Since 28 September 2020, the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme has supported people on low incomes who are unable to work from home and will lose income if they are required to self-isolate because of COVID-19. A payment may also be available for parents or guardians who are not legally required to self-isolate, but need to take time off work to care for a child or young person.

The eligibility rules for Test and Trace Support Payments have changed recently. From 16 August 2021, you will be entitled to a payment of £500 if you:

  • have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app because you have tested positive for COVID-19 or

  • have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app because you have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive, and are not exempt from self-isolation (for example, not fully vaccinated) and

  • have responded to messages from NHS Test and Trace and have provided any legally required information, such as details of your close contacts

  • are employed or self-employed

  • are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result of self-isolating and

  • are currently receiving, or are the partner in the same household as someone who is receiving, at least one of the following qualifying benefits:

    • Universal Credit

    • Working Tax Credit

    • income-based Employment and Support Allowance

    • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance

    • Income Support

    • Housing Benefit

    • Pension Credit.

A parent or guardian of a child or young person who is required to self-isolate may be eligible for a payment (limited to one parent or guardian per household), if they meet the following criteria, even if they are exempt from self-isolation (for example, fully vaccinated):

  • they are the parent or guardian of a child or young person in the same household who is self-isolating and need to take time off work to care for them

  • they are unable to work from home and will lose income

  • the child or young person is

    • aged 15 or under and has been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace because they have tested positive for COVID-19 or

    • aged 25 or under with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan and been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace because they have tested positive for COVID-19 or

    • aged 25 and under, is not exempt from self-isolation from 16th August 2021, has an EHC 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) or

    • the young person normally attends an education or childcare setting and

  • the parent or guardian meets all the other qualifying criteria

Discretionary Test and Trace Support Payments

A person may be eligible for a discretionary payment if they meet all the above criteria (except for receiving one of the qualifying benefits listed), but instead they:

  • are in receipt of Council Tax Support or

  • paying a mortgage or rent for the house where they live (excluding rent paid to parents where living with them) and
  • have less than £1,500 in personal savings and

  • will face financial hardship as a result of self-isolating and

  • sufficient discretionary funds remain available to make the payment. (Note, the government have only made limited funds available for discretionary payments).

The Test and Trace Payment is taxable if you are a taxpayer but it is not subject to National Insurance contributions. HMRC will automatically collect tax from your pay through your tax code. Self-employed recipients should report the payment on their 21/22 self-assessment tax return.

How do I apply for a Test and Trace Support Payment?

You can apply by filling in the Test and Trace Support Payment Application Form

Before you apply please familiarise yourself with the criteria for applicants to ensure that you are eligible and double-check that you have everything that you need to apply - you can find this listed below.

We have put together some FAQs [PDF, 0.3MB] to help you through the process of applying.

What information will you need from me?

You will need the following information to complete the application form:

  • your 8-digit Test and Trace ID number 

  • National Insurance number 

  • most recent bank statement

  • proof of employment or, if you are self-employed, evidence of self-assessment returns, trading income and proof that your business delivers services which cannot be undertaken without social contact

  • if applying as the parent or guardian of a child or young person, the child or young person’s Test and Trace ID number.

Please be prepared and gather the required information before starting the application form.

Please do not lose your Test and Trace self-isolation proof notification.

The scheme will run until Thursday 31 March 2022.