COVID 19 Support and Information
See below for a summary of additional measures the Government has put into place to help low income households during the COVID-19 crisis.
Please be aware that Test and Trace Support Scheme claims are taking longer to assess due to very high demand. Make sure that all mandatory documents are supplied as anything missing will delay the claim further.
You can find the latest National advice and guidance through the Government website. This includes information on other financial help and advice.
Test and Trace Support Payment
There is a legal duty on people to self-isolate if someone tests positive or is identified as a contact by NHS Test and Trace. From 16/08/2021 people who are fully vaccinated, exempt from self-isolation OR are under the age of 18 and who are identified as contacts will no longer be required to self-isolate. Fully vaccinated contacts and most parents / guardians will be ineligible for a payment unless they or the child (under 16 or has a Education, Health and Care Plan) tests positive at which point they would become eligible.
If you're working, on a low income and will lose money if NHS Test and Trace tells you to self-isolate, you may be eligible for a £500 lump sum payment that will be paid directly into your bank account.
This payment is subject to tax, but you will not be taxed at the point of payment and will be contacted by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) at a later date.
Each application is for one person only and any further applications within the same household must be made by each eligible individual.
Are you eligible?
Low income workers will be entitled to a Test and Trace Support Payment of £500 if they:
- Live in the Stroud District (if you don't live in the District, you must apply to your own local authority);
- Have been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or via the NHS COVID-19 App, either because they have tested positive for coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive (but see above for close contacts). There is an 8 digit Account ID code issued by NHS Test and Trace that MUST be supplied to us in order to qualify;
- have responded to messages received from NHS Test and Trace (which will have been received via a combination of email, text, letter or phone call) in which they provided their contact details and, where they have tested positive, the details of their contacts;
- Are employed or self-employed;
- Are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result;
- Are currently receiving, or are the registered partner of someone in the same household who is receiving, Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit.
- From 08/03/2021 one parent or guardian of a child or young person (under 16 or has an Education, Health and Care Plan) in the same household, 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 the child or young person. They must fulfil all the other requirements and there can only be one payment per household. Please note the application will be checked with the education or care setting where applicable.
You MUST supply evidence for your claim. Claims will not be paid without evidence and will be delayed if we have to email you for missing items. Evidence required:
- notification from NHS Test and Trace asking you to self-isolate (this should include a unique 8-digit Account ID number) and;
- proof of your bank account for payment (your most recent full statement) and;
- if you are self-employed, evidence of self-assessment returns, trading income and proof that your business delivers services which cannot be undertaken without social contact.
- If applying as a parent or guardian you will additionally be required to provide the child's 8 digit NHS Test and Trace number OR communication from the education or childcare setting that they have to self-isolate OR a screenshot of a young person’s NHS COVID-19 App notification telling them to self-isolate AND evidence that the young person has an Education, Health and Care Plan (for young people aged 16-25 who have additional support needs)
If you have met all of the eligibility criteria for the Test and Trace Support Payment, but don't receive one of the qualifying benefits, you may be eligible for a discretionary payment if you are on a low income.
Eligibility for the Discretionary Scheme is subject to income and capital limits, and we do not pay students. You should only apply if you are on a low income and are subject to financial hardship as a result of not being able to work because you need to self-isolate. There is no separate form to complete and evidence and information will be gathered to allow you to be considered for both schemes.
You must apply within 42 days of the start of your self-isolation - applications received after that date will be rejected.
You can apply for the payment here.
Who is not eligible?
You are not eligible for the scheme if you:
- are quarantining after travelling abroad (unless you test positive during the 14 day quarantine period and are told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace);
- Continue to receive full wages while you self-isolate;
- Can work from home during a period of self-isolation;
- Have not receved a valid notification from NHS Test and Trace telling you to self-isolate (UNLESS you are a parent or guardian of a child or young person and have to take unpaid time off work to care for the child or young person).
Extra Council Tax Support 2020/21 & 2021/22 for working age households
Working age Council Tax payers who get Council Tax Support will be entitled to a further reduction in their Council Tax for 2020/21 and the scheme has been extended for 2021/22. We’ll credit your account with an extra £150 for each year, or if your balance is less than that, then until your Council Tax bill is zero.
We’ll process this automatically so you don’t need to contact us. If we assess your claim you will get a new bill, and if you are on Universal Credit you may get a new bill every month if your payments change. To get your new bill by email go to our “receive your bill by email” webpage or email email@example.com and put your council Tax account number in the subject line so that you get your amended Council Tax demand notice quickly.
Local Housing Allowance
If we still pay you Housing Benefit, we will be able to pay you a little more. Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates were increased from April 2020 to cover up to 30% of the market rent in your area. The new rates are available on our Housing Benefit page and they will continue for 2021.