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Council launches track and trace payment scheme

West Berkshire Council is enabling the processing and payment of applications for a £500 support payment from today after the government announced a Test and Trace Support Payment scheme, designed to financially support people on low incomes, who are required to self-isolate when they receive a positive test result.

Anyone who meets the eligibility criteria and is asked to self-isolate on or after 28 September 2020 will be entitled to make a claim and payments will be backdated to this date. A claim can be made once every 14 days, for each period of self-isolation required. All eligibility criteria must be met and supporting evidence provided.

This will apply to those who started to self-isolate from 28 September 2020 onwards. Applications will start to be processed from 12 October 2020, but those who started to self-isolate from 28 September 2020 can get payments backdated. The scheme will run until 31 January 2021.

The Council say they are still awaiting the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) searchlight confirmation and, subject to finalisation from Government, but expect to commence assessing claims from Friday onwards.

Cllr Joanne Stewart, West Berkshire Council’s Executive Member for internal Governance, said: “This financial support will help our residents to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. We are putting in place an online application process for our residents to use from a variety of devices, but we will also have the ability for residents to call us if they cannot access us online. By helping people to self-isolate, it helps prevent family, friends and the community from contracting coronavirus, as well as helping to protect the health and care system”.

Individuals who are required to self-isolate and who meet the benefits-linked eligibility criteria will be entitled to £500. This will be payable as a lump sum. These payments will be subject to income tax. They will not be subject to National Insurance contributions.

In order to be eligible for this new £500 payment:

  • You must have been asked to self-isolate by the NHS Test and Trace Service.

  • You must either be employed or self-employed.

  • You cannot work from home and will lose income as a result.

  • You are claiming at least one of the following benefits: Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, income-based jobseeker's Allowance, Income Support, Pension Credit or Housing Benefit.

For more information visit: https://www.westberks.gov.uk/testandtracesupport

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