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Test and Trace payments

If you are told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace because you:

  • have tested positive for Covid-19 
  • have been in contact with someone who has tested positive and you are not fully vaccinated against Covid-19
  • are fully vaccinated and are identified as a suspected or confirmed contact of someone with the Omicron variant

You may be entitled to financial support during your self-isolation period. This is to support people on low incomes who are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result.

Eligibility for payments

Main scheme payment

To be eligible for support for the main scheme an applicant must:

  • live in the West Northamptonshire Council area
  • have been notified to self-isolate on or after 28 September and not before that date
  • have been notified to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS Covid-19 app, because you have tested positive for Covid-19
    or
    • you are not fully vaccinated and have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS Covid-19 app because you have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive
    • are a parent or guardian of a child who has been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace and you need to take time off to look after them. More information for parents / guardians of a child who needs to self-isolate van be found at Gov.Uk Coronavirus
    • you are fully vaccinated and are identified as a suspected or confirmed contact of someone with the Omicron variant
  • have responded to a message from NHS Test and Trace and have provided any legally required information, such as details of your recent close contacts
  • be employed or self-employed
  • be unable to work from home and will lose income as a result and
  • in receipt of any of the following qualifying benefits
    • Universal Credit
    • Working Tax Credit 
    • Income-based Employment and Support Allowance
    • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
    • Income Support
    • Housing Benefit and/or
    • Pension Credit

Discretionary scheme payments

If you are not in receipt of any of the qualifying benefits, you can apply for a discretionary payment of £500 if you are suffering financial hardship due to being asked to self-isolate. You must

  • live in the West Northamptonshire Council area
  • have been notified to self-isolate on or after 28 September and not before that date
  • have been notified to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS Covid-19 app, because you have tested positive for Covid-19
    or
    • you are not fully vaccinated and have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS Covid-19 app because you have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive
    • you are a parent or guardian of a child who has been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace and you need to take time off to look after them. More information for parents / guardians of a child who needs to self-isolate can be found at Gov.uk Coronavirus
    • you are fully vaccinated and are identified as a suspected or confirmed contact of someone with the Omicron variant
  • have responded to a message from NHS Test and Trace and have provided any legally required information, such as details of your recent close contacts
  • be employed or self-employed
  • be unable to work from home and will lose income as a result; and have household capital (savings) of less than £6,000 and have household gross earnings of less than the Minimum Income Standard earning levels, which are currently:
    • £20,500 for a single person
    • £35,500 for a single person with children (who reside with them)
    • £27,500 for a couple with no children

All criteria must be met to be eligible for a payment.

Individuals will not be entitled to apply for both a payment under the Support Scheme and under the Discretionary Scheme.

The scheme does not cover people who are self-isolating after returning to the UK from abroad in a red list area, unless they have tested positive for Covid-19 or have been instructed to self-isolate by NHS test and Trace.

Where an applicant meets all the eligibility criteria for a discretionary payment, a single payment of £500 will be paid for each period of self-isolation. Payments will made direct to the applicant’s bank account within 3 working days of application.

Where further information or evidence is required from the applicant, the council will look to make payments within 3 working days of receipt of all the required information.

Payments can only be made to the applicant’s bank account. No payments can be made to a third party.

These payments will be subject to income tax; however, they will not be subject to National Insurance contributions. The applicant will be contacted by HMRC regarding the tax payable on this payment at a later date, it will not be taxed at the point of payment.

Application process

Individuals who are resident within the West Northamptonshire Council area may make an application for a Test and Trace Discretionary Payment.

All applicants will be required to provide details including:

  • National Insurance number
  • full name
  • date or birth
  • unique ID number as provided by the NHS Test and Trace. You must have this number to make an application. We will not accept a notification from the NHS Isolation Note service
  • copy of your bank statement showing the account you wish the payment to be made to

In addition to the above, all applicants will be required to confirm one of the following:

  • that they are awaiting the outcome of a claim for a qualifying benefit
    or
  • that they are not entitled to a qualifying benefit by virtue of immigration status and designation that they have no recourse to public funds
  • that they are suffering financial hardship

If you are unable to complete the form online, please email us on test&[email protected] or ring 0300 126 7000 and we will arrange to contact you to complete the form on your behalf.

Multiple claims within the household and from same applicant

Individuals in the same household can each make an application to receive a Test and Trace Discretionary payment, if they each meet all the eligibility criteria in full.

An individual may make more than one application if

  • the individual is told to self-isolate on more than one occasion and
  • they meet all the eligibility criteria and
  • the periods of isolation do not overlap

A new application must be made for each period of self-isolation.

How we will use and share this information

Information collected during the application process will be used to assess an applicant’s’ claim. Information will be cross matched with other data held by us and third-party agencies, for example DWP, HMRC for verification purposes.

In assessing a claim, it may be appropriate to make referrals within the council or to external agencies to provide advice or support. 

We treat all information we hold on file with the upmost care and confidentiality. See our Privacy Policy to see how we use and share your data.

Notification of Decisions

All decisions made by us will be notified to the applicant either in writing or by email.

We aim to make decisions within 3 working days where an application form and supporting evidence are supplied.

Appeals Process

There is no right to appeal, our decision is final.

Funding and Policy amendments

We will receive a fixed amount of funding from Government which is intended to last until 31 March 2022. The Government has confirmed that no additional funding will be given.

In view of this and to ensure that discretionary payments are available for the period, we reserve the right to amend the scheme at any point depending on the level of the demand and any other relevant factors.

Managing the risk of fraud

Neither we, nor the Government will accept deliberate manipulation of the scheme. You may face prosecution if you have manipulated or falsified your position in order to obtain payment, including failure to self-isolate which put others at risk.

We reserve the right to reclaim any payment made in error or where post-payment checks demonstrate that payment should not have been made. Where we identify that individuals have not self-isolated, we also has an obligation to notify the Police.

Useful Links
You can find the latest information about Coronavirus (Covid-19), and get advice on symptoms, self-isolation and keeping yourself and your family healthy at:

Why information is on a different website
We are in the process of adding information to this new unitary council website. Some pages will give you a link back to a previous council website to help you find what you need. Read more about the changes.
Last updated 01 December 2021