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Coronavirus (COVID-19): updates and advice, including help if you are struggling financially

NHS Test and Trace support payment

From 28 September, if you receive a positive COVID-19 test result or are told by the NHS to self-isolate because of close contact with someone who has COVID-19, you may be eligible for a £500 lump sum.

The government has announced the new Test and Trace Support Payment for people on a low income who must self-isolate for 14 days and cannot work from home during this period.

This scheme will run until 31 January 2021.

Who is eligible?

To be considered for a support payment, you must meet all of the following criteria:

  • live in the Dorset Council area
  • have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace either because you have tested positive for coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has
  • be employed or self-employed
  • be unable to work from home and will lose income as a result
  • currently be 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

If you meet all of these criteria you will be entitled to a £500 lump sum payable into your bank account. Payments will be subject to income tax but not National Insurance contributions.

Discretionary Scheme

If you meet all of the criteria but you are not currently receiving one of the benefits listed, you may still be eligible under the Discretionary Scheme.

You must meet the following additional criteria to be eligible:

  • be resident full time at an address within the Dorset Council area - full time students are not eligible for this scheme
  • capital that you hold in your name must be less than £16,000, for example, the combined total of money held in any form of bank account, savings account, shares, premium bonds, or as cash are counted. This list is not exhaustive.
  • your average gross weekly earnings must have been between £80 and £290 per week prior to your need to self-isolate

Apply for a support payment

To apply, you must provide:

  • your personal details
  • a notification from NHS Test and Trace asking you to self-isolate (this will include a Unique ID number)
  • a bank statement showing your name and the account details where the payment will be made
  • details of benefits you receive (unless you are applying under the Discretionary Scheme)
  • your latest wage slip
  • an email from your employer, confirming that you are unable to work from home and will see a reduction in your earned income during the period of isolation

You'll need to have these details ready before your start. You can upload documents in the application form.

Start now

If you don't have all of the details we need, you can still apply and we will contact you to request any outstanding information. This will delay the decision on your application.

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
  • are no longer required to self-isolate i.e. your period of self-isolation ended before the scheme launched on Monday 28 September
  • have not received a notification from NHS Test and Trace telling you to self-isolate

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