details of your income and household expenses to establish that you are in financial hardship.

Please ensure that you engage with Test and Trace so we can verify that your name, address, date of birth and test and trace reference number matches the information you have submitted on your application.

Find the answers to your frequently asked questions about the Test and Trace and Discretionary support payments.

Other support

If you do not qualify for any of the grants above, there are other ways you can get support. If you or anyone you know is struggling at the moment, please get in touch with Northumberland Communities Together. We’ll help you find and access the support you need. Call 01670620015, 7 days a week 9am – 6pm. Learn more about Northumberland Communities Together on our webpage here. 

 

Your questions answered

Click on the questions below to reveal the answers:

All payments will be made via BACS transfer into your bank account. If you are eligible, we aim to make the payment within five working days of receiving the application and all of the necessary evidence. 
No. We are only able to make payments into an account in your name. If you do not have a personal bank account, please contact us and we will look at other payment methods.
You can protect your self-isolation payment by telling your bank how it should be used.  
 
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 seven 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 at this link.
wards are only designed to help cover the self-isolation period, so you will only receive one £500 payment each time you are told by NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate.
 
If you are told by NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate on multiple occasions, then multiple payments will be permitted, as long as the self-isolation periods do not overlap.
 
If more than one person in a household is told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, then each of them will be allowed to claim a payment, providing they have each lost income as a result of having to self-isolate and meet the qualifying criteria.
This payment will be subject to income tax. It will not be subject to National Insurance contributions.
There is nothing you need to do. If your income for the year is not more than £12,500, you will not have any tax to pay. If tax is due, HMRC will automatically recover it from your pay through a change in your tax code. HMRC will send you a new tax code notice.
Claimants can claim Statutory Sick Pay as well as a Test and Trace Support Payment, but not contractual sick pay from their employer. Employers can claim Statutory Sick Pay Reimbursement for those self-isolating.
No, the payment does not affect existing entitlements to Universal Credit, Pension Credit, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Pension Credit, Housing Benefit. The payment will also be disregarded as income for the purposes of tax credits.
If you have lost some income due to having to self-isolate you may qualify.
 
This includes where you have more than one source of employment, but are only being paid for some of your jobs during the self-isolation period, or where your employer has reduced your pay as you can only do part of your job from home while you are self-isolating.
The payment will be a coronavirus support payment and therefore a revenue receipt of your business, contributing towards your profits. The payment will need to be included on your Self Assessment Tax Return along with any other coronavirus support payments you may have received.
We would not make awards in the following situations: 
  • you are quarantining after travelling abroad (unless instructed to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace) 
  • you continue to receive full wages while you self-isolate
  • you can reasonably work from home during a period of self-isolation 
  • it is more than 42 days since your first day of isolation
  • you have not received a notification from NHS Test and Trace telling you to self-isolate 
  • you are not in employment or self-employment 
  • you do not live in Northumberland (although you may be able to claim from your home area) 
The above list is not exhaustive and there may be other situations where you will not qualify. 
The Council has published a privacy notice which sets out why we ask for your personal informationwhat information we will hold, how it will be used, in what circumstances it would be shared, and with whom, and how long we will keep it for.
 
We will assess your application and let you know if your application has been successful, either for a Test and Trace support payment or a Discretionary payment.
 
If you are eligible, we aim to make the payment within five working days of receiving your application and additional evidence.
If you are not eligible, we will let you know why this is.
 
If you need assistance during this difficult time, Northumberland Communities Together is ready to help. Please visit the web page here, or contact the team on 01670 620015.  They will help to find you support and connect you with people in your area. 
The government has recently announced some additional criteria regarding the Test & Trace Support Payment Scheme.

From 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 are no longer eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme. 


Some people aged 18-25 with EHC Plan (EHC) will still be required to self-isolate if they are not fully vaccinated. Their parents/guardians may retain eligibility for TTSP if they still need to take time off work to care for them while they self-isolate.

Applicants must meet all of the criteria below: 
  • they are 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.
  • they are employed or self-employed.
  • they cannot work from home while undertaking caring responsibilities and will lose income as a result.
  • they meet all the other means-tested eligibility criteria for a Test and Trace Support Payment or the criteria for a Discretionary Support payment.
  • their 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 and has been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or by their education or childcare setting because they have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Backdating
The child or young person must have been told to self-isolate on or after 8 March 2021. Applications can be backdated to this point but must be received within 42 days of the first day the child/young person was told to self-isolate.

Applications
Please follow this link to apply for a Test and Trace Support Payment.