Test and Trace Support Payments: Discretionary Policy Guidelines

2. Overview of Test and Trace Payments

City of Lincoln Council Logo, North Kesteven District Council logo, LiNK logo

From 28th September 2020, local authorities can make a £500 discretionary payment to individuals, if they meet all of the following criteria:

  • Have been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, either because they have tested positive for coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive;
  • Are employed or self-employed; and
  • Are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result. In addition, a discretionary payment is for people:
  • Who are not currently receiving Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit; and
  • Who are on low incomes and will face financial hardship as a result of not being able to work while they are self-isolating.

Local authorities may also introduce local criteria for their discretionary scheme.

The Revenues and Benefits Shared Service for City of Lincoln Council and North Kesteven District Council – known as ‘LiNK’ – will, as part of this process, check to see if the applicant is entitled to any of the above qualifying benefits if they apply for a discretionary test and trace payment, - as they may then potentially be eligible for a mandatory Test and Trace Support Payment.

This discretionary payment is designed to support people on low incomes who are not in receipt of the listed benefits for mandatory Test and Trace Support Payments, if they will lose income as a result of self-isolating, and to encourage them to get tested if they have symptoms. This is important to help stop the transmission of COVID-19 and avoid further economic and societal restrictions.

These discretionary payments are available from 28th September 2020, and LiNK has arrangements in place to administer these. The schemes – mandatory and discretionary – will last until 31st March 2021.