Universal Credit £500 bonus: Test & Trace Support Payment Scheme review due – full details

Coffey questioned on Universal Credit uplift and legacy benefits

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Universal Credit claimants and/or those on low incomes could receive additional state support if they have needed to self-isolate due to coronavirus. A £500 payment may be awarded under the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme and the Government confirmed today the long-term costs of these payments are currently being reviewed.

Test and trace support payments may be awarded to those on low incomes who are employed or self-employed but cannot work from home.

Where people in these circumstances may lose income as a result of this, they may be advised to apply for the £500 payment through the NHS test and trace service.

People who have been told to self-isolate by the NHS are legally required to do so.

This also impacts those who have a child who has been told to self-isolate.

The £500 payment, which is only awarded to those in England, can be received by those who meet all of the following criteria:

  • They’ve been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app, either because They’ve tested positive for Covid-19 or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive
  • They’ve responded to messages from NHS Test and Trace and have provided any legally required information, such as details of their close recent contacts
  • They’re employed or self-employed
  • They’re unable to work from home and will lose income as a result of self-isolating
  • They’re currently receiving or are the partner of someone in the same household who is receiving, at least 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 or Pension Credit

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It should be noted people may still be able to get the payment if they’re not on one of these benefits.

The payments can still be awarded if the person involved still meets all the other criteria, is on a low income and will face financial hardship as a result of self-isolating.

Recently, the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme was covered in Parliament as the Government was pushed on how much has been paid out.

Justin Madders, the Labour MP for Ellesmere Port and Neston, asked the following question in the commons: “To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many applications have been made to the Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme (a) in total and (b) that were successful; and what the (i) range of payments, (ii) mean payment and (iii) total amount paid out is since that scheme began.”

Today, Jo Churchill, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Department of Health and Social Care, responded to this query.

She said: “Lower tier and unitary local authorities provide information to the Department on numbers of applications made to and payments made under the Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme.

“This data is being collated and validated.

“All payments made under the scheme are at a flat rate of £500.”

The total spending on coronavirus themed measures are set to have a dramatic impact on UK taxpayers over the coming years, with the National Audit Office already showing the total estimate for state spending to be around £372billion.

Rishi Sunak addressed public debt in his recent Budget, with the Chancellor announcing underlying debt is set to rise from 88.8 percent of GDP this year to 93.8 percent next year.

It will then “peak” at 97.1 percent in 2023/4 before “stabilising” in the following years.

Rishi warned at the time that it would take the work of “many Governments, over many decades” to pay back what’s been borrowed.

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