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Test and Trace Support Payment

Last reviewed: 6 October 2021

You have a legal duty to self-isolate if you test positive for coronavirus or are contacted by NHS Test and Trace and told to self-isolate. However from 16 August 2021 adults who have been fully vaccinated and who are identified as being a close contact of someone who has tested positive for Covid-19, will no longer be required to self-isolate. Anyone aged under 18 who is also identified as a close contact will also be exempt from the self-isolation rules.

If you have tested positive for Coronavirus, or you are a parent or guardian of

  • a child aged under 15 who has tested positive, or
  • a child or young person aged under 25 with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan and they have tested positive or are aged 18 - 25, are not fully vaccinated but are a close contact of someone who has tested positive
  • on a low income and cannot work during this period of self-isolation,

you may be able to access a £500 Test and Trace Support Payment, which will be paid directly into your bank account.

The scheme closing date has been extended to 31 March 2022.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible for a Test and Trace Support Payment you must meet all the following requirements:

  1. Live within boundaries of St Helens Borough Council. (Please contact your local authority if you live outside this area.)
  2. You have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace because you have tested positive for coronavirus
  3. You are the parent or guardian of a child or young person who has been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or their education or care setting and the child or young person is aged 15 or under (or 25 or under with an Education, Health and Care plan) who lives in the same household as you who has tested positive, or is aged 18 - 25 with and Education, Health and Care Plan, is not fully vaccinated and has been a close contact of someone who has tested positive.
  4. You are working (either employed or self-employed).
  5. You are unable to work from home and will lose income due to self-isolating or due to you having to care for a child or young person who is having to self-isolate.
  6. You are currently in receipt of either:  Universal Credit; Working Tax Credit; income-related Employment and Support Allowance; income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance; Income Support; Housing Benefit; and / or Pension Credit.

In exceptional circumstances, you may be able to apply for a discretionary £500 payment if you satisfy points 1 to 5 of the above eligibility criteria, are a householder but are not in receipt of a qualifying benefit and would suffer financial hardship due to not being able to work.

How to apply

To apply for this payment, you should complete an online form and provide the following evidence in support of your claim:

  1. Notification from NHS Test and Trace asking you to self-isolate (this should include a unique 8-character Test and Trace Account ID).
  2. Proof you are claiming a qualifying benefit.
  3. Proof of your bank account for payment e.g. bank statement.
  4. Proof of employment e.g. a copy of a recent wage slip.
  5. If you are self-employed, we will need to see evidence of self-assessment returns, trading income and proof that your business delivers services which cannot be undertaken without social contact.
  6. If claiming in respect of a child or young person, evidence of their 8 digit NHS Test and Trace account I/D, or a letter from their education or care setting or a screenshot from the NHS Covid-19 App together with their Education, Health and Care plan asking them to self-isolate.

Your application must be made no later than 42 days from the start date of your period of self-isolation.

If you satisfy the above criteria and would like to apply for an NHS Test and Trace Support Payment, please complete the council's online application form.

If you are unable to make an online application, please contact 01744 676767 (option 1).

Discretionary Award

If you are not receiving a qualifying benefit but would experience severe financial hardship as a result of you being unable to work, we may be able to consider your application under the discretionary rules.

You must be a householder and responsible for rent or mortgage payments, have annual income of less than £26,000 for couples and lone parents and £15,000 for single people. You may be asked to provide details of your current financial circumstances. This information can be provided by completing the online income and expenditure form.

Circumstances where you will not be entitled to a Test and Trace Payment

  • You were told to isolate by NHS Test and Trace prior to 28 September 2020.
  • You apply for a Test and Trace payment more than 42 days after your first day of self-isolation.
  • You haven’t been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace and haven’t been given a unique-8 character Test and Trace Account ID.
  • You are having to take time off work to look after a child or young person who has not been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or by their education or care setting.
  • You are self-isolating after returning to the UK from abroad, except where you have tested positive for coronavirus or have been instructed to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace.

Further information

  • Test and Trace Payments will be disregarded when calculating eligibility for other benefits. This includes calculating entitlement to Universal Credit.
  • This payment is subject to income tax, but you will not be taxed at the point of payment. You will be contacted separately by HM Revenue and Customs or you will need to declare the payment on your self-assessment tax return.
  • People in the same household can each make an individual application to receive the payment if they each meet the above eligibility criteria.
  • Someone can claim more than once (if they are told to self-isolate multiple times), so long as they meet the eligibility criteria for each individual claim and their periods of self-isolation do not overlap.
  • Payments will be made into a bank account; if you are overdrawn you may need to request your bank to exercise your first right of appropriation on the £500 payment.
  • Appointees can apply on behalf of someone else. However, the £500 must be paid into a bank account in the name of the person for whom the application is being made.
  • St Helens Borough Council will apply relevant checks and participate in data matching exercise to verify eligibility of payments to prevent fraud and error. All allegations of fraud will be investigated. Persons who are found to have made fraudulent applications will be prosecuted and be required to repay any payments they have received.
  • If the council become aware that you have failed to self-isolate, then the matter may be referred to the police and you will be required to repay any payments made to you.

On 28th September 2020, the Government passed into law a national Test and Trace Support scheme. From 12th October, a one-off payment of £500 or access to a discretionary fund will be available for eligible individuals. More information about this scheme can be found here.

If you apply, we will need to process your personal data to assess whether you are eligible to receive financial support, and if so, to provide a payment to you. This Privacy Notice sets out what personal data we will use, how we will use it, and why we need to, when an applicant applies for this support.

Data Controller

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has commissioned NHS Test and Trace on behalf of the government and is the data controller for the purposes of providing Test and Trace data to St Helens Borough Council.

St Helens Borough Council is the data controller for the purposes of assessing eligibility, administering and making payments under the Test and Trace Support scheme. New package to support self-isolation.

If you have been told by the NHS to self-isolate, either because you have tested positive for COVID-19 or you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive, you may be entitled to some financial support during your self-isolation period.

What are Self-Isolation Payments?

People who are eligible will receive:

A £500 one-off Test and Trace Support payment or provision from the discretionary fund to remain at home to help stop the spread of the virus.

Categories of personal data we collect and process

We collect and process the personal data that you provide to us when completing your application for a self-isolation support payment, which may include:

  • Full name
  • Full residential address
  • Email address
  • Mobile telephone number
  • Home telephone number
  • Proxy applicant details (as above where you may nominate someone else to complete this application on your behalf)
  • Employer name and address
  • NHS 8-character notification identifier (the unique reference you will be given by NHS Test and Trace Service to self-isolate)
  • Bank account details
  • Your date of birth
  • Your National Insurance Number
  • Proof of self-employment e.g. recent business bank statement (within the last two months), most recent set of accounts or evidence of self-assessment

Source and categories of personal data

We will obtain data from the NHS Test and Trace Service to confirm that you have either tested positive for COVID-19 or you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. As this data is related to your health it is referred to as ‘special category data’.

You or your nominated representative will also provide us with additional personal data in relation to your application for a Self-Isolation Payment.

What we use your personal data for

We will carry out checks with the NHS Test and Trace Service and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), for verification purposes, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), for tax and national insurance purposes, and potentially with your employer in validating your application.

Information relating to your application will also be sent to the DHSC to help understand public health implications, allow us to carry out anti-fraud checks and determine how well the scheme is performing.

We will not share this data with other organisations or individuals outside of St Helens Borough Council for any other purpose, other than for the prevention and investigation of fraud.

We will provide information to HMRC in relation to any payments we make because Self-Isolation Payments are subject to tax and National Insurance contributions. If you are self-employed, you will need to declare the payment on your self-assessment tax return.

Our lawful basis for processing the personal data

We must have a legal basis to process your personal data. Our lawful basis in the processing that we’ll undertake in assessing your eligibility for, and in making any self-isolation payment to you, is based on a legal obligation.

Where we use personal information to confirm that someone is eligible for a self-isolation payment, the sections of the law that apply are:

  • GDPR Article 6(1)(e) – processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in the controller
  • GDPR Article 9(2)(i) – processing is necessary for reasons of public interest in the area of public health, such as protecting against serious cross-border threats to health or ensuring high standards of quality and safety of healthcare;
  • Data Protection Act 2018 Schedule 1 Part 1 (2) - health or social care purposes

Separately, we have special permission from the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to use confidential patient information without people’s consent for the purposes of diagnosing, recognising trends, controlling and preventing, and monitoring and managing communicable diseases and other risks to public health.

This is known as a ‘section 251’ approval and includes, for example, using your test results if you test positive for COVID-19 to start the contact-tracing process.

The part of the law that applies here is section 251 of the National Health Service Act 2006 and Regulation 3 of the associated Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002. You can find more information on this via the NHS Contact Tracing Privacy Notice here.

Data Processors and other recipients of your data

These are the recipients with which your personal data is shared:

  • Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for tax and National Insurance purposes
  • Your employer for verification checks purposes
  • Public bodies for the prevention of fraud, e.g. National Fraud Initiative
  • Other contractors, where we have a legal agreement for them to process your data on our behalf

International Data Transfers and Storage

  • No data will be transferred or held outside the UK.

Personal data disposal and retention

We will only keep your personal data for as long as it is needed for the purposes of the COVID-19 emergency, and for audit and payment purposes.  Application forms will be retained for six years.


We use appropriate technical, organisational and administrative security measures to protect any information we hold in our records from loss, misuse, and unauthorised access, disclosure, alteration and destruction. We have written procedures and policies which are regularly audited, and the audits are reviewed at senior level.

Automated decision making or profiling

No decision will be made about you solely on the basis of automated decision making (where a decision is taken about you using an electronic system without human involvement) which has a significant impact on you.

Your rights as a data subject

For further information on your rights and how to contact the Council's Data Protection Officer please visit:  www.sthelens.gov.uk/dataprotection.

Changes to our policy

We keep our privacy notice under regular review, and we will make new versions available on our privacy notice page on our website. This privacy notice was last updated on 07/10/2020.