Test and Trace Support Payment to be introduced

The government has announced a new payment for people in England on a means-tested benefit and a low income, who are advised by NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate but who are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result.

According to government guidance, in order to be eligible for this new £500 payment:

  • You must have been asked to self-isolate by the NHS Test and Trace Service

  • You must either be employed or self-employed

  • You cannot work from home and will lose income as a result

  • You have claimed at least one of the following benefits: Universal CreditWorking Tax Credit, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, income-based jobseeker's Allowance, Income Support, Pension Credit or Housing Benefit.

The new payment will be administered by local authorities and will apply to those who start to self-isolate from 28 September 2020 onwards. Local authorities have been asked to start making payments by 12 October. We aim to start before this and those who start to self-isolate from 28 September can get payments backdated.

There is also a legal obligation on employers that they must not knowingly enable or encourage their employees to break the law on self-isolation.

From the 28 September the Government introduced a new duty on people to self-isolate if someone tests positive or is identified as a contact by NHS Test and Trace, with penalties for those breaking the rules. This includes fines on a sliding scale from £1,000 up to a maximum of £10,000 for multiple breaches.

Cllr Trevor Harp, cabinet member for health and adult social care, said: “The introduction of the £500 self-isolation payment is designed for those people on a low-income, who can evidence that they are unable to work from home. At Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, we will be working to have a system in place to distribute the grants to those people who need them by 12 October at the latest.

“As a reminder, if you are contacted about self-isolating or if you have a positive COVID-19 test result, you have a duty to self-isolate and there are financial penalties for those who don’t adhere to this. Employers must also ensure that they do not knowingly enable their staff to break the law on self-isolation.”

More information about the self-isolation grant can be found here: Test and Trace Support Payment. If you live in the borough of Southend-on-Sea and wish to be notified when the form is available, please email elfforessex@southend.gov.uk with your contact details or please check the webpage linked for updates.

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