Test and Trace Self-Isolation Support Payment

The UK government announced that from 28 September 2020 there will be a legal duty on all UK residents to self-isolate if:

  • they test positive for COVID-19; or
  • are identified by the NHS Test and Trace as a close contact

Changes to self-isolation from 16 August 2021

Fully vaccinated people (who have had two doses of the vaccine) who are identified as a close contact, will no longer need to self-isolate. This means they cannot apply for a Test and Trace Support Payment.

Anyone under 18 who is indentified as a close contact will also be exempt from self-isolation. This means that most parents and guardians will not be eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment if their child is identified as a contact, as the child will no longer need to self-isolate.

Children who have tested positive still need to self- isolate. This means their parents and guardians are still eligible for the payment, regardless of whether they are fully vaccinated (as they may need to stay at home and look after the child).

As the legal duty to self-isolate may impact the ability to earn a living, the government introduced a support payment for people on a low income who must self-isolate.  The scheme started on 28 September 2020 and is due to end on 31 March 2022.

Individuals will be entitled to a Test and Trace Isolation Support Payment of £500 if they:

  • have been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, either because they have tested positive for coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive;
  • 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:
    • Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit;
    • income-based Employment and Support Allowance;
    • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance;
    • Income Support;
    • Housing Benefit; or
    • Pension Credit

Test and Trace Self Isolation Support Payments cannot be made to applicants whose income is lower than normal because they are furloughed. The payment is for people facing a reduction in income because they cannot work while self-isolating.

If an individual is told by the NHS to self-isolate more than once, they could be entitled to another £500 payment.  A separate application must be submitted for each period of isolation.

Test and Trace Isolation Support Payments can only be made into the account of the person who has applied and been told to self-isolate.

Information and evidence needed

When making an application, we will ask the applicant for the following information and evidence:

  • Full name;
  • current address and postcode;
  • date or birth;
  • National Insurance number;
  • email address;
  • contact telephone number;
  • details of benefits received and amount;
  • details of employment or self-employment;
  • the unique NHS Test & Trace 8-digit identifier; and
  • the latest bank statement (to verify the account holder for payment)

Applications must be received no later than 42-days (6-weeks) from the start date of the isolation period

For parents and guardians who have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace

From 8 March 2021, parents or guardians who are not legally required to self-isolate can also apply for a Test and Trace Isolation Payment if:

  • they 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. This is limited to one parent or guardian per household for the child or young person’s self-isolation period.
  • they are employed or self-employed.
  • they cannot 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; and
  • the 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; or
    • tests positive for COVID-19 via a PCR test.

Children sent home from school with COVID-19 symptoms are not eligible for Test and Trace Support Payment until a PCR test gives a positive result.

Test and Trace Self Isolation Support Payments cannot be made to applicants whose income is lower than normal because they are furloughed. The payment is for individuals facing a reduction in income because they cannot work while self-isolating.

Information and evidence needed

When making an application, we will ask the applicant for the following information and evidence:

  • full name;
  • current address and postcode;
  • date or birth;
  • National Insurance number;
  • email address;
  • contact telephone number;
  • details of benefits received and amount;
  • details of employment or self-employment; and
  • the latest bank statement (to verify the account holder for payment)

and:

  • the child or young person’s NHS Test and Trace Account ID number; or
  • a communication from the child’s education or care setting; or
  • an NHS COVID-19 App screenshot plus evidence of an Education, Health and Care Plan

Applications must be received no later than 42-days (6-weeks) from the start date of the isolation period

How we will use the information (all applicants)

Information collected during the application process will be used to decide eligibility for a Test and Trace Self Isolation Support Payment.

Information will be cross matched with other data held by third-party agencies. For example, Department for Work and Pensions or Her Majesty’s Revenues and Customs.

Subject to a legal gateway, your information may also be shared for the prevention of fraud and criminal activity with:

  • Benefits (Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support)
  • Council Tax
  • the police
  • Immigration Service, Absconder Services and/or UK Border Agency
  • health and social care organisations
  • other local authorities

To find out how the information you provide on this application may be used for your service request, please see our privacy notice.

Making the payment (all applicants)

Applications will be decided within 21 days and successful applicants will be sent £500 by BACS transfer.

For applicant’s who have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, the payment must be paid into their account.

If you are overdrawn

If your bank account is overdrawn, you have a right to ask that the £500 is used to pay your bills rather than your overdraft. This is called exercising your first right of appropriation.

If you want to do this, you must tell your bank 7 days before the bill is due and you must give them specific details of what should be paid. You can get more information and download a template letter from the National Debtline website.

Tax and National Insurance

Payments are subject to income tax and we will share payment information with Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC), who may contact applicants later.

If you are self-employed the £500 payment must be included on your Self-Assessment tax return.

Applying

Applications must be made no later than 42 days (6 weeks) from the first date of the isolation period.

You can make an online application.

If you require help and support completing the application, please phone the Customer Service Team on 0118 937 3707.  Lines are open Monday to Friday, between 9am and 5pm

Discretionary Self-Isolation Support Payment Scheme

A discretionary payment of £500 will be available for people who need financial support but do not receive:

  • Universal Credit;
  • Working Tax Credit;
  • income-based Employment and Support Allowance,
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance;
  • Income Support;
  • Housing Benefit; or
  • Pension Credit

To qualify the applicant must satisfy the following criteria:

  • are on an income of less than £23,000 per annum; and
  • will face financial hardship as a result of not being able to work while they are in self-isolation; and
  • have less than £5,000 in savings; and
  • are liable, or are the partner in the same household as someone who is liable for rent or mortgage payments

The published scheme is an entry in our decision book, and you can apply using the online application.

Appeals

There is no right of appeal. If you are not awarded payment it is because you do not meet the criteria.

Fraud

We have the right to recover our costs from people who claim the payment fraudulently. You may face prosecution if you provide any false details in your application.

Other help

If you are having difficulty paying rent or Council Tax you may be eligible for help. Further details on benefits and assistance.