COVID-19: Test and Trace Support Payment

Your legal obligation to self-isolate

In line with the legal obligation to self-isolate, the Government has introduced two support payments for people on low incomes who cannot work during their self-isolation period.

These schemes will run from 28 September 2020 until 30 September 2021.

The Test and Trace Support Payment scheme has also been extended to parents and guardians who are not legally required to self-isolate, but who need to take time off work to look after a child or young person who is self-isolating. Applicants will need to satisfy the other eligibility criteria for the main scheme or our local discretionary scheme to receive the payment. 

You can claim both support payments up to 42 days after the first day of your self-isolation period and claims can be backdated from 8 March.

Test and Trace Support Payment

You may be eligible to claim a £500 lump sum if you:

  • have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace either because you have tested positive for COVID-19 or you 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
  • are currently receiving:
    • Universal Credit
    • Working Tax Credit
    • income-based Employment and Support Allowance
    • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
    • Income Support
    • Housing Benefit and Pension Credit

Discretionary support payment

You may be eligible to claim a £500 discretionary payment if you:

  • have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace either because you have tested positive for COVID-19 or you 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
  • do not currently receive:
    • Universal Credit
    • Working Tax Credit
    • income-based Employment and Support Allowance
    • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
    • Income Support
    • Housing Benefit and Pension Credit
  • will face significant financial hardship because of not being able to work while you are self-isolating

Parents and guardians who have not 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 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 who is. 

Applicants must meet the following criteria: 

  • 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 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

Parents and guardians who are not legally required to self-isolate can make one application per household for the child or young person’s self-isolation period. People in the same household who are applying because they are legally required to self-isolate can make an individual application to receive the payment.