Find out about the support payment if you're required to self-isolate due to Covid-19 (coronavirus)
About the support payment
The government has introduced a £500 Test and Trace Support Payment for certain people claiming qualifying benefits 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, or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus, who also meet the qualifying criteria. These changes came into effect from 28 September 2020, alongside the legal requirement to self-isolate.
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.
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 June 2021.
Who can claim
If you're working, are on a low-income, are required to self-isolate, and 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 are a close contact of someone who has tested positive), or you have been identified as a close contact by the NHS Covid-19 app, you'll be entitled to a self-isolation payment if you meet all four 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
- 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*
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.
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.
Applicants must meet all the criteria below:
- they're the parent or guardian of a child or young person in the same household 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 (or 25 or under with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC)) and normally attends an education or childcare setting
- has been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or by their education or childcare setting because they have 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
- 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
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. The 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 you should contact us if you have a query.
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.