COVID-19 Test and Trace Support Payments

More about the process

When you will get paid

We aim to make payments within three days of receiving an application, as long as we have all of the required evidence. If we need further information to assess your application, we will contact you by phone or email, but this may delay payment. It is important that you provide all the evidence that we need when you apply so that we can make payments quickly.

People who don’t have internet access

Please ask a member of your household to help you apply. If you need to ask someone who doesn't live with you to help, please make sure you do not break the self-isolation rules.

The application form is online at manchester.gov.uk/self-isolationpaymentscheme. You just need access to the internet. Most mobile phones have internet access.

To upload evidence you can take a photo(s) using a mobile phone and upload the photo(s) using a mobile phone.

A friend, family member or advice agency can make the application on your behalf using their phone or computer, but we can only pay the money into your bank account.

If you have no access to the internet and no-one to help you please ring us on 0161 954 9005 and we will help you. Please note that this may delay your application as we will still need you to provide some evidence.

If you need help

If you cannot find the answer to your question on our website you can call us on 0161 954 9005.  Please only call us if you really need to, our contact centre is extremely busy at this time.

Eligibility

 

I have lost more than £500 in income due to loss of work, can I claim more money?

No, people will receive £500 as a lump sum, regardless of how much they have lost in income.

I am a full time student and I also work. Can I claim?

You may be eligible for the payment if you are a student and you receive one of the qualifying benefits (Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit or Pension Credit) because, for example, you are a part-time student, are disabled or have children. 

If you don't receive any of these benefits you should contact your university or college welfare team to see what financial support they can give you, most have funds available that offer support for students facing financial hardship. If you rely on your wages to pay your accommodation costs, are experiencing hardship, and can't get help from your college or university then you can apply for a Test and Trace Self-Isolation Support Payment under the discretionary scheme and we will consider your application. 

I am a full time student and I also work. Can I claim under the discretionary scheme?  

Most universities and colleges have hardship funds available. You should contact your university or college welfare team to see what financial support they can give you  If you rely on your wages to pay your accommodation costs, are experiencing hardship, and can't get help from your college or university then you can apply for a Test and Trace Self-Isolation Support Payment under the discretionary scheme and we will consider your application.   

What about two jobs?  I can work from home on one but not the other and will be losing money. Can I claim?

Yes, if you can evidence that you have lost income as a result of self isolating you will receive a grant. This is providing the other criteria are met.

I have been furloughed, can I claim? 

If you have been furloughed and are not working at all, you can’t claim. If you are furloughed and also working, but now can’t go to work because you must self-isolate and are losing income as a result you can apply. 

Is there a time limit for making applications?

Yes, you have 28 days from the start of your period of self-isolation to make a claim. We cannot accept applications after this point. For example, if you started your self-isolation period on 1 January,  you must apply for the Test and Trace Support Payment by 29 January.

I’ve just found out that I am now eligible for a benefit that would have qualified me for a Test and Trace Support Payment, can I make a backdated claim?

No, you must have been in receipt of the benefit at the time you applied for the payment. 

I’m waiting to hear from DWP about my benefit claim. 

If you meet all the other eligibility criteria but are not yet in receipt of one of the
qualifying benefits, you may be eligible for a discretionary payment. You should fill in the application form and complete the discretionary application questions.

I am classed by the government as having no recourse to public funds due to my immigrations status, so even though I am on a low income I cannot claim any benefits, can I claim this if I can’t go into work?

You are able to claim from the discretionary scheme.

Can I claim if I am only staying at an address in Manchester on a temporary basis?

No, you should claim from your permanent address as this is where records to confirm your entitlement are held. We will check the information that you provide to check that you permanently reside at the address that you provide.

I am not registered for Council Tax, can I still claim?

Yes, but we will check your application against other Council and Government systems to verify the information that you have provided. If we are not satisfied that you are resident at the address in your application, we will not pay the Isolation Payment.

We will report fraudulent attempts to claim to other agencies

I am staying at home because my child has been sent home from school to self isolate - can I claim? 

No. Only people that have been instructed to self isolate by NHS Test and Trace can claim.

Do I have to live in Manchester to claim?

Yes, only people living within the Manchester City Council area can claim. If you are not sure, check who you pay your Council Tax to.

If you submit an application to the wrong Council  it may slow down your application.

My employer has told me to self-isolate, can I claim?  

You must have an NHS Test and Trace Account ID to make a claim. 

Employers in settings such as care homes, prisons and hospitals who have received advice from Public Health England or local public health teams are advised to provide details of anyone asked to self-isolate to NHS Test and Trace. You should then be sent an NHS Test and Trace Account ID.  

The local contact tracing team has told me to self-isolate, can I claim?  

Occasionally contacts may be asked to self isolate by the local contact tracing team, for example if there is an outbreak in a workplace. In this case an employer would be asked to provide details of contacts to the national NHS Test and Trace Service and you would then receive an NHS Test and Trace ID code  to enable you to apply for support if you meet other eligibility criteria. 

Can I claim if the NHS COVID-19 app says I should self-isolate?  

Yes, if you have been identified as a close contact by the NHS COVID-19 app from Thursday 10 December 2020 you can apply for a Test and Trace Support Payment.  If the NHS COVID-19 App has told you to self-isolate because you’ve been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus.

To make a claim you will need your Account ID, as the app is anonymous, you will need to register with NHS Test and Trace by following a link within 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’ button on the home screen, and follow the steps. This button will appear on the app when you’ve been told to self-isolate because you’ve been in close contact with someone who has coronavirus.

Evidence requirements

 

How do I provide the evidence that I qualify? 

When you complete the online application you can upload your evidence and submit it along with your form. You can take a photograph of your documents, such as your bank statement, and when the form asks for evidence click ‘browse’ and select the document from your photos. 

You can only upload documents that are in JPEG (which most photographs are) or PDF format. 

Can I provide my NHS number, rather than the Test and Trace number?

No, we can only use the NHS Test and Trace number for payments. If you have not been allocated this number we cannot pay anything.

What is the Test and Trace Account ID number and where can I find it?

The NHS Test and Trace Account ID is an 8-character identifier unique to each record. The NHS Test and Trace team will provide you with this information when you are instructed to self isolate.

I am self employed - what proof do I need to provide?

Self-employed applicants need to provide evidence of self-assessment tax returns and trading income. 

I am self employed, how can I prove I am not going to be working, I will just cancel the jobs in my diary?

You will need to provide evidence about your income and the type of work that you do. It will be easier for some professions to work from home than others. You will need to evidence that you have lost income as a result of self isolating.

Multiple Claims

 

Can I claim more than once? If so, is the process the same?

Yes, provided the eligibility criteria are met on each separate claim and the self-isolation period for which you are claiming doesn’t overlap with a previous self-isolation period. The process should be the same as for any other claim.

I have to isolate for 20 days-  can I get two payments?

No, claims are not allowed for overlapping self-isolation periods – an individual can receive a maximum of £500 for a period of isolation, regardless of how long it is.

This includes someone who has to isolate for a continuous period of (say) 20 days, either because they have been identified as the contact of a second positive case within the same period or because they have gone on to test positive and have had to start a new 10-day isolation period. Only one claim can be made for this period.

Are multiple claims from households allowed?

Yes, provided each applicant meets the relevant criteria.

Payments and Tax

 

I am overdrawn, if you pay the £500 into my bank I won't be able to access it, can you pay me a different way?

We will be paying the Test and Trace Self-Isolation Support Payments into a bank account in the applicant’s name.

If you are overdrawn you can contact your bank and ask that this payment is not used to pay towards your overdraft.

This is called ‘exercising your first right of appropriation’ and it will ensure the money isn’t used to pay the overdraft.

You would have to contact the bank to explain that you are expecting a £500 payment (the NHS Test and Trace Support Payment), and detail how you would like to spend the money. This protection is called a 'first right of appropriation of funds order'.

Are the payments subject to tax and National Insurance?

This payment will be subject to income tax. It will not be subject to National Insurance Contributions.

What happens if I’m self-employed?

The payment will need to be included on your Self Assessment Tax Return along with any other coronavirus support payments you may have received, as it will contribute towards your profits.

What happens if I’m employed?

You don't need to do anything. 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. If this happens, HMRC will send you a new tax code notice.

Can I receive the payment while in receipt of Statutory Sick Pay?

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.

Impact on other benefits

 

Does the payment impact existing benefit entitlements?

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.

How will Universal Credit be impacted if there is a loss of earned income?

The NHS Test and Trace Support Payments will be disregarded when calculating entitlement to Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, income-basedJobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit or Pension Credit.

If my wages drop and this payment is disregarded will I receive more Universal Credit to make up for the drop in wages? 

Your Universal Credit will adjust automatically to take into account the drop in your wages.

How do you treat these payments in respect of benefits entitlement such as Housing Benefit and Universal Credit?

These payments are not included when calculating entitlement to other benefits.

Fraud and Payment checks

 

Will there be any checks on the information that I provide?

Yes, the applications will be checked against DWP and HMRC income details. The government has also said that it will be conducting some checks after payments have been made to check that the applicant did have reduced income as a result of self-isolation. If payments have been made to people who are not entitled, the Council will be asking for the money back

If payments are made to someone who is not entitled, the Council will ask for the payment to be returned. Fraudulent applicants will be referred to the Police.

What if a local authority has made a payment to someone who was in receipt of a specified benefit but shouldn’t have been?

Local authorities will have the right to recover any payments paid to someone they discover has claimed the £500 fraudulently. 

Discretionary Scheme

If you are not receiving one of these benefits but are on a low income and self-isolation will cause you exceptional financial hardship, you may still be entitled under a special discretionary scheme. You can apply for the discretionary scheme using the same online form. Find out if you are eligible

Public Health Questions

 

What if I don’t want to stay off work?

From 28 September 2020 people are required by law to self-isolate if they test positive for COVID-19 or if they are identified by the NHS Test & Trace scheme as a contact of someone who has tested positive . People who don't self-isolate face a fine of £1,000. This could increase to up to £10,000 for repeat offences and the most serious breaches, including for those preventing others from self-isolating.

What if my employer threatens to sack me if I won't go into work when I have been told to self-isolate?

Employers who force staff or allow staff to come to work when they should be self-isolating will be liable for fines of up to £10,000.

If I am told to isolate myself, does my partner have to isolate and stay off work as well?

If someone receives a positive test result, they are now required by law to self-isolate for the period ending 10 days after displaying symptoms or after the date of the test, if they did not have symptoms. Other members of their household must also self-isolate for the period ending 14 days after the initial person’s symptoms started, or after the date of the initial person’s positive test if they did not have symptoms.

If you are told to self isolate because you are a close contact of someone who has tested positive and doesn’t live with you, only you have to self isolate for 14 days as long as you stay symptom free. The rest of your household is not required to self isolate.

Can my partner go out?

If you receive a positive test result, you are now required by law to self-isolate for the period ending 10 days after displaying symptoms or after the date of the test, if you did not have symptoms. Other members of your household must self-isolate for the period ending 14 days after your symptoms started, or after the date of your positive test if you did not have symptoms.

If you have been told to self isolate because you are a contact of someone who has tested positive (who doesn’t live with you)  your partner can still go out providing you do not have symptoms.

If I can’t go out how will I get food and other supplies?

You should order food and medicines online or ask family or friends to help. 

If you do not have anyone who can help and cannot order food online you can contact the Manchester Community Response Support Hub by calling 0800 234 6123. You can also text 07860 022 876 and we will respond by the next working day.
 

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