Benefits

    What is the Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme?

    Since 28 September 2020, the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme has supported people on low incomes who are unable to work from home and will lose income if they are required to self-isolate because of COVID-19. 

    Eligible individuals receive a £500 payment. This is to help ensure people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and their close contacts self-isolate for the required period, and to encourage individuals who have symptoms to get tested. This is important to help stop the transmission of COVID-19 and avoid further restrictions.

    The scheme ends 31 March 2022.


    Eligibility

    Main Scheme Test and Trace Support Payments

    The ‘main’ Test and Trace Support Payment is for people who live in England and:

    • have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app because they have tested positive for COVID-19; or
    • have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app because they have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive, and are not exempt from self isolation; and
    • have responded to messages from NHS Test and Trace and have provided any legally required information, such as details of their close contacts;
    • are employed or self-employed;
    • are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result of self-isolating; and
    • are currently receiving, or are the partner in the same household as someone who is receiving, at least one of the following benefits:
      • Universal Credit
      • Working Tax Credit
      • income-based Employment and Support Allowance
      • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
      • Income Support
      • Housing Benefit
      • Pension Credit

    Parent or Guardian Main Test and Trace Support Payment

    A Parent or Guardian of a young person who is required to self-isolate may be eligible for a ‘main’ payment if they live in England and meet the following criteria (even if they are fully vaccinated):

    • they are the parent or guardian of a young person in the same household who is self-isolating and need to take time off work to care for them;
    • they are unable to work from home and will lose income; 
    • the young person has:
      • tested positive for COVID-19 and is aged 15 or under, or aged 25 or under with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan; or
      • been identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19 (by NHS Test and Trace, their education or care setting or the NHS COVID-19 app), is aged 18-25, is not exempt from self isolation and has an EHC Plan;
    • the young person normally attends an education or care setting; and
    • the parent or guardian meets all the other criteria for a ‘main’ payment.

    Discretionary Test and Trace Support Payments

    Discretionary Test and Trace Support Payments are for people who live in England and:

    • have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app because they have tested positive for COVID-19; or
    • have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app because they have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive, and are not exempt from self isolation; and
    • have responded to a message from NHS Test and Trace and have provided any legally required information, such as details of their close contacts;
    • are employed or self-employed;
    • are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result of self-isolating;
    • are not currently receiving, and are not the partner in the same household as someone who is receiving, at least one of:
      • Universal Credit
      • Working Tax Credit
      • income-based Employment and Support Allowance
      • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
      • Income Support
      • Housing Benefit
      • 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. 


    Parent Or Guardian Discretionary Test and Trace Support Payment

    A Parent or Guardian of a young person who is required to self-isolate may be eligible for a ‘discretionary’ payment if they live in England and meet the following criteria (even if they are fully vaccinated):

    • they are the parent or guardian of a young person in the same household who is self-isolating and need to take time off work to care for them;
    • they are unable to work from home and will lose income; 
    • the young person has:
      • tested positive for COVID-19 and is aged 15 or under, or aged 25 or under with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan; or
      • been identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19 (by NHS Test and Trace, their education or care setting or the NHS COVID-19 app), is aged 18-25, is not exempt from self isolation and has an EHC Plan;
    • the young person normally attends an education or care setting; and
    • the parent or guardian meets all the other criteria for a ‘discretionary’ payment.

    Processing and Verifying Applications 

    Eligible individuals can make a claim up to six weeks (42 days) after their first day of self-isolation. 

    To apply, applicants will need to complete an online form, individuals who are not able to claim on-line will be given appropriate telephone support.

    The following is required:

    • evidence that are required to self isolate (normally, an eight-digit ‘CTAS number’ from their notification from NHS Test and Trace)
    • a bank statement 
    • proof of employment or, if they are self-employed, evidence of self assessment returns, trading income and proof that their business delivers services which cannot be undertaken without social contact; and
    • (if applying for the main scheme) confirmation that they are in receipt of one of the means-tested benefits listed.

    Processing and Verifying Applications from Parents and Guardians

    As of 16 August 2021, people under 18 who are identified as a recent contact of someone with COVID-19 are no longer required to self-isolate.  

    To apply for a main payment or discretionary payment, parents or guardians will need to provide the supporting evidence and information listed above (excluding their own NHS Test and Trace Account ID ‘CTAS Number’) but will need to provide:

    • the young person’s eight-digit NHS Test and Trace ID number. This will have been sent by NHS Test and Trace because the young person has tested positive or, if aged 18-25 with an EHC Plan and not fully vaccinated, because they have been identified as a contact. or
    • a screenshot of a young person’s NHS COVID-19 App notification telling them to self-isolate. This is only for parents or guardians of young people aged 18-25 who have an EHC Plan and are not fully vaccinated.

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

    Apply Online


    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.

    Our Test and Trace 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 online 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.

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