Test and Trace financial support scheme launched

Fenland residents facing financial difficulties while self-isolating due to coronavirus can now apply for a £500 support payment.

Anyone who tests positive for Covid-19 or the NHS Test and Trace service has identified as being a contact of someone with the virus is required by law to self-isolate.

The Government has now introduced a new Test and Trace Support payment for those on low incomes who cannot work from home if they are self-isolating and lose income as a result.

The £500 lump sum payments are being administered by Fenland District Council, which has launched an online application form for residents at www.fenland.gov.uk/testandtracepayment.

Cllr Chris Boden, leader of Fenland District Council and its Portfolio Holder for Finance, said: “While our area has a low number of cases compared to other parts of the UK, coronavirus is still a threat, particularly to vulnerable people, so it’s vital we all continue to do our bit to reduce the spread and to protect our vulnerable friends, families and communities.”

He added: “Self-isolating when required to do as per Government guidance is a pivotal part of controlling the spread of the virus but we know this can cause difficulties for those who face financial hardship as a result of not being able to work.

“These support payments will help ensure that no-one is unfairly disadvantaged as a result of staying at home and doing the right thing.”

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To be eligible for the Test and Trace support payment, residents must:-

• Have been asked to 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

• Be employed or self-employed

• Be unable to work from home and will lose income as a result

• Be currently receiving one of the following benefits: Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit.

The council has also launched a discretionary scheme for low-income residents who are required to self-isolate but do not currently receive benefits.

The scheme’s payments are available until January 31, 2021.