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Helping with the costs of self-isolating

Community
Community
1st February 2021

Do you have to self-isolate because of COVID-19? Does that mean it’s not possible for you to work? 

If you get benefits, and you have to self-isolate, then you might be able to get £500 to help manage the impact of loss of income.

There are small differences between the English, Welsh, Scottish or Northern Irish schemes, but don’t worry we’ve got you covered!


ENGLAND 

In England, you might be eligible for a £500 payment if you need to self-isolate and you cannot work from home. This is called a test and trace support payment.  

You must be employed or self-employed, unable to work from home, and on a low income to be eligible. You also have to be self-isolating.   

You can get the payment if you are self-isolating because: 

  • you’ve tested positive for Coronavirus yourself. 
  • you were told by NHS test and trace that you need to self-isolate. 
  • you’ve received a notification on the NHS COVID-19 app telling you to self-isolate.  

It does not count if you are self-isolating because you have just returned from the UK from abroad, under “quarantine” rules. You also can’t claim the grant if you are on furlough.   

What counts as a low income? 

The definition of low income, under the scheme, is that you receive certain benefits. You must be 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  

How can I apply?  

You should apply through your local council. Visit  https://www.gov.uk/test-and-trace-support-payment and scroll down to enter your postcode. You will be taken to your local council’s website to apply. You can also find the phone number for your council if you can’t apply online.  

When you visit your council’s website, you’ll see the rules that apply within your area.  

You’ll typically need to provide: 

  • your national insurance number 
  • your test and trace ID number (CTAS number) 
  • bank statements 
  • wage slips or proof of self-employment 

Getting a test and trace ID number (CTAS number)  

If you have been told to self-isolate by the NHS covid 19 app, you will need to request an 8-digit test and trace ID number. Remember to do this whilst you are in your self-isolation, as you won’t be able to request the ID number after you have finished self-isolating 

Register with the NHS test and trace scheme, by clicking “Financial Support” on the home screen of the app. This takes you to a website, where you can register with NHS test and trace and get the number.  

If you’re called by the NHS test and trace team, they will allocate you the number.  

When should I apply? 

You need to apply for the self-isolation payment within 1days of your period of self-isolation ending otherwise you won’t get the money. However, some councils are reporting slightly different deadlines, so make sure you check and apply as soon as you can 

Can I apply more than once? 

Yes, if you are asked to self-isolate multiple times then you can claim more than once.  

I have an overdraft and am worried about the bank using my self-isolation grant to pay it off. What can I do? 

You can use something called “first right of appropriation” to tell your bank that they should only use the money to pay your rent, council tax, or important bills like electricity or water bills.  

To do so you have to write to your bank or building society. Your council’s website should explain how to do this.  

 Do I have to pay tax on the test and trace support payment?  

 You might have to if you go over your tax-free personal allowance. If that happens your tax code will change to collect the tax. You won’t have to pay national insurance contributions on the payment. If you are self-employed, you need to include the test and trace support payment in your self-assessment tax return.  


WALES 

In Wales, you might be eligible for a £500 payment if you need to self-isolate and you cannot work from home. This is called the self-isolation support scheme. You can also get the payment if you are a parent or career on a low income, with children who are self-isolating.  

You must be employed or self-employed, unable to work from home, and on a low income to be eligible.  

You must also either be self-isolating because: 

  • you’ve tested positive for Coronavirus yourself. 
  • you were told by NHS test and trace that you need to self-isolate. 
  • you’ve received a notification on the NHS COVID-19 app telling you to self-isolate.  

Or your child must have been formally told to self-isolate by: 

  • NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect 
  • Their school 
  • Their FE setting 
  • Their creche, nursery, or other setting 

You will be eligible if your child is in year 8 or below, or if they have complex needs, then up to age 25. Only one parent is eligible to claim if a child is told to self-isolate. 

 However, if you and someone else in your household are both told to self-isolate, you can each claim as long as you are both eligible.  

It does not count if you are self-isolating because you have just returned from the UK from abroad, under “quarantine” rules. You also can’t claim the grant if you are on furlough.   

What counts as a low income? 

The definition of low income, under the scheme, is that you receive certain benefits. You must be 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  

How can I apply?  

You should apply through your local council. Visit  https://gov.wales/find-your-local-authority-apply-self-isolation-payment and scroll down to enter your postcode or local authority name. You will be taken to your local council’s website to apply. You can also find the phone number for your council if you can’t apply online.  

When you visit your council’s website, you’ll see the rules that apply within your area.  

You’ll typically need to provide: 

  • your national insurance number 
  • bank statements 
  • wage slips or proof of self-employment 
  • Proof of the date you or your child were told to self-isolate  

After you apply 

Your details will be checked against the NHS Wales Test, Trace Protect Register to check that you have formally been told to self-isolate.  

When should I apply? 

You need to apply for the self-isolation payment within 14 days of your period of self-isolation ending otherwise you won’t get the money. However, some councils are reporting slightly different deadlines, so make sure you check and apply as soon as you can.  

Can I apply more than once? 

Yes, if you are asked to self-isolate multiple times then you can claim more than once. You can claim each time you test positive for COVID-19, up to 3 times, and if you’ve been identified as a close contact you can apply twice.  

I have an overdraft and am worried about the bank using my self-isolation grant to pay it off. What can I do? 

You can use something called “first right of appropriation” to tell your bank that they should only use the money to pay your rent, council tax, or important bills like electricity or water bills.  

To do so you have to write to your bank or building society. Your council’s website should explain how to do this.  

 Do I have to pay tax on the test and trace support payment?  

 You might have to if you go over your tax-free personal allowance. If that happens your tax code will change to collect the tax. You won’t have to pay national insurance contributions. If you are self-employed, you need to include the test and trace support payment in your self-assessment tax return.


SCOTLAND 

In Scotland, you might be eligible for a £500 payment if you are told to self-isolate by Test and Protect and you cannot work from home. This is called a self-isolation support grant.  

The scheme runs until 31st March 2020.  

To be eligible you must either: 

  •  Be on the Test and Protect Database  
  • Or Identified as the parent or primary carer of a child under 16 who has been told to self-isolate (by Test and protect, local Public health or the local incident management team)  

And you must be: 

  • Employed or self-employed 
  • Unable to work from home and due to lose income as a result of self-isolation 
  • On a low income 

You can’t get the grant if you are self-isolating after returning from abroad under “quarantine” rules.  

What counts as a low income? 

There are two ways of being classed as low income. 

Either, you must have been awarded 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  

Or You must have an income level that means that you would have got Universal Credit if you had applied.  

How can I apply?  

You should apply through your local council. You can find your council’s website by following this link https://www.mygov.scot/scottish-welfare-fund/how-to-apply/ .  

When you visit your council’s website, you’ll find out how to apply.  

You’ll typically need to provide: 

  • Proof that you receive one of the benefits listed above (if you do) 
  • A payslip showing your regular wage (if you don’t receive benefits) 
  • Bank statements  
  • A notification from test and protect saying must self-isolate 
  • Wage slips or proof of self-employment 
  • A letter or email from your employer confirming that you can’t work from home and won’t be paid during the self-isolation period (if you are an employee) 
  • Evidence that your business’s services can’t be undertaken from home (if you’re self-employed) 

When should I apply? 

You need to apply for the self-isolation payment during the period when you are told to self-isolate. 

Can I apply more than once? 

Yes, if you are asked to self-isolate multiple times then you can claim more than once. (as long as the claims don’t overlap).  

How many people in my household can apply? 

People in the same household can each make their own claim, as long as they are individually eligible.  

I have an overdraft and am worried about the bank using my self-isolation support grant to pay it off. What can I do? 

You can use something called “first right of appropriation” to tell your bank that they should only use the money to pay your rent, council tax, or important bills like electricity or water bills.  

To do so you have to write to your bank or building society. Your council’s website should explain how to do this.  

 Do I have to pay tax on the self-isolation support grant 

You might have to pay income tax if you go over your tax-free personal allowance. If that happens your tax code will change to collect the tax. You won’t have to pay national insurance contributions on the payment. If you are self-employed, you need to include the test and trace support payment in your self-assessment tax return.  

What if I am not eligible? 

If you cannot get the self-isolation support grant you may be eligible for a Crisis Grant. Look at your council’s website for details. In many cases, you apply in the same way for crisis grants and the self-isolation support grant. 


NORTHERN IRELAND 

In Northern Ireland yomight be able to get a Discretionary Support self-isolation support grant if you’re in a crisis situation.   

This is different to the schemes in the rest of the UK, as rather than being a fixed amount, you could get an allowance to cover short term expenses 

The Discretionary Support self-isolation grant works in the same way as non-repayable grantunder a scheme called the discretionary support scheme. However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic it now has a higher daily allowance, and more flexibility about how long it can be paid for.  

Who can get the grant? 

To get the grant, you must meet the following criteria:  

  • Have an extreme, exceptional, or crisis situation affecting your health, safety and wellbeing or that of your immediate family.  
  • Live in Northern Ireland 
  • Be over 18, (or over 16 and without parental support) 
  • Have a household income below the national living wage of £20,405 (include your partner’s income as well) 
  • Youor a member of you family, have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or have been advised to self-isolate. 

What information do you need to provide? 

  • National Insurance Number 
  • Rent or mortgage information 
  • Details of your income 
  • Details of your savings 
  • Bank account details  

You’ll also need to explain how the situation you are in affects the health, safety and wellbeing of you or your immediate family.  

How much could I receive and for how long? 

Typically, the grant covers short term expenses, such as groceries, from the date of application until the day before the person is due to get their next income.  

There is some discretion to pay you the grant for longer if your income wouldn’t be sufficient to meet your needs in the period following self-isolation.  

You could get the universal credit daily rate for a person and their partner for your short-term living expenses. You could get an additional amount for any children, currently at the income support rate.  

However, the actual amount you’ll get will vary by your individual circumstances and how long you claim for.  

Can I apply more than once? 

Yes, if you continue to face financial difficulties because of self-isolation, then you can apply more than once.  

How do I apply? 

Apply for Discretionary Support on NI Direct. https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/services/claim-discretionary-support


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