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Home > Benefits > Coronavirus: Money & Benefits Advice

Coronavirus: Money & Benefits Advice

The government have published information about COVID-19 support for employers, benefit claimants and businesses

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have published guidance on COVID-19 and claiming benefits

The Money Advice Service have also published some useful information:

Read information about Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction

Customers worried about making rent or Council Tax payments should make a claim for Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Reduction. Please complete an application form for Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Reduction

Customers who receive Housing Benefit or Universal Credit (Housing Element), can ask for extra help with their rent by requesting a Discretionary Housing Payment. Please complete an application form for a Discretionary Housing Payment

Self-Isolation Support Payments

Are you on a low income and unable to work, because you have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace?

You may be eligible for a lump sum payment of £500.

This is part of the government’s Test and Trace Support Payment scheme.

Who will be eligible?

To be eligible you must:

  • have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace because you have tested positive for COVID-19 or have recently been in close contact with someone who has, and are not fully vaccinated; and
  • be employed or self-employed
  • be unable to work from home and will lose income as a result

You also need to be in receipt of one of the following benefits:

  • Universal Credit (UC)
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Housing Benefit
  • Pension Credit

From 8 March 2021, if you are the parent or guardian of a child or young person in the same household who is self- isolating and need to take time off work to care for them; you will be able to make an application if you are;

  • employed or self-employed; and
  • need to take time off work to care for your child or young person while they self-isolate. This is limited to one parent or guardian per household for the child or young person’s self-isolation period, and
  • be unable to work from home while undertaking caring responsibilities and will lose income as a result, and
  • the child or young person has:
  • tested positive for COVID-19 and is aged 15 or under, or aged 25 or under with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan; or
  • Been identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19 (by NHS Test and Trace, their education or care setting or the NHS COVID-19 App), is aged 18-25, is not fully vaccinated and has an EHC Plan.

You also need to be in receipt of one of the following benefits:

  • Universal Credit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Housing Benefit
  • Pension Credit

Discretionary Fund Payment

The government has also provided limited funding for discretionary awards to be made if you do not meet the criteria above.

Discretionary Support Payment Guide

To be eligible for a discretionary fund payment you must:

  • have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace because you have tested positive for COVID-19 or have recently been in close contact with someone who has and are not fully vaccinated; and
  • be employed or self-employed
  • be unable to work from home
  • (will) lose income as a result of undertaking self-isolation

Providing you are:

  • not currently receiving UC, Working Tax Credit, income-based Job Seekers Allowance or income-based Employment Support Allowance or income-based Employment Support Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit 

From 8 March 2021, if you are the parent or guardian of a child or young person in the same household who is self- isolating and need to take time off work to care for them; you will be able to make an application if you are;

  • employed or self-employed; and
  • need to take time off work to care for your child or young person while they self-isolate. This is limited to one parent or guardian per household for the child or young person’s self-isolation period, and
  • be unable to work from home while undertaking caring responsibilities and will lose income as a result, and
  • the child or young person has:
  • tested positive for COVID-19 and is aged 15 or under, or aged 25 or under with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan;
  • or
  • been identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19 (by NHS Test and Trace, their education or care setting or the NHS COVID-19 App), is aged 18-25, is not fully vaccinated and has an EHC Plan.

Providing you are :

  • Not currently receiving Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-based Job Seekers Allowance or income-based Employment Support Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and or Pension Credit;

How to apply

To apply for a self-isolation support payment, please complete the online application form.

Apply for a self-isolation support payment if you live in Babergh district
Apply for a self-isolation support payment if you live in Mid Suffolk district

 

From the 8 March 2021 eligible individuals can make a claim up to 42 days after the first day of their self-isolation period. Applications will not be accepted after this point.

 

What evidence will I need to provide when making an application?

You will need to provide us with the following supporting evidence:

  • a notification from NHS Test and Trace asking you to self-isolate (this will include a Unique eight digit ID number)
  • a recent bank statement
  • proof of employment or if you are self-employed, evidence of self-assessment returns, trading income and proof that your business delivers services which cannot be carried out without social contact
  • proof that you lost income due to having to stay at home

If you are staying at home to look after a child or young person you will also need to provide either;

  • The child’s eight digit NHS Test and Trace ID number. This is for parents and guardians of children or young people who have had received a notification directly from NHS Test and Trace telling them to self-isolate.
    OR
  • A communication from the child’s or young person’s school or care setting confirming that they have to self-isolate. This is for parents and guardians of children or young people who have been told to self-isolate by their school or childcare setting because they have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive.
    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. This is for parents and guardians of young people aged 16-25 who have additional support needs and who have been notified to self-isolate by the NHS COVID-19 App.

 

What other information will I need when making an application?

Before you make an application make sure you have the following information:

  • your National Insurance (NI) number
  • your full name
  • your date of birth
  • your contact telephone numbers including a working mobile number
  • full names, dates of birth and NI numbers for everyone living in your household
  • your current full address and postcode
  • details of benefits you receive and how much you get
  • details of your employment
  • your unique ID number as provided by the NHS Test & Trace
  • If you are claiming because your child has to self-isolate details of your child’s school or care setting, name, address, and contact details

How will payments be made?

Payments will be made by bank transfer to the bank account matching the bank statement provided as part of your proof of eligibility.

Will these payments be taxed?

These payments will be subject to income tax. They will not be subject to NI contributions.

How long will this be in place for?

The scheme will run until 30 September 2021. During this time, the government will continue to review the scheme.

How many times can I apply?

A claim can be made for each period of self-isolation required. All eligibility criteria must be met and supporting evidence provided.

The self-isolation period for which you are claiming cannot overlap with a previous self-isolation period.

How quickly will I receive the payment?

Within 3 working days of the evidence being verified by our team.

Can a bank take housing benefit to pay my overdraft?

No, banks are not allowed to use housing benefit or any other benefit to repay an overdraft.

Read more about Right of Appropriation

Do I qualify if I have been told by the official NHS COVID-19 contact tracing app to self-isolate?

No. Users of the official NHS COVID-19 contact tracing app are anonymous, so the notification to self-isolate cannot be verified by the local authority. Please follow the instruction on the App to register with NHS Test and Trace.

Once NHS Test and Trace confirm you are to self-isolate, you will be given the eight-digit code you need in order to apply for a Self-Isolation Payment.

Further help available

Whether you meet the criteria or not set by the government, there is help available for those facing financial difficulty or needing support.

The Suffolk Support and Advice Service helps people across the county access information or support relating to debt, benefits, housing or employment.

You can contact the service on 0800 068 3131 between 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday. You can also visit Suffolk Support and Advice Service's website