Universal Credit UK: Government extends £500 Test and Trace – are you eligible? | Personal Finance | Finance


Universal Credit payments are available to those who are on a low income or individuals who are out of work. The benefits system, overseen by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), has been relied upon by millions throughout the coronavirus crisis, and has provide important financial help. But as a result of the pandemic, the government has recognised certain situations where some may need more aid.

In the height of the crisis, working with the NHS, the government set up the Test and Trace payment scheme to help those forced to self-isolate.

The scheme offers £500 to eligible people n England who are told they need to self-isolate after coming into contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19.

While the scheme was scheduled to come to an end this month, there has been an important development.

The Department of Health and Social Care has now confirmed this support will be extended until March 31, 2021, to help those who need it.

READ MORE: State pension payments will increase for married women this year

While Universal Credit claimants will be able to unlock payments, there are also others who will also be entitled, including:

  • Working Tax Credit
  • income-based Employment and Support Allowance
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Housing Benefit
  • Pension Credit

People can make a claim for the £500 sum up to 14 days after their period of self-isolation has ended.

To apply, individuals will need to contact their local authority which oversees the payments. 

They will need to provide certain information to support their claim, such as an NHS Test and Trace Account ID, proof of receipt of a qualifying benefit, and a bank statement.

In addition, they will need to show proof of employment, or, if self-employed, evidence of Self Assessment returns. 

Employed people will not have the payment taxed, but self-employed recipients will need to report this payment on their 2020/21 Self Assessment tax return. 

The announcement of the extension of the scheme comes as NHS Test and Trace reached one million people over the new year, with record numbers testing positive.

More the one million people were told to self-isolate during the first week of 2021.

Health Minister, Lord Bethell, commented on the matter.

He said: “NHS Test and Trace is delivering an essential and impressive service. It is truly extraordinary that a service that was only established last spring could now have contacted more than one million people in a single week, telling them to self-isolate and protect those around them.

“Although the rates of infection are continuing to rise, there can be no doubt that the rates would have increased by much more if NHS Test and Trace had not tested the 2.6 million people it provided tests to, or contacted such a large proportion of those who tested positive.

“I want to pay thanks to the efforts and dedication of everybody involved.”

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