Test and Trace Support Payments: Discretionary Policy Guidelines

5. Pre-Payment Checks

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

LiNK will carry out the following main pre-payment checks. These are to verify that each applicant:

  • Has been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace;
  • Is employed or self-employed and will lose income because they cannot work from home;
  • Is facing financial hardship as a result of not being able to work while they are self-isolating;
  • That the applicant has savings/capital of less than £1,000.

Applicants who have applied for benefits but are not yet receiving them, or have an outstanding appeal against a decision not to award them a benefit

If the applicant meets all the other eligibility criteria for a mandatory Test and Trace Payment but is not yet in receipt of one of the qualifying benefits, LiNK will consider making a discretionary payment, rather than wait for the applicant to receive the qualifying benefit to be eligible for a mandatory payment.

Checking that an applicant has been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace

Only people who have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace can claim a discretionary Test and Trace Support Payment.  To check this, LiNK will use data provided from the Contact Tracing and Advice Service (CTAS) system through the ‘Eligibility Checker’ process in place.

Applicants may try to provide a notification from the NHS Isolation Note service rather than NHS Test and Trace. If this happens, LiNK will not reject their application, but give them an opportunity to provide a valid NHS Test and Trace notification if they have one.

Checking that an applicant is employed or self-employed and will lose income because they cannot work from home

The application process asks applicants about the nature of their work and whether they can do this work from home, and whether they are employed or self-employed.  These questions should be asked in relation to applicants confirming whether they will lose income while self-isolating.

For applicants who are self-employed, LiNK will confirm they are satisfied with the evidence of self-assessment returns and trading income provided by the applicant.

Checking that an applicant will lose income because they cannot work from home

The application form asks applicants to confirm both that they cannot work from home while they are self-isolating and that they will have a reduction in earned income because they are self-isolating.

As long as someone meets the other eligibility criteria and is losing income because they have been told to self-isolate and cannot work from home, they may be eligible for a discretionary payment. So, for example:

  • Someone with a single job whose employer continued to pay them a full wage while they self-isolated would not be eligible.
  • Someone whose employer paid them a reduced wage while they self-isolated would be eligible (they have lost income).
  • Someone with two part-time jobs who continued to be paid a full wage by one employer, but whose other employer did not pay them while self-isolating, would be eligible.