Benefits

    Test and Trace Payments

    Please read the following and make your application, if you meet the criteria.

    From 8 March 2021, parents or guardians who are not legally required to self-isolate can apply for a Test and Trace Support Payment or discretionary payment if they need to take time off work to care for a child or young person who is. 

    Applicants must meet all 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 locally determined criteria for a discretionary 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
      • 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

    Applicants will need to provide either:

    • 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 notification directly from NHS Test and Trace telling them to self-isolate.

    or

    • 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.

    or

    • A screenshot of a young persons’ 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. 

    and

    • Proof of receipt of a qualifying benefit (Main Scheme)
    • Your most recent bank statement for the account the support payment will be paid into.
    • Recent proof of employment or self employment, evidence of self-assessment returns, trading income and proof that the business delivers services which cannot be undertaken without social contact.

    Test and Trace Payments Individuals

    Please read the following and make your application, if you meet the criteria.

    From 28 September 2020, individuals will be able to claim a payment of £500 if they are required to self isolate, by the NHS Test and Trace process, claim an in-work benefit, cannot work from home and will lose money as a result.
    The scheme has 2 elements:

    • Main Scheme - with the qualifying criteria being prescribed by Government
    • Discretionary Scheme - whereby the Council can extend the payments to people who satisfy most of the main criteria but are not in receipt of a qualifying benefit.

    Main Scheme Qualifying Criteria

    Individuals may be entitled to a Test and Trace Support Payment of £500 if they:

    • have been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, either because you have tested positive for coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive
    • are employed or self- employed
    • cannot work from home and will lose money
    • are currently receiving Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, income based Jobseekers’ Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit.

    The payment is fixed amount of £500 for each separate period of isolation.

    People may qualify several times for several periods of isolation provided the isolations are entirely separate and do not overlap.

    Members of the same household (including partners) may each qualify for a £500 payment simultaneously provided each meets the qualifying criteria.

    Discretionary Scheme Qualifying Criteria

    The Council manages a Discretionary Scheme to cover people who satisfy most of the criteria of the Main Scheme, but do not receive a qualifying benefit. A £500 payment can be made if they would suffers financial hardship as a result of the self isolation.

    Individuals may be entitled to a Discretionary Test and Trace Support Payment of £500 if they:

    • have been told to stay at home and self isolate by the NHS Test and Trace, either because they have tested positive for coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive
    • are employed or self-employed, and
    • are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result.
    • are not currently in receipt of Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, Income-Based Employment and Support Allowance, Income-Based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit, and
    • are a low income worker; (see below) and
    • have accessible capital of less than £6000; and
    • are suffering financial hardship due to a loss of income. The applicant will need to demonstrate that hardship.

    Definition of a low income earner

    A low income worker is defined as a single person with gross earnings below £20,000 per year or a couple with combined gross earnings below £40,000 per year.  

    Definition of financial hardship

    Financial hardship will be classed as an inability to meet committed outgoings due to loss of income during self isolation.

    Application Process

    The applicant will need to provide the following information via the online Test and Trace Support Payment Application Form:

    • a notification from NHS Test and Trace requiring self-isolation
    • proof of receipt of a qualifying benefit (Main Scheme)
    • the most recent bank statement for the account the support payment will be paid into
    • recent proof of employment or self employment, evidence of self-assessment returns, trading income and proof that the business delivers services which cannot be undertaken without social contact.

    A declaration is needed that the applicant cannot work from home due to the nature of the work and will lose income as a result of self-isolation.

    Individuals wishing to make a claim for Discretionary Payments will need to complete the supplementary questions within the online form and demonstrate that they will suffer hardship.

    Individuals who are not able to claim online will be given appropriate telephone support.

    Claims will only be accepted up to 42 days after the self isolation starts.

    The Council may request such supporting evidence as it feels appropriate to substantiate that the applicant meets the qualifying criteria.

    To apply for this payment, please follow this link - NHS Test and Trace Payments

    Payment Process

    Payments will be made by bank transfer into a verified bank account.

    If you are overdrawn at the bank, you can exercise your first right of appropriation to ensure that the bank does not use the payment to pay the overdraft. You should speak to your bank in the first instance, they may ask you to make your request in writing.

    View our Test and Trace Payments Policy


    Our Mission Statement

    Stafford Borough Council's benefit service aims to meet the needs of the community by providing a secure and efficient service that is accessible to all, where the right benefit is paid at the right time and a service that contributes positively to the overall welfare of the community.

    • The Department for Work and Pensions national figures for June to September 2019 confirms Stafford Borough Council as processing new claims at an average of 19 days; this is in line with the national average. Change in circumstances were processed at an average of 4 days, this is 1 day slower than the national average of 3 days. See our latest performance information.
    • The Benefit Service now has a number of on line forms. Click on the link and choose the form you need.
    • The Government has made changes to the Benefit Scheme. For more information clink on the COVID-19 link below,
    • There is a new look to our Local Council Tax Support from 1 April 2020. For more information click on the Local Council Tax Support Scheme link below.

    Benefit Online Forms

    Advice for Landlords

    Benefit Appeals

    Benefit Cap

    Benefit Overpayments

    Benefit Service Standards and Customer Feedback

    Changes in Circumstance

    Covid-19 Benefit Changes. The Government and DWP have made some changes to the benefit scheme, please view the Benefits Bulletin for more detail

    Discretionary Housing Payments

    Guide to Housing and Local Council Tax Reduction

    Help and Advice

    Local Housing Allowance (LHA)

    Non-Dependant Deductions

    On-line Calculator

    Request for Information

    Under Occupancy

    Benefit Fraud - If you require information on Benefit Fraud or if you think that someone is receiving benefit that they may not be entitled to please see our Benefit Investigations webpage.

    A to Z of Services