30th June 2021
Protect your family and your community: you could be eligible for £500 if you are on a low income and have to self-isolate
Sandwell Council can now support more people on low incomes who have to self-isolate because of Covid-19 symptoms through the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme (TTSP), following increased funding from government.
This discretionary scheme is now more generous, has wider eligibility and less evidence needs to be provided up front. For example, applicants do not need to provide evidence of their benefits entitlement, nor is there a requirement for pre-payment checks with employers.
Sandwell Council has simplified and improved its TTSP criteria to:
● enable more people on low incomes to receive a £500 payment and
● provide greater certainty that people on low incomes will receive support, thereby encouraging more people who have symptoms to take a test and self-isolate if they are positive.
The new criteria extend support to anyone earning less than £26,000 per year (£500 per week), who have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, who will lose income because they are unable to work from home.
Parents and guardians are eligible to apply if they have to take time off work to care for a child or young person in the same household while they self-isolate.
Applicants for the discretionary payments must be:
● required to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace;
● employed or self-employed and unable to work from home;
● on a low income and facing hardship as a result of self-isolating; and
● not on means-tested benefits.
To speed up turnaround times for payments:
● applicants do not need to provide evidence of their benefits entitlement, as this can be checked using Searchlight;
● applicants do not need to provide a picture or screenshot of their NHS Test and Trace notification (though they should provide the eight-digit NHS Test and Trace ID Number [often referred to as a ‘CTAS number’]).
People who are isolating will have 42 days to apply from their first day of isolation. The TTSP is due to close on 30 September 2021.
All outstanding applications will be considered under the new criteria.
Under the new criteria Sandwell Council cannot:
● pay residents who are unemployed or who do not live within the local council area;
● waive the requirement for applicants to have an NHS Test and Trace Account ID;
● pay residents who can work from home;
● pay amounts that are not £500, or £500 in instalments or cash equivalents.
Dr Lisa McNally, Sandwell Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “We have all made fantastic efforts to protect our loved ones during the pandemic. And we want to ensure that people on low incomes with financial concerns feel confident enough to come forward for testing. Making these payments easier to access is going to be crucial for this to succeed.
“If you must self-isolate and you think you are eligible for these discretionary payments, please apply and protect yourself, your family, your friends, and your community.”
For more information about TTSP, visit: www.sandwell.gov.uk/testandtrace