19 October, 2020

Council confirms Test and Trace Discretionary Scheme

A new Test and Trace discretionary funding scheme to support residents in Thanet on low incomes, who don’t qualify for the mandatory support payments, is now available.

From 28 September, people are required by law to self-isolate if asked to do so. To facilitate this the Government has introduced a Test and Trace Support Payment of £500 for eligible people on a lower income, who cannot work from home and have lost income as a result of self-isolating.

Separately there is also a Discretionary Fund that will run alongside the main Test and Trace Support Payments which will be managed at a local authority level. This is for people who meet the main qualifying criteria, so are on a low income and are unable to work because they are self isolating, but who do not qualify for the Government scheme as they’re not in receipt of the qualifying benefits but will experience extreme financial hardship. This includes individuals with No Recourse to Public Funds. 

Government Test and Trace Support

In Thanet, individuals will be entitled to a Test and Trace Support payment if they 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 and

  • Are employed or self-employed;
  • Are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result;
  • And are 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.

Thanet Discretionary Fund

To be considered for a Discretionary payment applicants must either: be awaiting a decision on a claim for benefit, have no recourse to public funds, or be at risk of suffering extreme and intolerable hardship. 

In order to qualify for the payments residents need to complete an income and expenditure eligibility form which is available on our website. If the form indicates that the person applying would be suffering extreme hardship then we will make an award. 

The total number of people that will be eligible to receive help via the Discretionary Scheme is limited by the amount of funding available. To ensure that the assessments are undertaken fairly, pre-existing methodology and processes will be applied.

Leader of Thanet District Council, Cllr Rick Everitt said: “We welcome confirmation from Government that in addition to the statutory payments there is also a small discretionary fund. However, the amount that has been made available will only go so far. We’ve been allocated enough to make just over 90 discretionary payments in total. We hope that being able to offer some people this additional support will make a real difference in this difficult time. The criteria we’ve put in place for this aims to be as clear and as fair as possible so that people don’t slip through the net. 

“At present the number of cases locally hasn’t risen at the speed seen in other parts of the UK and we hope it remains this way. It is however vital for us all to remain vigilant, to observe the rules around keeping our distance, wearing face coverings and good hand hygiene.” 

The scheme for the delivery of the Discretionary Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme has been developed in line with guidance issued by the Department of Health and Social Care and will run until 31 January 2021. Anyone who has been advised to self-isolate by the NHS and needs to apply for this payment can now do so on our website.

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