Benefits

    Test and Trace Payments

    The application form is now available on the website. Please read the following and make your application, if you meet the criteria.

    From the 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.

    Employees who are ‘Furloughed’ are not eligible.

    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:

    An individual will be classed as a low income worker if[i] their average normal gross weekly income is below £322.64. This reflects 37 hours at the National Minimum Wage of £8.72.

    Definition of financial hardship

    Financial hardship will be classed as an inability to meet essential living costs such as rent/mortgage, food, utilities, medical needs, which cannot be resolved by personal  budgeting.

    Application Process.

    The applicant will need to provide the following information via the on-line Test and Trace Support Payment Application Form

    • A notification from NHS Test and Trace requiring self-isolation.
    • Proof of receipt of a qualifying benefit (standard 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 on-line will be given appropriate telephone support.

    Claims will only be accepted up to 14 days after their self isolation ends.

    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

    Benefit Welfare Visits (this link will direct you to Cannock Chase District Council's website as Stafford Borough Council operate a shared Revenues and Benefits service with Cannock Chase District Council)

    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