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:
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
- 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
- Working Tax Credit
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income-based Jobseeker's 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.
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 coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has
- be employed or self-employed
- be unable to work from home
- (will) lose income as a result of undertaking self-isolation
Providing you are:
- in receipt of Council Tax Reduction (a local means-tested benefit)
- a student who would be liable for Council Tax but has been granted a student exemption from paying it
- someone who has no recourse to public funds and is normally expected to support themselves through gainful employment. No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) is a standard condition applied by the Home Office to those staying in this country with a temporary immigration status, to protect public funds.
How to apply
To apply for a self-isolation support payment, please complete the online application form.
As the scheme launched on Monday 28 September 2020, individuals eligible on or after 28 September will be able to make a backdated claim.
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 ID number)
- a 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
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
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 31 January 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.
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.
If the app advises you to self-isolate, it is likely you will be officially contacted by NHS Test and Trace anyway.
Once you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace and told to self-isolate, you will meet the conditions to qualify for this payment. You will be given the 8-digit code you need in order to apply.
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