Skip to content

Coronavirus (COVID-19)
View the latest COVID-19 information and advice, including details of the current national lockdown and service updates

£500 self-isolation payment

If you have lost income because you have been required to self isolate, you may be eligible for a payment of £500 through the Test and Trace Support payment scheme. The government has made this available to some people who are on a low income and have had to self-isolate on or after Monday 28 September 2020.

The scheme will run until 31 January 2021. Each person in your household who meets the eligible criteria can apply for a self-isolation payment. You can also apply more than once, if you have to self-isolate more than one time. The payment is taxable but not subject to National Insurance.

Who can apply

To be eligible you must have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace because you have tested positive for coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has. 

You must have completed the contact tracing journey. This involves you receiving an e-mail or text invite to create an account. Once you have created an account you will be asked to complete a questionnaire and receive a message once you have done so. The invite, any reminder to create your account and the message you receive on completion of the questionnaire, will all contain your an 8 character account id. You must have this number to qualify for a payment and you must have created your account and have completed the contact tracing journey. 

From 10 December 2020,  if you have received a notification from the NHS Covid-19 app telling you to self-isolate because you have been in close contact  with someone who has tested positive, you can apply for a payment.
If you have reported covid symptoms via the app, and are required to book a test, you will only be able to apply for a self-isolation support payment if you get a positive test result. You are not eligible for a payment while you are waiting for a test. The government says this is because you are not legally obliged to self-isolate until you receive a positive test result.

If you have been told to self-isolate via the NHS Covid-19 app because you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, or you have tested positive, a button called "Financial Support" will appear on the home screen of the app. This will take you to the NHS Test and Trace website, where you will be asked to provide some information. None of this information will be passed back to or stored on the app. You will need to log in or register with NHS and once you have done this you will get a confirmation link or email. You should keep the existing screen open while you read the email as you will be asked to enter your name and NHS Test and Trace will carry out some checks. If you have done this between 7.30am and 8.30pm, you will get an email and text message from NHS Test and Trace within an hour. If you have done it outside these hours it will take longer.

You need to follow the link in this message to complete your registration with Test and Trace. You must do this while you are still within your self-isolation period and if you do not do this step, you will not be able to apply for your self-isolation support payment. Once you have completed your registration, you will receive a further email and text message from NHS Test and Trace. This will contain your NHS Test and Trace account ID. You must have this to qualify for a payment. At this point you are legally obliged to self-isolate and can apply for a self-isolation support payment.

In addition to having the Test and Trace Account ID, you must:

  • be employed or self-employed, and
  • be unable to work from home and will lose income as a result of the self-isolation

You also need to be currently receiving one of the following benefits:

  • Universal Credit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • income-based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Housing Benefit
  • Pension Credit

If you meet the other criteria but do not receive one of these benefits, you can still apply for a Discretionary payment. Funding for this is very limited so applications will be considered only in exceptional circumstances. We will consider things like your household income and expenditure, your savings, whether you have previously been impacted financially because of covd-19, whether your home is at risk or you are at risk of legal action for default on debts, and any other special circumstances.

Who is not eligible

You will not be eligible for the scheme if you:

  • are quarantining after travelling abroad (unless you test positive during the 14-day quarantine period)
  • continue to receive full wages while you self-isolate
  • can work from home during a period of self-isolation
  • were notified to self-isolate before the Self-Isolation Payment Scheme launched on 28 September 2020
  • have not received a notification from NHS Test and Trace telling you to self-isolate
  • are receiving a lower wage because you are furloughed
  • are self-isolating because you have returned to the UK from abroad (unless you have been told to do so by Test and Trace or have tested positive)

We understand that by making this Self-Isolation Payment application you have lost income and are therefore suffering a financial loss.

We are processing these applications as quickly as possible, however we are receiving a high number of applications.

When you apply online you will receive an acknowledgement to show that we have received your application form.  Therefore we would be grateful if you did not contact us to query if we have received your application form or how long it will take to process as you will be notified of the outcome of your application in writing, either by email or letter.

How the payment will be made

You will receive payment by bank transfer into your account. For this reason it is very important the bank statements you supply with your application are up to date.

If you are overdrawn, you will need to write to your bank immediately and ask for a first right of appropriation of funds order referring to a self-isolation payment of £500. This means that if you are successful, the bank cannot use the payment towards paying off your overdraft.


You may face prosecution if you have manipulated or falsified your position in order to obtain these payments, including failure to self-isolate which puts others at risk. Any payment made as a result of fraud may be recoverable from you, as may any grants that have been paid in error. Anyone identified as failing to self-isolate will be reported to the police. 

Share this page