Test and Trace Support Payments

You might be able to get a payment of £500 if you have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, or if you are the parent or guardian of a child or young person who has been told to self-isolate.

Payments if you have been told to self-isolate

From 16 August 2021, fully vaccinated adults are no longer required to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact by NHS Test and Trace.  This means they are no longer eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment.   Fully vaccinated adults who test positive are still required to self-isolate.  They are still eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment.  

You could be eligible for a £500 Test and Trace Support Payment if you meet all the following criteria:

  • you have been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app, either because you’ve tested positive for COVID-19 or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive and are not exempt from the requirement to self-isolate
  • you have responded to messages from NHS Test and Trace and have provided any legally required information
  • you are employed or self-employed
  • you are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result of self-isolating
  • you are currently receiving or are the partner of someone in the same household who is receiving, at least one of the following benefits:
    - Universal Credit
    - Working Tax Credit
    - income-related Employment and Support Allowance
    - income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
    - Income Support
    - Housing Benefit
    - Pension Credit
     

Discretionary Payments

If you are not on one of these benefits, you could be eligible for a £500 discretionary payment if all the following apply:

you meet all the other criteria listed above
you are on a low income
you will face financial hardship as a result of self-isolating

Who cannot get the Test and Trace Support Payment

You will be not be eligible for either a Test and Trace Support Payment or a discretionary payment in any of the following circumstances:

  • You are quarantining after travelling abroad (unless you test positive during the quarantine period)
  • You have not experienced a reduction in earnings as a result of having to self-isolate
  • You can work from home during a period of self-isolation
  • You were notified that you needed to self-isolate before 28 September 2020
  • Your application is made more than 42 days after your period of self-isolation started
  • You have not provided NHS Test and Trace with the information they have requested from you
  • You have not either received a notification from NHS Test and Trace telling you to self-isolate or been identified as a close contact by the NHS COVID-19 App.

When and where to make a claim

Each adult can make a claim if they meet the criteria.  There is one payment per period of self-isolation.  If, in the future, you need to self-isolate again, you can make a further claim assuming you meet the criteria and there is a gap between your periods of self-isolation.  If you are isolating at an address that is not your normal home, you must claim direct to the authority where you normally live.

Backdating

You can claim up to 42 days after the first day of your self-isolation period

Payments if you are the parent or guardian of a child or young person who has been told to self-isolate

If you are not legally required to self-isolate, but are the parent or guardian of a child or young person who has been told to self-isolate, you could be eligible for a £500 Test and Trace Support Payment or a discretionary payment.  The following conditions apply:

  • you are the parent or guardian of a child in your household who is self-isolating, and you need to take time off work to care for them
  • you are unable to work from home and will lose income because you have to care for your child while they are self-isolating
  • your child is aged 15 or under, or aged 25 or under with an Education, Health and Care Plan, normally attends an education or childcare setting, and has been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or by their education or childcare setting because they have tested positive for COVID-19
  • your child is aged 25 or under, is not exempt from the requirement to self-isolate, has an Education, Health and Care Plan, and has been notified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19 (by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS Covid-19 app) 
  • you meet all the other eligibility criteria for a Test and Trace Support Payment or discretionary payment

Note: from 16 August 2021 people under 18 years and 6 months are no longer required to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact by NHS Test and Trace.  This means that their parent/guardian will not need to take time off work and will not be eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment. 

Parent and guardians who cannot get the Test and Trace Support Payment

Parents and guardians of a child who has been told to self-isolate will be not be eligible in any of the following circumstances:

  • You are unable to provide evidence from your child’s school or care provider
  • You have not experienced a reduction in earnings as a result of having to self-isolate
  • You can work from home during the period of your child’s self-isolation
  • Your child was notified to self-isolate before 8 March 2021
  • Your application is made more than 42 days after your child's self-isolation period started
  • You have taken time off work because your child’s education or care setting has closed

Number of applications 

Parents and guardians who are not legally required to self-isolate can make one application per household for the child's or young person's self-isolation period.

In a household with two or more children, the parents or guardians can claim more than once only if the children’s self-isolation periods do not overlap.

Backdating

You can claim up to 42 days after the first day of your self-isolation period.

How long it takes to receive payment

If your application is successful, you should receive payment directly into your bank account within 3 to 5 working days from the date of our decision.

Effect on benefits 

The payment will not affect your Universal Credit, Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support. 

Income Tax and National Insurance 

If you’re employed, you’ll pay tax on your 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. If you’re self-employed, you must report the payment on your Self-Assessment tax return.

How to apply

To support your application you will need to provide the following:

  • If you have been told to self-isolate; the 8-digit Test and Trace ID reference number you were given by NHS Test and Trace. You can find this on the email or text message you received from NHS Test and Trace.  If you can’t find it, call the NHS on 119.  If the NHS COVID-19 app has told you to self-isolate because you’ve been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you will need to follow some additional steps to request your NHS Test and Trace Account ID.
  • If you’re applying because you’re a parent or guardian who needs to care for a child who is self-isolating, you will need to provide your child’s NHS Test and Trace Account ID or a communication from their education or childcare setting telling them to self-isolate. 
  • proof (if you receive one) that you receive one of the qualifying benefits 
  • a bank statement
  • proof of employment or, if you’re self-employed, evidence of self-assessment returns, trading income and proof that your business delivers services that cannot be undertaken without social contact

Uploading evidence

You can take and upload photographs of the documents requested including screengrabs of digital documents or photos of printed documents. Please make sure they are clear and easy to read to prevent delays.

The form accepts many commonly used file types including JPEG, BMP, GIF, PNG, PDF and DOC and you can use your phone camera.

The file size limit is 10 MB for each file.

Get help with your application

Someone else can help you apply but the payment must go to your bank account.  Call our Covid helpline on 020 7974 4444 (option 9) if you need help with applying.

Apply now

Apply for Test and Trace Support Payment