From 28 September 2020, individuals will be required by law to self-isolate if:

  • they test positive for COVID-19, or
  • they have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive by the NHS Test & Trace scheme. Please note that since 16 August 2021 there are exceptions to this.

To support people on low incomes the government has set up the Test &Trace Support Payment Scheme

These payments are designed to help people who have tested positive for COVID-19.

From 8 March 2021 these payments also cover parents or carers of children who have been asked to self isolate by the NHS Test, Trace, Protect service (TTP) or their school or childcare provider. 

These payments are also designed to encourage individuals who are eligible for this payment to get tested if they have symptoms. This is important to stop the transmission of COVID-19 and avoid further economic and social restrictions.

From 16 August 2021, people who are fully vaccinated and who are indentifed as contacts will no longer be required to self-isolate. This means that fully vaccinated contacts are not eligible to claim from this date, unless they test positive. If you test positive you will become eligible.

From this date, anyone under 18 who is a contact will also be exempt from self-isolation. This means that most parents and guardians will be ineligible if their child is identified as a contact, as the child will no longer be required to self-isolate. Children who have tested positive will still be required to isolate, their parents and guardians will still be eligible, regardless of whether they are fully vaccinated (as they may need to stay home and look after their child).

These payments are subject to income tax. They are not subject to national insurance contributions.

How to apply

Applications should be made online within 42 days of receiving a notification from NHS Test & Trace. You will be asked to upload evidence to support your application. Please note that you must be able to demonstrate that you have engaged with Test and Trace before you can apply.

Apply for test and trace self isolation payments

Am I eligible?

Eligibility for a standard £500 Test & Trace Support Payment is restricted to people who meet all of the following:

  • Have been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test & Trace, either because they have tested positive for coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive and are required to self isolate. (Please note that the requirement to self-isolate changed on 16 August 2021 as per above)
  • Are employed or self-employed;
  • Are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result; and
  • Are currently receiving one of the following benefits:
    • Universal credit
    • Working tax credit
    • Income based employment and support allowance
    • Income based job seekers allowance
    • Income support
    • Housing benefit 
    • Pension credit

Individuals not in receipt of one of the qualifying benefits may apply for a payment under the Discretionary scheme. These individuals will need to demonstrate that they are on a low income and will suffer financial hardship as a result of having to self-isolate.

From 8 March 2021 this will also include people who meet the following criteria

  • you are 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.

  • you meet the eligibility criteria for a Test and Trace Support Payment or discretionary payment as mentioned at the top of this section. However, you will not have been required to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, or identified as a close contact by the NHS COVID-19 App. That criteria should be met by the child or young person.

  • the child or young person you are caring for is 15 or under and normally attends an education or childcare setting, or be aged between 16 and 25 and have an Education, Health and Care Plan.

  • the child or young person 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.

  • the child or young person is not continuing to attend their education or care setting when they should be self-isolating.

Please note that this is limited to one parent or guardian per household for the child or young person's self-isolation period.


Who is not eligible?

You will not be eligible for the scheme if you:

  • Are quarantining after travelling abroad (unless you test positive during the 14 day quarantine period)
  • Continue to receive full wages while you self-isolate
  • You are fully vaccinated and identified as a contact (however if you test positive you will become eligible)

You will not be eligible to claim in respect of a child or young person if

  • You are a parent or guardian of a child or young person who is self-isolating with symptoms.

  • You are a parent or guardian who has a job that can normally be done from home but  needs to take time off to care for a child or young person.

  • You are a parent or guardian of a child or young person who was self-isolating on 8 March 2021 but whose period of self-isolation began before the 8 March 2021.

  • You are a parent or guardian who has taken time off work because the education or care setting has closed.

  • Your application overlaps with another period of self-isolation that a payment has already been awarded for. This applies irrespective of whether the parent or guardian is claiming twice for the same child, or for two different children.


Further information and the NHS Covid-19 App

An update to the NHS Covid-19 contact-tracing app for England and Wales means that people can now apply for a payment of £500 under the Test and Trace Payment Support Scheme provided they have been notified by contact tracers or the app to self-isolate and that you meet the eligibility criteria

For further information please read   The Government's test and trace guidance .

For a video tutorial, please view   how to use the NHS Covid-19 app

Please note that you will require v 4.0 of this app to use the service.