Self-Isolation Payments Scheme

This guidance was withdrawn on 7 April 2022. The Test and Trace Support Payment scheme has now closed. You can no longer make a claim.

Claiming financial support under the Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme - (

You must have tested positive after a PCR test or an assisted rapid lateral flow test. You’ll not be eligible for a Test and Trace Support Payment if you’ve tested positive only on a lateral flow test done at home.  You must also take a PCR test to confirm you are positive.  If you registered your lateral flow test with the NHS Test & Trace Service before 24th February 2022, you MUST have a positive PCR test within 10 days.

Individuals who stay at home if they test positive for COVID-19 or are displaying COVID-19 symptoms from 24 February 2022 may be eligible for other government support, such as Universal Credit and Employment and Support Allowance. More information can be seen at:


If you’re usually working and get benefits

You can apply for the payment of £500.00 if you meet all of the following conditions:

  • you’ve tested positive for COVID-19 or been told you’re a close contact by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app
  • you’re not exempt from self-isolating
  • you’ll lose income because you cannot work from home

You can be either employed or self-employed.

You or the partner you live with must get one of the following benefits:

  • Universal Credit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income Support
  • Housing Benefit
  • Pension Credit

You must have given NHS Test and Trace the information they’ve asked for, and have a NHS Test and Trace account ID.

If you’re usually working and do not get benefits

You can apply for the £500.00 Discretionary payment if you meet all of the following conditions:

  • have been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app because they have tested positive for COVID-19; or
  • have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace because they have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive, and are not exempt from self-isolation; and
  • have responded to message from NHS Test and Trace and have provided any legally required information, such as details of their close contacts;
  • are employed or self-employed; 
  • are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result.

In addition, the discretionary payment is for people who:

  • Are not currently receiving Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit; and
  • Are on low incomes and will face financial hardship* as a result of not being able to work while they are self-isolating (low incomes are average gross weekly pay of less than £400 per week but more than £85 per week).

To be eligible for the Discretionary Support Payment, applicants must also meet at LEAST ONE of the criteria below:

  • Have claimed one of the qualifying benefits (as listed above) but not yet had a decision. The claim must have been made before the start of the self-isolation period.
  • Are in receipt of Local Council Tax Support or Child Tax Credit.
  • Were in receipt of Local Council Tax Support, Child Tax Credit or one of the qualifying benefits (listed above) in the last two months
  • Have savings less than £3000

*There is no single definition of financial hardship; for the purpose of this policy consideration will be given to people who are responsible for and unable to meet their liability to pay for essential household expenditure. Essential household expenditure is that which prevents homelessness and enables basic living standards to be maintained. This includes but not limited to:

  • Mortgage, rent and service charges
  • Gas, Electricity, Oil and Water services
  • Phone, Broadband and TV licence; not digital TV services
  • Council Tax
  • Buildings and property insurance

If you’re the parent or guardian of a child who needs to self-isolate

You might be able to get the payment if they have tested positive for COVID-19 and you need to take time off to look after them. They must:

  • be 15 or under, or 25 or under if they have an Education, Health and Care plan (EHC)
  • live with you
  • normally be at school or in childcare
  • have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace

You’ll need to meet the other eligibility criteria. You’ll need evidence that your child has been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace.

You might also be able to apply if your child has not tested positive for COVID-19 and all of the following are true:

  • your child is 25 or under and has an EHC plan
  • they have been told they’re a close contact by NHS Test and Trace
  • they are not exempt from self-isolating

If you’re employed, you’ll pay tax on the payment if you go over your tax-free personal allowance. Your tax code will change to collect the tax. You will not pay National Insurance contributions on the payment.

You must report the payment on your Self Assessment tax return if you need to file one, for example if you’re self-employed.

Funding and demand

The Department of Health and Social Care has provided the Council with fixed funding to support residents under the discretionary element of the scheme. Payments will be made within 3 days of notifying you of a successful application. 

The drawdown of the funding amount will be kept under constant review and no further payments will be made once the allocation is exhausted unless further funding is provided.

For both the Test and Trace Support Payment and discretionary payments, eligible individuals will receive their £500 payment on top of any benefits and Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) that they currently receive.

Any monies paid can be recovered if post-payment checks indicate a false application has been made.  Such as if you were found to have worked and or received earnings for the self-isolation period.