Self-isolation support payments

If you have you been told to self-isolate or need to look after a child who has been told to self-isolate and are unable to work because of this, you can apply for a self-isolation payment.

People who have been told by NHS test and trace to self-isolate are required by law to do so. To help support and enforce this requirement, the government is providing funding for a test and trace self-isolation payment scheme for people on low incomes who are unable to work while they are self-isolating because they cannot work from home.

You can apply for the payment if you have been told to self-isolate by NHS test and trace. To be eligible you must:

  • be employed or self-employed but not furloughed
  • be unable to work from home and will lose income as a result
  • have an income of less than £450 per week
  • be currently receiving universal credit, working tax credit, income-related employment and support allowance, income-based jobseeker’s allowance, income support, housing benefit and, or pension credit.

Parents or guardians who need to take time off work to care for a child or young person who has been told to self-isolate can also apply. The criteria listed above applies to the parent or guardian and in addition the child or young person must:

  • be aged 15 or under (or 25 or under with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) and normally attends an education or childcare setting.
  • have 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.

A one-off payment of £500 will be made to people who meet the eligibility criteria. 

Apply for self-isolation payment

The government have also provided a limited amount of additional funding to allow a discretionary payment will be available for people who don't meet all the criteria but need financial support during isolation periods. You may be eligible for a £500 discretionary payment even if you are not receiving any of the benefits or support payments listed above.

To qualify for a discretionary payment you must:

  • have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace on or after 28 September 2020,
  • be employed or self-employed but not furloughed,
  • be unable to work from home and will lose income and face financial hardship as a result,
  • have no recourse to public funds,
  • or are awaiting an outcome of an appeal regarding qualifying benefits.

Please use the self-isolation support payment form to apply for a discretionary payment.

Frequently asked questions

Can I help someone else make an application, or make an application on their behalf?

You can help someone else fill in an application or fill in an application on their behalf. However, you cannot receive payments on behalf of someone else. Payments will only be made to the person who has been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace.

What do I need to do?

If you receive a self-isolation payment you must self-isolate as requested by NHS Test and Trace.

Please visit the NHS website for more details of the NHS Test and Trace self-isolation requirements for those testing positive and those who have been in contact with someone who has tested positive and have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace.

NHS Test and Trace website

Is this payment taxable?

This payment will be subject to income tax. It will not be subject to National Insurance contributions.

What happens if I’m self-employed?

The payment will be a coronavirus support payment and therefore a revenue receipt of your business, contributing towards your profits. The payment will need to be included on your Self Assessment Tax Return along with any other coronavirus support payments you may have received.

What happens if I’m employed?

There is nothing you need to do. If your income for the year is not more than £12,500, you will not have any tax to pay. If tax is due, HMRC will automatically recover it from your pay through a change in your tax code. HMRC will send you a new tax code notice.

Can I receive the payment whilst in receipt of Statutory Sick Pay?

Claimants can claim Statutory Sick Pay as well as a Test and Trace Support Payment, but not contractual sick pay from their employer. Employers can claim Statutory Sick Pay Reimbursement for those self-isolating.

Does the payment impact existing benefit entitlements?

No, the payment does not affect existing entitlements to Universal Credit, Pension Credit, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Pension Credit, Housing Benefit. The payment will also be disregarded as income for the purposes of tax credits.