COVID-19: Test & trace/self-isolation support payments - Updated: 18 May 2021

  • Coronavirus: Test & trace/self-isolation support payments

    Grant funding is available to employed or self-employed people on low incomes who have been asked to self-isolate due to COVID-19 by the relevant authority and cannot work from home and will suffer financial consequences as a result. Individuals who qualify for assistance will receive a lump sum payment of £500 for the duration of their self-isolation.


    The payments are administered across the UK as follows:


    • Test and Trace Support Payment in England.
    • Self-isolation Support Grant in Scotland.
    • Self-isolation Support Payment in Wales.


    Employee grants


    • Grants paid to employees are taxable as earnings.
    • In October 2020, the government introduced secondary legislation to make sure that payments under the English scheme are not subject to Class 1 (employee and employer) and Class 1A (employer) National Insurance Contributions to prevent these administrative costs arising.
    • Further regulations came into force in January 2021 to exempt payments under the Scottish and Welsh schemes.


    Self-employed grants


    • Grants paid under the schemes are also classed as trading income in respect of the self-employed and liable to Class 4 and 2 National Insurance Contributions.
    • The measure is formally retrospective for the tax year 2020 to 2021. This is when the English, Welsh and Scottish schemes were implemented.




    The payment scheme opened on 1 September 2020 in England and initially only applied in specific areas subject to local lockdown starting, on a trial basis, with Blackburn with Darwen, Pendle and Oldham.


    It applied to people who:


    • Are employed or self-employed and receiving either universal credit or working tax credit.
    • Have tested positive for COVID-19, as well as their contacts.


    Eligible individuals received £130 for their 10-day period of self-isolation.


    • Other members of their household, who had to self-isolate for 14 days received £182.
    • Non-household contacts advised to self-isolate through NHS Test and Trace received £14 per day, up to £182, with the actual amount being dependent on the length of their isolation period.


    Those eligible to receive a payment will need to provide:


    • Notification from NHS Test and Trace.
    • A bank statement.
    • Proof of employment/self-employment.


    From 28 September 2020, a test and trace support payment was extended to all regions in England with payments of £500 being available to those who qualified.


    • A payment of £500 is available if either:
      • You have been told to self-isolate because of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and you cannot work from home.
      • You’re the parent or guardian of a child who has been told to self-isolate and you need to take time off to look after them.
    • You must be employed or self-employed to get the payment.
    • You need to claim within 42 days of you or your child’s first day of self-isolation.


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


    • Universal Credit.
    • Working Tax Credit.
    • Income-based Employment and Support Allowance.
    • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance.
    • Income Support.
    • Housing Benefit.
    • Pension Credit.


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


    How to apply


    See Apply for a Test and Trace payment


    Small print


    Policy paper: Exemption from Class 2 and 4 NICs exemptions for Track and Trace payments


    Useful guides on this topic


    COVID-19 Grant Funding summary

    What cash grants are available to support businesses during the Cornonavirus crisis? An index with links and summaries.


    COVID-19: Government Support tracker

    This tracker covers measures announced by the government to support individuals and businesses, as we get through COVID-19.



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