Staff absences are hitting businesses and organizations such as rail operators and the NHS as the new Omicron strain of Covid-19 continues to spread rapidly across the UK.
Employees and the self-employed find themselves forced to quarantine themselves at home and in some cases lose vital income.
A potential loss of income could turn out to be disastrous and lead to rent debts and other fixed expenses at a time of rising energy bills, post-Christmas savings and other household costs.
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A Test and Trace support payment of £ 500 is often a lifeline for many people. So what are the rules for getting that money?
Currently, the government says anyone with symptoms of Covid should self-isolate at home and get tested as soon as possible.
If you test for Covid and the result is positive, then you should self-isolate whether or not you have symptoms.
Self-isolation can now be terminated after seven days, following two negative lateral flow tests performed 24 hours apart. The first test should not be done before the sixth day.
If you live with or have been in contact with someone with Covid-19, you will not need to self-isolate if you are fully vaccinated (this means 14 days have passed since your last dose), cannot get vaccinated for medical reasons, or are under 18 years and 6 months.
People in England who need to self-isolate could benefit from the Testing and Traceability Support Payment program if they have low income or are receiving specific state benefits.
A parent or guardian of a self-isolating child or adolescent may also be eligible.
Those who enjoy benefits, including universal credit, may be able to get paid.
The discretionary amount is available to those who currently receive (or are the partner of a person in the same household who receives), at least one of the following benefits:
- Universal Credit
- Labor Tax Credit
- Employment allowance and income support
- Income-based jobseeker’s allowance
- Income support
- Housing allowance
- Pension credit
These benefits must generally be paid in addition to income from employment. You will need to show that you cannot work from home and that you will lose income due to your self-isolation.
If you don’t get any of these benefits, you may still be eligible for the money if you meet all other criteria, have a low income, and are facing financial hardship due to your isolation.
In England, the Test and Trace Support Payment program is managed by local councils. You can apply for up to 42 days after the first day of your self-isolation period.
For the request, you will need to provide:
- an NHS Test and Trace account identifier, sometimes referred to as a CTAS number
- a bank statement
- proof of employment or, if you are self-employed, proof of self-assessment statements, business income and proof that your business provides services that cannot be provided without social contact
If you are applying as a parent or guardian, you will need to provide your child’s NHS Test and Trace account ID, BirminghamLive reports.