Test and Trace Support Payment

The Government has announced that, from 28 September in England, there will be a new legal duty on all those who test positive for COVID-19 or are identified by the NHS Test and Trace Service as a close contact, requiring them to self-isolate. 

Self-isolation is critical in stopping the spread of coronavirus. It helps to ensure that those infected with the virus, and their close contacts, remain at home and stop virus transmitting to other people. From 28 September, there are new changes to self-isolation being introduced

Financial support for those who are self-isolating

Recognising that self-isolation is one of the most powerful tools for controlling the transmission of Covid-19, a new Test and Trace Support payment of £500 will ensure that those on low incomes are able to self-isolate with financial assistance.

Just under 4 million people who are in receipt of benefits in England will be eligible for this payment, which will be available to those who are required to self-isolate from 28 September.

To be eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment, an individual must:

  • have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace either because they’ve tested positive for coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive
  • be employed or self-employed
  • be unable to work from home and will lose income as a result
  • be currently receiving Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit
  • you must be currently self-isolating under a notice from the NHS Test & Trace team or it must be no more than 28 days since the first day of your period of self-isolation

Individuals who are required to self-isolate and who meet the eligibility criteria will be entitled to £500. This will be payable as a lump sum.

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, or self-employed recipients should report the payment on their 20/21 Self-Assessment tax return.

These changes will come into effect on 28 September 2020, alongside the legal duty to self-isolate.

You must have been advised on or after the 28 September 2020 to isolate in order to be eligible for the payment.


  • A notification from NHS Test and Trace asking you to self isolate (including your unique ID number (allocation code) which is obtained following response to messages received from NHS Test and Trace)
  • A bank statement
  • Proof of employment, or if you are self-employed, self-employment assessment returns, trading income and proof that you cannot work from home and that you will not receive any employment or business income for the isolation period