Self-isolation support payments
To help us process your claim, please ensure you have provided evidence that you have lost income (earnings or self-employed earnings have reduced) as a result of having to isolate.
Changes to self-isolation rules for people in contact with cases of the Omicron variant
From 30 November 2021 to 13 December, all close contacts of a suspected or confirmed case of the Omicron variant were required by NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate, regardless of any exemptions from self-isolation, such as their age or vaccination status. If you are in this group, you do not need to have had a positive PCR test result yourself but would need to meet all of the other eligibility criteria to be eligible for self-isolation support payment.
From 14 December 2021, close contacts of a suspected or confirmed case of the Omicron variant who are double vaccinated or exempt from self-isolation, are not required to self-isolate but must take daily lateral flow tests for seven days. If you get a positive lateral flow test result you must take a PCR to confirm the result. If the PCR test result is positive you will be asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace and may be eligible to claim self-isolation payment.
Who can apply?
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.
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 (test and trace support) payment. To be eligible you must:
- be employed or self-employed
- you, or a child you’re the parent or guardian of, has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), or been told you or the child are a close contact by NHS Test and Trace
- you cannot work from home and will lose income by self-isolating or staying at home to care for the child (you will need to provide evidence that your earnings or self-employed earnings have reduced as a result of having to isolate)
- not be exempt from self-isolating
- 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.
The child or young person you need to care for 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.
A one-off payment of £500 will be made to people who meet the eligibility criteria.
Evidence of loss of income
If you are submitting a claim please ensure you have provided evidence that you have lost income as a result of having to isolate.
Many applications we receive we are having to turn down as income has not actually reduced, if your earnings do not reduce as a results of having to self isolate and you have claimed incorrectly you will be asked to pay the money back.
NHS Test and Trace payments are taxable and HMRC are advised of your 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 an income of less than £450 per week,
- have less than £5000 of savings or investments,
- 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.
Students do not normally qualify for a test and trace payment if they are in fulltime education, receive a student loan and or a maintenance grant, or have a part-time job to help you supplement your income. This is because you are unlikely to be in receipt of a qualifying benefit.
Students that have a dependent child or are in receipt of a disability benefit or will suffer financial hardship which they can prove is a result of having to isolate maybe considered under our discretionary scheme. Please provide evidence of your reduced income and financial hardship when making your application.
Contractual sick pay (CSP)
Most employers pay Contractual Sick Pay (CSP) to employees who are isolating. Please check with your employer first before applying as we will require evidence that you have not received CSP and that your income has reduced as a result of having to isolate.
Frequently asked questions
How long will this scheme continue?
This scheme will be closing on 31 March 2022.
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.
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.