Benefits and assistance

Test and trace (self-isolation) support payment

Extra financial help is available if you are on a low income, cannot work from home and are required to self-isolate after a positive coronavirus test result, or, because you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive.

The government will pay a taxable sum of £500, (back dated to 28 September) if you:

  • have been asked to self-isolate by the NHS Test and Trace service, either because you've tested positive for the coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive
  • are employed or self-employed
  • are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result
  • are currently receiving one of the following benefits: Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit or Pension Credit

You need to meet all four criteria to be eligible for the payment and must provide evidence.

You can't get the payment if you are self-isolating/quarantining because you have returned from a trip abroad or if your income is lower than usual because you are furloughed.

Claims for the payment can be made up to 14 days after your period of self-isolation ends and the scheme will stay open until 31 January 2021.

When you apply for the payment you will be required to provide the following supporting evidence:

  • a notification from the NHS Test and Trace service asking you to self-isolate (this will include a unique ID number)
  • a bank statement
  • evidence of your employment status and that your income will reduce as a result of self-isolation, or, evidence you are self-employed (such as your latest self-assessment tax return) and evidence that your business provides services which cannot be undertaken without social contact

Help we may be able to give you

If you meet the first three criteria in the list at the top of the page, but are not in receipt of a qualifying benefit, we may still able to help you through our own discretionary support scheme.

The money available is limited but we will consider your application if:

  • your normal, before-tax earnings, are between £80 and £280 per week
  • you don't have any savings (capital) exceeding £6,000
  • you have applied for a qualifying benefit but have not yet received a decision (or you have appealed)
  • you can demonstrate, and evidence, that you have suffered/are suffering financial hardship by having to self-isolate

Apply now

View the full details of the test and trace support payments scheme.

View the full details of our discretionary support payments scheme.

Your data

As part of the application process, we may need to check any data you provide to us against other information that we hold about you. We may also receive information from other parties or organisations, or share your data with them, to check the accuracy of records. This includes the NHS Test and Trace service (CTAS) and the Department for Work and Pensions. This will enable us to prevent or detect crime, or to protect public funds in other ways where the law allows.

We will also need to provide information to HMRC about any payments we make as they are subject to income tax. If you are self-employed, you will need to declare the payment on your self-assessment tax return.

Read our privacy notice for details of how we will process your data.


Changes to housing benefit because of the coronavirus pandemic

The government has made changes to benefits as a result of the coronavirus pandemic to provide additional financial support to people who need it the most.

Local housing allowance rates (LHA)

If you rent your property from a private landlord, the local housing allowance rates (LHA) that we use to work out how much housing benefit we can pay, have been increased. If your rent was previously being restricted by the LHA rate, you will now be entitled to an increase in housing benefit.

View or download the new local housing allowance rates

‘Earned income disregard’

The weekly amount of earned income we can disregard during the calculation of housing benefit has increased to £37.10 for some people who are in work.

This means you may be awarded a higher level of housing benefit from 6 April 2020 to 4 April 2021 if you:

  • work at least 30 hours a week and are aged over 25
  • work at least 16 hours a week and have children, are sick or disabled or are aged over 50.

If your housing benefit has altered as a result of one or both of these changes, you will have automatically received a letter from us explaining your new entitlement.


View your benefits claim online

If you have a claim for housing benefit or council tax reduction you can now view your claim details online.

You will be able to:

  • check the status of your claim and your current entitlement
  • view household and income details included in your claim
  • contact us and tell us of a change

Your account details are held securely, so to access them you will need to register or sign in to your My Harrogate customer account. Once you are signed in, go to the My accounts tab to add access to your benefits claim. You will need your benefits claim reference which can be found on your latest award notice or any correspondence about your claim.

Register or sign in