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 will commence on Monday 28 September 2020 and will close on 31 January 2021

Please find the privacy notice here 

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 isoaltion, 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

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.

Full details of the discretionary scheme will be published shortly

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: 


Applications will be able to be back-dated from the launch date on Monday 28 September.

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


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 


Frequently Asked Questions

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.

Yes, customers should apply as soon as they are able to but must apply no later than 14 days after their period of self-isolation has ended or their claim will not be accepted.

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

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.

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.

Yes, provided each applicant meets the relevant criteria.

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

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

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).

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 19 October 2020

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