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£500 payments designed to help everyone comply with isolation rules

Portsmouth residents who are facing serious financial hardship as a result of self-isolating are being encouraged to apply for a £500 test and trace support payment. The lump sum payments are available to those who have been told to stay at home by NHS Test and Trace, are in work but facing a loss of income as they can’t work from home, and are currently receiving benefits payments.

Making sure everyone who has coronavirus symptoms or has been contacted by NHS Test and Trace self-isolates is vital to help stop the spread of coronavirus and protect the most vulnerable. Those who don’t isolate when they should could also face fines if they fail to stay at home.

Eligible residents can apply online for the test and trace support payments on the Portsmouth City Council website at portsmouth.gov.uk/testandtracepayments.  Those who are not online can call 02392 616708 for help with their application.

Cllr Matthew Winnington, Portsmouth City Council’s Cabinet Member for Health, Wellbeing and Social Care, comments: “These payments will help those in Portsmouth who are most at risk of serious financial difficulty when they need to self-isolate. If you’re on a low income, can’t do your job from home, and will lose wages as a result, these payments may be able to help. Staying at home if you have coronavirus or are asked to by NHS contact tracers is one of the best things you can do to help keep the infection rate in Portsmouth low. If you’re struggling as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, there is also lots of other practical help, advice and support available across the city.”

In exceptional circumstances, Portsmouth City Council can make a discretionary £500 payment to residents who do not meet all the qualifying criteria for test and trace support payments but are still facing serious financial hardship as a consequence of self-isolating.

Helen Atkinson, Director of Public Health, Portsmouth City Council, comments: “Self-isolating is one of the most effective things we can do to limit the spread of coronavirus in Portsmouth. Anyone with coronavirus symptoms should self-isolate straight away and arrange to have a test. If you’re asked to stay at home because NHS Test and Trace has identified you as a close contact of someone who has tested positive it’s really important that you follow the guidance on self-isolation – you should not go to work or other public places, including to the shops or on public transport, until your period of isolation has officially finished.”

To qualify for a £500 test and trace payment you must:

  • have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace since 28 September
  • be employed or self-employed but unable to work from home
  • face a loss income as a result of self-isolating
  • be receiving Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit.

To check whether you’re eligible and to apply for a test and trace support payment visit: www.portsmouth.gov.uk/testandtracepayments. If you’re not online you can call 02392 616708 for help with your application.

To find up-to-date coronavirus safety advice as well as information on where to go for practical help, money advice and support services visit www.portsmouth.gov.uk/coronavirus or call 023 9283 4092 (9am – 4pm Monday to Friday).