Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme

Test and Trace Support Scheme

If you are working, on a low-income and are required to self-isolate, you could be eligible for a £500 payment

The Test and Trace Support Payment scheme commenced on Monday 28 September 2020 and has now recently been extended to 30th June 2021

We can only consider claims made up to 28 days after the first day of an individual’s period of self-isolation. Your claim will not be accepted if you make an application at a later date.

Also, from the 8 March 2021, the scheme has been extended to include parents or guardians who are not legally required to self-isolate can apply for a Test and Trace Support Payment if they need to take time off work to care for a child or young person who is self- isolating and the match all the relevant criteria. (see further down page for criteria).

The latest advice from the government is that if you are unable to work due to the latest national lockdown restrictions; a Test and Support payment can not be paid even if you have been instructed to self-isolate during the lockdown. 

Please find the privacy notice below

Self-Isolation Payment Privacy Notice

On 28th September 2020, the Government passed into law a national Test and Trace Support scheme. From 12th October, a one-off payment of £500 or access to a discretionary fund will be available for eligible individuals. More information about this scheme can be found here.

If you apply, we will need to process your personal data to assess whether you are eligible to receive financial support, and if so, to provide a payment to you.  This Privacy Notice sets out what personal data we will use, how we will use it, and why we need to, when an applicant applies for this support.

Data Controller

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has commissioned NHS Test and Trace on behalf of the government and is the data controller for the purposes of providing Test and Trace data to Sefton Council.

Sefton Council are the data controller for the purposes of assessing eligibility, administering and making payments under the Test and Trace Support scheme.

New package to support self-isolation

If you have been told by the NHS to self-isolate, either because you have tested positive for COVID-19 or you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive, you may be entitled to some financial support during your self-isolation period.

What are Self-Isolation Payments?

People who are eligible will receive:

A £500 one-off Test and Trace Support payment or provision from the discretionary fund to remain at home to help stop the spread of the virus.

Categories of personal data we collect and process

We collect and process the personal data that you provide to us when completing your application for a self-isolation support payment, which may include:

  • Full name;
  • Full residential address;
  • Email address;
  • Mobile telephone number;
  • Home telephone number;
  • Proxy applicant details (as above where you may nominate someone else to complete this application on your behalf);
  • Employer name and address;
  • NHS notification number (the unique reference you will be given by NHS Test and Trace Service to self-isolate);
  • Bank account details;
  • Your National Insurance Number;
  • Proof of self-employment e.g. recent business bank statement (within the last two months), most recent set of accounts or evidence of self-assessment

Source and categories of personal data

We will obtain data from the NHS Test and Trace Service to confirm that you have either tested positive for COVID-19 or you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.  As this data is related to your health it is referred to as ‘special category data’.

You or your nominated representative will also provide us with additional personal data in relation to your application for a Self-Isolation Payment.

What we use your personal data for

We will carry out checks with the NHS Test and Trace Service and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), for verification purposes, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), for tax and National Insurance purposes, and potentially with your employer in validating your application. 

Information relating to your application will also be sent to the DHSC to help understand public health implications, allow us to carry out anti-fraud checks and determine how well the scheme is performing.

We will not share this data with other organisations or individuals outside of Sefton Council for any other purpose.

We will provide information to HMRC in relation to any payments we make because Self-Isolation Payments are subject to tax and National Insurance contributions. If you are self-employed, you will need to declare the payment on your self-assessment tax return.

Our lawful basis for processing the personal data

We must have a legal basis to process your personal data. Our lawful basis in the processing that we’ll undertake in assessing your eligibility for, and in making any self-isolation payment to you, is based on a legal obligation.

Where we use personal information to confirm that someone is eligible for a self-isolation payment, the sections of the law that apply are:

  • GDPR Article 6(1)(e) – processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in the controller
  • GDPR Article 9(2)(i) – processing is necessary for reasons of public interest in the area of public health, such as protecting against serious cross-border threats to health or ensuring high standards of quality and safety of healthcare;
  • Data Protection Act 2018 Schedule 1 Part 1 (2) - health or social care purposes

Separately, we have special permission from the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to use confidential patient information without people’s consent for the purposes of diagnosing, recognising trends, controlling and preventing, and monitoring and managing communicable diseases and other risks to public health.

This is known as a ‘section 251’ approval and includes, for example, using your test results if you test positive for COVID-19 to start the contact-tracing process.

The part of the law that applies here is section 251 of the National Health Service Act 2006 and Regulation 3 of the associated Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002.

You can find more information on this via the NHS Contact Tracing Privacy Notice here.

Data Processors and other recipients of your data

These are the recipients with which your personal data is shared:

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for tax and National insurance purposes;

Your employer for verification checks purposes;

To validate your bank account details, we need to share relevant information you've given us with TransUnion. This will be used to ensure your support payment is paid to the correct bank account and to help prevent fraudulent use of support payments.

This is not a credit check and won't impact your credit rating.

For more information on how TransUnion may use your data, please visit https://www.transunion.co.uk/legal-information/privacy-centre.

International Data Transfers and Storage

The Council does not usually transfer personal information overseas. Any contracts with providers who might host personal information abroad have appropriate clauses to ensure adequate technical and organisational security measures are in place by the provider.

Personal data disposal and retention

We will only keep your personal data for as long as it is needed for the purposes of the COVID-19 emergency, and for audit and payment purposes.


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Your rights as a data subject

By law, you have a number of rights as a data subject and this does not take away or reduce these rights. Your rights under the EU General Data Protection Regulation (2016/679) and the UK Data Protection Act 2018 applies.

All information is processed in accordance with the Sefton Council privacy policy:



These rights are:

  1. Your right to get copies of your information – you have the right to ask for a copy of any information about you that is used.
  2. Your right to get your information corrected – you have the right to ask for any information held about you that you think is inaccurate, to be corrected
  3. Your right to limit how your information is used – you have the right to ask for any of the information held about you to be restricted, for example, if you think inaccurate information is being used.
  4. Your right to object to your information being used – you can ask for any information held about you to not be used. However, this is not an absolute right, and we may need to continue using your information, and we will tell you if this is the case.
  5. Your right to get information deleted – this is not an absolute right, and we may need to continue to use your information, and we will tell you if this is the case.


If you are unhappy or wish to complain about how your personal data is used as part of this programme, you should contact Sefton Council’s Data Protection Officer, in the first instance, at ino.information@sefton.gov.uk

If you are still not satisfied, you can complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office. Their website address is www.ico.org.uk and their postal address is:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane


We use appropriate technical, organisational and administrative security measures to protect any information we hold in our records from loss, misuse, and unauthorised access, disclosure, alteration and destruction. We have written procedures and policies which are regularly audited, and the audits are reviewed at senior level.

Data Protection Officer

Data Protection Officer – Catherine Larkin email: ino.information@sefton.gov.uk

Automated decision making or profiling

No decision will be made about you solely on the basis of automated decision making (where a decision is taken about you using an electronic system without human involvement) which has a significant impact on you. 

Changes to our policy

We keep our privacy notice under regular review, and we will make new versions available on our privacy notice page on our website. This privacy notice was last updated on 6th October 2020. 


If you are told to self isolate, you must not leave the house for work, school, exercise, or to go to the shops. You can leave the house to get a test. 

If you are on low income you can find details of support below. 

If you need support during self isolation, find out how we can help you here 

Who is eligible?

Sefton residents who have received notification from NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate will be entitled to a Self-Isolation Payment providing they satisfy all four of the following requirements:

  • They comply with the notification from NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate; 
  • are employed or self-employed;
  • are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result; and
  • are in receipt of one of the following benefits:
    • Universal Credit
    • Working Tax Credit
    • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
    • Housing Benefit
    • Income Support
    • Income based Job Seeker’s Allowance
    • Pension Credit

Parents or guardians of a child or young person who is required to self-isolate

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

You must meet all the criteria below:

  • you are the parent or guardian of a child or young person in the same household and you 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.
  • you are employed or self-employed.
  • you cannot work from home while undertaking caring responsibilities and will lose income as a result.
  • you meet all the other means-tested eligibility criteria for a Test and Trace Support Payment (either through the main scheme or the discretionary scheme).
  • your 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.
  • your child 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.

Test & Trace Support Payment – Discretionary Scheme

There will also be a Test and Trace Discretionary Scheme where Local Authorities will be able to pay £500 to individuals who do not qualify for the main Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme providing, they satisfy all five of the following requirements:

  1. They comply with the notification from NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate;
  2. are employed or self-employed;
  3. are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result
  4. are not in receipt of one of the above benefits; and
  5. are on low income and will face financial hardship as a result of not being able to work while they are self-isolating.

All payments will subject to taxation but not National Insurance contributions

Who is not eligible?

You will not be eligible for the scheme if you:

  • Are quarantining after travelling abroad (unless you test positive during the 14-day quarantine period)
  • Continue to receive full wages while you self-isolate
  • Can work from home during a period of self-isolation
  • Started your period of self-isolation before 28 September 2020 
  • Have not received a notification from NHS Test and Trace telling you to self-isolate

How do I apply?

If you are Sefton resident, applications should be made to Sefton Council.

Please use the following online application form to apply: 


Please contact us using our Test and Trace Support email for any enquiries regarding your application and to provide any supporting documentation.

Please note that the maximum file size we can accept in a single email is 3MB. If your files exceed this, you may send more than one email in order to limit the file size in each.

Customers can now also call NHS Test and Trace directly as part of the 119 telephony service to discuss any enquiries, complaints or self-isolation disputes and receive support.

Before you start

You will need the following information to complete the form:

  • A copy of your latest bank statement (one issued within the last two months which must clearly show proof of earnings);
  • Proof of self-employment e.g. recent business bank statement (within the last two months), most recent set of accounts or evidence of self-assessment returns;
  • Proof of your NHS Account ID for coronavirus COVID-19 or;
  • Proof of the Account ID you have received from NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate
  • Your National Insurance Number


What happens next?

The Government is supporting local councils to make the necessary checks to ensure payments can be verified and have been made correctly. We will review your application and carry out the necessary checks with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), for verification purposes, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), for tax purposes, and NHS Test and Trace to confirm your self-isolation status.

If we are able to verify your entitlement we will contact you to confirm when you will receive your payment.


I don’t meet the eligibility criteria, what other help is available?

For details of other financial support available please visit the Covid-19 Financial Support webpage 




From what date people can apply?

Customers can apply from 28 September 2020, and will be able to claim retrospectively, and will be able to claim as long as their period of self-isolation began on or after this date.

Any time limit for claimants on making applications?

Yes, we can only consider claims made up to 28 days after the first day of an individual’s period of self-isolation. Your claim will not be accepted if you make an application at a later date.

What reference number is needed from Contact Test and Trace?

The NHS Test and Trace Account ID is an 8-character identifier unique to each customer (e.g. 4a2c204a)

Can a customer apply without a reference number?

No, customers will have been provided with a unique 8-digit ID reference, if they have been asked to isolate by NHS Test and Trace. Applications made without this reference will be refused.

Can an individual claim more than once? If so, is the process the same as the initial claim?

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

What about multiple claims from households – will this be allowed?

Yes, provided each applicant meets the relevant criteria.

If someone is instructed to self-isolate on more than one occasion are they given a different 8-digit ID for each self-isolation period?

Yes, a new ID is issued for each self-isolation period, the unique ID is linked to that isolation period and not the person.

If a person has been advised to self-isolate by someone other than NHS Test & Trace will they qualify for support?

No. The customer must have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace and been issued with a unique 8-digit reference.

What is the expected timescale for processing applications and making payments?

The aim is to make payments within 3 working-days of receipt of a completed and verified application form (i.e. if criteria are met, any supporting evidence is provided and we have been able to verify your application).

How are NHS Test and Trace notifications verified?

We will be able to verify the unique ID number against data from NHS Test & Trace Service.

What information is sought to verify employment/self-employment?

Applicants will be asked to provide proof of employment such as a recent payslip, if they are self employed, evidence of self-assessment returns and trading income. A recent bank account covering the last 2 months.

Is there a right of appeal against each decision?

There is no right of appeal. People who are refused the payment will not be eligible because they don't meet the criteria. We will work with applicants to make sure they provide the necessary evidence to support a successful application.

How are these payments treated in respect of other benefits – Housing Benefit and Universal Credit etc Are they to be treated as earnings, or disregarded?

These payments will be disregarded when calculating entitlement to other benefits. The council is awaiting government guidelines regarding the impact for Council Tax Reduction this will be clarified shortly.

Is the Test and Trace support payment based upon low income only, or are savings also taken into account?

The Test and Trace support payment is not based upon your level of earnings or savings, just upon whether you meet the four qualifying criteria mentioned above.

If an application is made for the discretionary scheme, we would likely take into account the level of income and savings as it is a payment to support those experiencing financial hardship.

What if a customer is overdrawn?

If a customer is overdrawn, they can contact their bank to exercise their first right of appropriation and ensure the money isn’t used to pay the overdraft.

The recipient would have to write a letter to the bank to explain that they were expecting a £500 payment (the NHS Test and Trace Support Payment), and how they would like to spend the money. This protection is called a 'first right of appropriation of funds order'. An example is below: "On or around 25th October 2020, my £500 Test and Trace Support Payment is due be paid into my current account number 0101010101. I am exercising my first right of appropriation over these funds and wish you to pay the following items from it:

Keep a copy of the letter in case there is any dispute later. You may want to ask your bank/building society for a written acknowledgement of your instructions.

If there are any items you no longer want to pay from your account, or which you cannot afford, you should give your bank separate cancellation instructions. This is because the first right of appropriation does not stop the bank paying items as well as those you have listed. If you do not cancel these items, your bank may return the items as unpaid, which they may charge you for. However, payments from your account to re-pay a loan with the same bank cannot be cancelled.

What are the penalties for not self-isolating

As well as new support measures, from 28 September, you could also be fined if you do not stay at home and self-isolate following a positive test result for COVID-19,or if you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace and instructed to self-isolate because you are a contact of someone who has had a positive test result.

From this date, if you test positive for COVID-19, it will also be an offence to knowingly provide false information about your close contacts to NHS Test and Trace.

Failure to comply with these requirements may result in a fine of up to £10,000.

What happens if payment is received fraudulently?

You may face prosecution if you have manipulated or falsified your position in order to obtain these payments, including failure to self-isolate which puts others at risk. Any payment made as a result of fraud may be subject to claw back, as well as any grants paid in error.  


Last Updated on Tuesday, April 6, 2021

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