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Date updated: 10/05/2021

This page contains information on accessing food, medicine, money and other essentials if you are struggling to access them.

If you cannot work from home, plan your journey to avoid crowds. Visit the work and financial support web page or the COVID-19: what to do if you’re employed and cannot work page on the Government website for more information.

Click on the below menus to find out what support is available.

Self-isolation (Test and Trace) Payments

The government introduced a scheme in September 2020 which provides a £500 payment for some people who are required to self-isolate.

In some circumstances, if you are required by law to self-isolate or you are the parent or guardian of a child or young person who is required to self-isolate, you may be eligible to receive a payment of £500, payable by the City Corporation.

The ‘main’ Test and Trace Support Payment is for people who live in England and:

  • have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app because they have tested positive for COVID-19

or

  • have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app because they have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive, and they are not fully vaccinated

and

  • have responded to messages from NHS Test and Trace and have provided any legally required information, such as details of their close contacts
  • are employed or self-employed
  • are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result of self-isolating
  • are currently receiving, or are the partner in the same household as someone 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
    • Pension Credit

A parent or guardian of a young person who is required to self-isolate may be eligible for a ‘main’ payment if they live in England and meet the following criteria (even if they are fully vaccinated):

  • they are the parent or guardian of a young person in the same household who is self-isolating and need to take time off work to care for them
  • they are unable to work from home and will lose income
  • the young person has
    • tested positive for COVID-19 and is aged 15 or under, or aged 25 or under with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan
    • been identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19 (by NHS Test and Trace, their education or care setting or the NHS COVID-19 app), is aged 18-25, is not fully vaccinated and has an EHC Plan

Discretionary Test and Trace Support Payments

Discretionary Test and Trace Support Payments are for people who live in England and meet all of the requirements of the main scheme but are not in receipt of a qualifying benefit and are on a low income and will face hardship as a result of self-isolating.

Discretionary awards will be made on a case by case basis. Please provide supporting evidence if requesting a discretionary award such as proof of your day to day expenses and any other information relating to your financial hardship.

Notified by NHS COVID-19 App

If you have been advised to self-isolate by the NHS COVID-19 App, you will need to follow the link on the app for Financial Support in order to register with NHS Test and Trace. This link will only be available for the period you have been asked to self-isolate for. You must download the latest version of the app in order to get this option.

Please visit the More Information on NHS Test and Trace Support Payments for information about how to register with NHS Test and Trace using the NHS COVID-19 app.

Please note that if you do not live in the City of London you must apply for this payment from the local authority where you live.

Who cannot get the Test and Trace Support Payment?

  • Applicants who are self-isolating who have not been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace
  • Applicants who are quarantining after returning to the UK

The Test and Trace Support Payment scheme does not cover people who are self-isolating after returning to the UK from abroad, unless they have tested positive for Coronavirus or have been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace and are not fully vaccinated.

How much is the payment?

Eligible applicants will receive a one-off payment of £500

How will this payment be made?

Payments will be made by BACS payment. The payment must be made into your own bank account. When you make your application you will be asked to provide a bank statement. Payments will be made to this account.

What if my account is overdrawn?

You can protect your payments by telling your bank how you want a payment to be used. This protection is called a 'first right of appropriation of funds order'.

What does First Right of Appropriation mean? Put simply it means that when you pay money into your account, you have the right to tell the bank how you want that money to be used. You must inform them how you want the money to be used at the time of payment.

This is an example of how you might do this:

A payment of £xx will be paid into the above account on (date).

"The account is currently overdrawn. However, I need the money to meet my living costs, utilities and rent payments over the next week.

I’m giving you notice that I intend to use the ‘first right of appropriation’ to reserve the £xx for this purpose and will withdraw the sum of £xx on (date) in order to do so."

Will this payment be taxed?

This payment will be subject to income tax. It will not be subject to National Insurance contributions. HMRC will automatically collect tax from your pay through your tax code, or self-employed recipients should report the payment on their 20/21 or 21/22 Self-Assessment tax return.

How long will this be in place for?

The scheme will run until 31 March 2022.

When did this come into force?

These changes came into effect on 28 September 2020, alongside the legal duty to self-isolate. If you were instructed to self-isolate before this date you will not be eligible for a payment.

When can you apply?

Eligible individuals can make a claim from the date they are instructed to self-isolate up to 42 days after their period of self-isolation started.

Each individual who meets the criteria can apply even if living in the same household as another eligible individual.

When applying as a parent or guardian of a child only one application can be made in respect of that child.

Before you start

You will need to have the following information available in order to make your claim

  • a notification from NHS Test and Trace asking you to self-isolate (unless applying as a parent or guardian)
  • proof of receipt of one of the qualifying benefits
  • bank statements
  • proof of employment or, if self-employed, evidence of self-assessment returns, trading income and proof that your business delivers services which cannot be undertaken without social contact.
  • proof of address
  • if you are applying as a parent or guardian of a child, you will need to also provide the information below:
    • Your child’s name.
    • Your child’s date of birth.
    • The year group your child is in
    • Your child’s main address.
    • The name of your child’s education or care setting
    • Address of your child’s education or care setting
    • Phone Number and Email address:
    • Your child’s first day of self-isolation.
    • Does your child have an Education, Health and Care Plan. This is to support applications from parents and guardians of young people between 16 and 25 who have additional support needs.
    • your child’s eight-digit NHS Test and Trace ID number. This is for parents and guardians of children or young people who have received a notification directly from NHS Test and Trace telling them to self-isolate. or a communication from their child’s education or care setting,
    • evidence that the young person has an Education, Health and Care Plan

How do you apply?

Applications can be made online by completing this Test and Trace Payment form.

If you have difficulty uploading documents or have any queries please email the Benefits Team.

If you are unable to apply online, please call 020 7332 3937 and we will help you to make an application over the phone.

যদি আপনি অনলাইনে আবেদন করতে সক্ষম না হন, অনুগ্রহ করে 020 7332 3937 নম্বরে কল করুন এবং আমরা আপনাকে ফোনের মাধ্যমে একটি আবেদন করতে সাহায্য করব।

Si no puede presentar la solicitud en línea, llame al 020 7332 3937 y lo ayudaremos a hacer una solicitud por teléfono.

City Advice

If you live or study in the City of London, or live on a City Corporation estate, you can access free, confidential and impartial advice on a range of issues, including debt and employment, through the City Advice service.

They can give advice and help to apply for government benefits to help with rent, council tax and other costs. They can also see if you can get extra help from the City Corporation’s Emergency Support Scheme or access to other support.

If you or someone you know is having money worries or if you are struggling to buy essential things like food, contact City Advice.

  • Call City Advice, 10am to 5pm, Monday to Friday on 020 7392 2919
  • Email the City Advice Team

Speak with an advisor today to find out what help and support is available for you.

Support for people in hardship

The pandemic has affected people in many and often multiple ways (illness, mental health, loneliness, loss of income, etc) and, while most of us have been adversely impacted in one way or another, for some the impact has been particularly acute and has created great financial hardship.

Whilst the City Corporation’s charity, Bridge House Estates (and its grant-making arm the City Bridge Trust) has been at the forefront of offering support to London’s charitable organisations there are other funders and charities who specialise in offering financial and other support to individuals and families facing hardship. If you know of anyone who might be affected in this way please do let them know of some of the following sources of practical and financial support:

As well as these there are many other local neighbourhood schemes and initiatives (for example the SE15 Community Fund) which can offer a range of help. Often the best way to find these is via your local authority’s website (for example do a google search for “hardship funds Lambeth” or similar).

Current Housing Benefit Claimants

If you are currently receiving Housing Benefit and your income has reduced or stopped please contact the Benefits Team or call 020 7332 1343 for advice on how this change will affect your Housing Benefit entitlement and whether or not you should make a claim for Universal Credit or continue with your current claim for Housing Benefit and Tax Credits (if in payment).

Your income has stopped or ended, and you are worried about paying your rent

If you and your partner - if you have one - are both above State Pension Age you may be able to make a claim for Housing Benefit. Please contact the Benefits Team by email or call 020 7332 3937 (9:15am to 5pm, Monday to Friday) and we will arrange for a claim form to be sent to you.

Housing Benefit is being replaced by Universal Credit for working age households. This includes households where one member of a couple is below pension age.

Universal Credit

Make a claim for Universal Credit.

Universal Credit pays monthly in arrears and it can be difficult to get a claim backdated. So do not delay in making a claim.

However, if you or your partner are receiving any earned income which is due to end, it may be best to wait until the last payment has been received before submitting your claim – even if the work has ended prior to this. This is because any payments received within the monthly assessment period count as income even if they relate to a prior period.

If you need making a claim for Universal Credit, please call the Help to Claim number 0800 1448 444

Many funders, businesses and councils joined together this year and launched the London Community Response (LCR) – reacting quickly to support those hardest hit by COVID-19. This ensured those in need received the right support at the right time, from emergency supplies to longer term, flexible funding. The LCR continues to support food banks in the capital. If you would like to support the efforts, you can do so through the London Community Response support page.

If you live or study in the City of London, or live on a City Corporation estate, you can access free, confidential and impartial advice on a range of issues, including debt and employment, through the City Advice service.

City Advice are qualified to advise on:

  • Consumer and employment rights
  • Welfare benefits
  • Debt
  • Housing and legal issues
  • Relationships
  • Health and wellbeing

City Advice can also refer you to the First Love Foundation (FLF) if you need help getting food.

FLF has been transforming the lives of people in neighbouring Tower Hamlets since 2010. They provide emergency food and high-quality advice and support to help people get back on their feet, and now they are helping those who live in the City of London.

If you currently reside in a City of London Corporation estate outside of the Square Mile, please use a local food bank provision in your home borough

  • Call City Advice, 10am to 5pm, Monday to Friday on 020 7392 2919
  • Email the City Advice Team

Speak with an advisor today to find out what help and support is available for you.

If you would like to volunteer to support FLF you can find out more on the First Love Foundation website.

You can also donate food or donate money to the FLF on their website.