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Luton Borough Council

I need financial support

For help and advice on claiming benefits, making a change to your claim and more, please see our benefits help section.​​
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The Citizens Advice website has the latest information and advice relating to:
  • going to work​
  • if you're off sick or told to stay home becau​se of coronavirus
  • if you're self-employed
  • if you're claiming benefits​
  • if you can’t pay your rent
Also see:​​
Luton advice can also help with benefits and family mediation. You can contact them on 01582 453372​ or [email protected].

Having difficulty paying your Council Tax?

See the money saving tips page for more help

Council tax hardship fund

People of working age who receive council tax reduction (CTR) will receive a maximum of £150 per household (on top of their existing CTR).

More about the Council tax hardship fund

Test and Trace support payments

If you've been told by the NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate because you have either tested positive for coronavirus or you've been in contact with someone who has tested positive, you may be entitled to some financial support during your self-isolation period. The notification will come with an 8 letter unique identifier, and is not part of the NHS ‘App’ notification scheme.
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This payment is designed to support people on low incomes if they cannot work from home and will lose income as a result of self-isolating and to encourage people to get tested for if they have symptoms. This is important to help stop the transmission of COVID-19 and avoid further economic and social restrictions.
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The scheme will last until 31 March 2021.
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Following the Government announcement the self -isolation payment scheme will be extended and will be changed to include parents or guardians who lose earned income because they are looking after a child that has been told to self-isolate.

At this moment in time we have no further information about these changes so recommend you visit this web page weekly for further updates including which date the changes will take place and how parents and guardians can apply.

As from the 10 December 2020 if you have received notification via the Covid19 App please open the Covid-19 PDF Document at the botto​m of this page to see what steps you need to take. Please note without having taken the steps you will not be able to apply for a self-isolation payment.

What is a self-isolate support payment?

If you live in the borough of Luton and received notification from NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate, (not the NHS App notification), you will be entitled to a Test and Trace support payment of £500 if you:
  • have fully engaged with the NHS Test and Trace tracking scheme and completed the contact tracing on line questionnaire within 8 hours of receiving the message to self- isolate or have completed the questions over the phone with the NHS Test and Trace national or local team.
  • comply with the NHS Test and Trace notification to self-isolate
  • are employed or self-employed
  • are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result
  • you or a partner in the household are currently receiving one of the following:
    • Universal Credit
    • Working Tax Credit
    • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
    • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
    • Income Support
    • Housing Benefit
    • Pension Credit

To be eligible an application must be received by us within 28 calendar days after the first day of self -isolation and must include proofs to verify eligibility. Applications received outside this timeframe will be invalid.​

Please note: this payment will not reduce any welfare benefit entitlement but is subject to Income Tax.

What do I need to do to comply with the NHS Test and Trace notification to self-isolate?

If you receive a self-isolation payment you must self-isolate as requested by NHS Test and Trace.

Please visit the NHS Test and Trace website for more details of the NHS Test and Trace self-isolation requirements for those:

Who is not eligible to apply for a Test and Trace Support Payment?

You will not be eligible for the scheme if you:
  • have not fully engaged with the NHS Test and Trace tracking scheme (Local Authorities will be notified by NHS Test & Trace via the Eligibility checker if a person has engaged. Where there is no engagement a payment will not be made)
  • are quarantining after travelling abroad (unless you test positive during the 14-day quarantine period).
  • continue to receive full wages while you self-isolate
  • can work from home during a period of self-isolation
  • have not received a notification from NHS Test and Trace telling you to self-isolate
  • are on furlough and not working reduced hours or a second job while furloughed
  • were notified to self-isolate before 28 September 2020
Where an application is refused due to not meeting the criteria there is no right of appeal.

Local Discretionary Support Payment

A discretionary £500 lump sum payment in exceptional circumstances may be available if you meet the main qualifying criteria for the Test and Trace support payment as detailed above and are:
  • a low-income worker who is unable to work because they are self-isolating
  • not in receipt of qualifying benefits and will suffer financial hardship as a result of not being able to work and are in receipt of one of the following
    • Child tax Credit and Child benefit
    • Council Tax Reduction

    or

    • are a Luton care leaver aged 18 to 25
    • are in employment but have no recourse to public funds
    • Are waiting to hear about a benefit application

You will need to provide proof of the above to support a discretionary application.

Where an applicant is eligible for the payment we will email or call them to confirm Where an application is declined as the criteria has not been met we will email or call the applicant to advise them of our decision.

Where a discretionary application is refused there is no right of appeal.

Can I help someone else make an application, or make an application on their behalf?

You can help someone else complete the online application, or complete it for them but
 
However, you cannot receive payments on behalf of someone else. Payments will only be made to the person who has been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace.

How the support payment will be paid

We intend to make payments within five working days of an application being approved. It can only be made into the account of the person who has been to​ld to self- isolate.

The account must be able to receive BACS payments.

The bank statement you provide must match the details entered on the application form and show:

  • name of account holder
  • bank sort code
  • bank account number

What if my account is overdrawn?

If you know that your account is overdrawn and to avoid any wage or benefit being taken as soon as we have deposited payment into your account, you could exercise your ‘first right of appropriation’.

This is a temporary measure under common law, allowing you to earmark funds for specific essential bills, such as your:

  • rent
  • mortgage
  • gas or electricity

You will need to put this request in writing to your bank or building society and list the bills you wish to pay. For more information on your rights and a template letter, visit the National Debtline's Sample letter webpage.

Please note: we cannot get involved in disputes between account holders and their banks.

Fraud prevention measures

The government is supporting local councils to make the necessary checks to ensure payments can be verified and have been made correctly.

We reserve the right to recover money where the recipient fails to comply with the self-isolation guidance and/or where fraud is detected. We will notify the police as well as seek to recover the money.

Data sharing

We will use your data for the processing of your Test and Trace Support payment application.

To validate your bank account details, we need to share relevant information you've given us with TransUnion. This will be used to ensure your support payment is paid to the correct bank account and to help prevent fraudulent use of support payments.

This is not a credit check and won't impact your credit rating.

Please visit the TransUnion website for more information on how TransUnion may use your data.

In completing the application form, you're providing consent for us to access your:

  • coronavirus testing and contract tracing information via Public Health England
  • benefits and earnings data via the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), HMRC or your employer

We may check the information you provide, or the information about you which somebody else provides, with other details we hold.

Where permitted by law, we may also receive information from other people or organisations or give information to them to check the accuracy of records, to prevent or detect crime, or to protect public funds in other ways.

All information is processed in accordance with our data protection policy.

We never sell your data to third parties or use it for marketing purposes without your consent.

Before you start

You'll need the following information to complete this form:
  • copy of a recent bank statement from the account you have requested payment is made into
  • copy of the NHS Test and Trace notification you received - this can be a photo of the letter or email, but it must clearly show the date you received the notification and the Test and Trace ID your 8-digit NHS Test and Trace reference
  • recent wage slip or your latest bank statement (issued in the last two months) showing your earnings being paid in - photos of these documents are acceptable)
  • proof of self-employment such as:
    • recent business bank statement (issued in the last two months)
    • most recent set of accounts
    • evidence of self-assessment returns to HMRC or DWP
  • your National Insurance number 
Please read the guide and procedures PDF document below, as it contains important information about the scheme that can affect your application

How to apply

Apply for Test and Trace Support payment​​ ​​​​​​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​​​​​​

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© 2021 Luton Council, Town Hall, Luton LU1 2BQ