Find out about the support payment if you're required to self-isolate due to Covid-19 (coronavirus)
About the support payment
We are currently receiving an extremely high number of applications for the Test and Trace Support Payment. Many of these do not meet the eligibility criteria. To ensure we can get this urgent help to the people who need it as quickly as possible please only apply if you meet the criteria below.
If you have applied and are waiting to hear please be aware there may be a delay in reviewing your application, but we will look at it as soon as possible.
From 16 August 2021 you cannot receive the payment if you are a close contact of someone who has tested positive and you have been fully vaccinated. More information is below.
A £500 Test and Trace Support Payment is available for certain people claiming qualifying benefits or on a low income who are required by NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate to avoid coronavirus transmission.
The payment is available to people who are instructed by NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate because they have either tested positive for COVID-19, or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus but who have not been fully vaccinated, who also meet the qualifying criteria.
People who have been identified as a close contact via the NHS Covid-19 app (rather than by NHS Test and Trace) on or after 10 December 2020 can now also apply for the Test and Trace Support Payment.
From 16 August 2021 people who are fully vaccinated are not required to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for Covid-19. These people cannot claim the Test and Trace Support payment.
You can find more information on self-isolation on the GOV.UK (Stay at home guidance) website.
The Test and Trace Support payment scheme will close on 30 September 2021.
Who can claim
If you're required to self-isolate, are working and on a low-income or claiming certain benefits, you could be eligible for a £500 payment.
If you've received notification from NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate because you have tested positive, or you have been identified as a close contact by the NHS Covid-19 app and have not been fully vaccinated, you'll be entitled to a self-isolation payment if you meet all the requirements below:
- comply with the notification from NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate
- be employed or self-employed
- be unable to work from home and will lose income as a result, and:
- be in receipt of one of the qualifying benefits listed below, or have applied for one of the benefits and be waiting to hear about your claim*, or
- have a total household income below the minimum income earnings level and savings below the threshold
The qualifying benefits are:
- Universal Credit
- Working Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Housing Benefit
- Income Support
- Income based Job Seeker’s Allowance
- Pension Credit
- Council Tax Support
* You may also be eligible if you are the partner of someone who has applied for, or is in receipt of, one of the qualifying benefits.
The minimum income standard for household gross earnings are:
- £50,000 for a family
- £40,000 for a couple with no children
- £30,000 for a single person
You must also have savings of less than £10,000.
Caring for a child or young person who has to self-isolate
From 8 March 2021, parents or guardians who are not legally required to self-isolate can apply for a Test and Trace Support Payment or discretionary payment if they need to take time off work to care for a child or young person in the same household who is required to self-isolate as they have tested positive for Covid-19. You can also claim if you need to care for a young person aged 18-25 who has been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for Covid-19, is not fully vaccinated and who has an Education, Health and Care Plan.
This only applies for times when the child or young person would normally be attending their school or childcare setting. The payment cannot be claimed during the school holidays, or for times when the child or young person was not due to attend their childcare setting.
From 16 August 2021 anyone under 18 is exempt from self-isolation if they are identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive. Anyone under 18 who has tested positive themselves must still self-isolate.
Applicants must meet all the criteria below:
- they're the parent or guardian of a child or young person in the same household who has tested positive for Covid-19 and need to take time off work to care for them while they self-isolate. This is limited to one parent or guardian per household for the child or young person’s self-isolation period
- they're employed or self-employed
- they can't work from home while undertaking caring responsibilities and will lose income as a result
- they meet all the other means-tested eligibility criteria for a Test and Trace Support Payment or locally determined criteria for a discretionary payment
And their child or young person:
- is aged 15 or under and normally attends an education or childcare setting, and has tested positive for Covid-19, or
- is aged 18-25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan, has not been fully vaccinated and has been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for Covid-19
Who can't claim
You won't be eligible for the scheme if you:
- have not received a notification from NHS Test and Trace telling you to self-isolate, or have not been identified as a close contact by the NHS Covid-19 app
- no longer need to self-isolate as you have been fully vaccinated
- 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
- are no longer required to self-isolate (for example, if your period of self-isolation ended before the scheme launched on the 28 September)
- are not claiming one of the qualifying benefits or your household earnings and/or savings are above the minimum level
Apply for the support payment
You can apply for the support payment by completing our online application.
You must apply for the payment within 42 days of your self-isolation period starting.
Please do not apply if you don't meet the criteria. Your application will automatically be rejected.
To apply you'll need:
- your ID number provided by NHS Test and Trace
- your National Insurance number
- a copy of your latest bank statement, issued within the last two months and clearly showing your proof of earnings
- proof of self-employment, for example, a recent business bank statement (within the last two months), most recent set of accounts or evidence of self-assessment returns
The NHS Test and Trace Enquiries and Complaints Service can help with questions and disputes about self-isolation. They can be contacted by calling 119.
Please note they will not be able to help with queries about individual applications for the Test and Trace Support Payment, and they will not be able to disclose your CTAS number.
Fraud and penalties
If you falsify any information to obtain the payment, you may face prosecution. Any payment made as a result of fraud may be subject to claw back, as well as any grants paid in error.
As well as new support measures, from 28 September, you could also be fined if you do not stay at home and self-isolate following:
- a positive test result for Covid-19
- contact from NHS Test and Trace instructing you to self-isolate because you're a contact of someone who has had a positive test result
From this date, if you test positive for Covid-19, it will also be an offence to knowingly provide false information about your close contacts to NHS Test and Trace. Failure to comply with these requirements may result in a fine of up to £10,000.
You can view our Self-Isolation Payment Privacy Notice.