Financial help for people self-isolating

The £500 test and trace support payment scheme is for people on low incomes who have to self-isolate due to coronavirus (COVID-19). You may be eligible if you are employed or self-employed, cannot work from home, and will lose income as a result. You can only apply if you’ve been told to self-isolate by NHS test and trace, notified to self-isolate by the NHS COVID-19 app, or you’re the parent or guardian of a child who has been told to self-isolate.

If you’ve been told to self-isolate by NHS test and trace, you’re legally required to do so. If you’ve been notified by the NHS COVID-19 app to self-isolate and you apply for the test and trace support payment, you will be legally required to self-isolate.


Changes to self-isolation rules from 11 January 2022

From 11 January in England, people who receive positive lateral flow device (LFD) test results for coronavirus (COVID-19) will be required to self-isolate immediately and won’t be required to take a confirmatory PCR test.

These changes do not apply to people applying for the test and trace support payment scheme. To apply for this you must have a positive PCR test.


Who is eligible?

  • People who live in the Cheltenham borough area and have received notification from NHS test and trace to self-isolate following a positive PCR test, or
  • parents responsible for the care of a child under 15 who has been told by NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate following a positive PCR test
  • Check the rules on who is required to self-isolate

You will need an NHS Test and Trace Account ID

To apply for the NHS Test and Trace Support Payment, you need to register with NHS Test and Trace by following a link in the app to obtain an NHS Test and Trace Account ID. This is an 8-digit code also known as a ITS number. You must do this while you’re in your self-isolation period. You cannot request your NHS Test and Trace Account ID after you’ve finished self-isolating. 

Find out how to request your NHS Test and Trace Account ID.

You must make claim within 42 days of the first day of your self-isolation period provided you obtain your NHS Test and Trace Account ID during your isolation period.

If you are an adult self-isolating you will need to meet all of the following requirements:

  • You’ve been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app, either because you’ve tested positive for COVID-19 or, in some cases, have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive
  • you’ve responded to messages from NHS Test and Trace and have provided any legally required information, such as details of your close recent contacts
  • you’re employed or self-employed
  • you’re unable to work from home and will lose income as a result of self-isolating
  • you’re currently receiving or are the partner of someone in the same household who is receiving, at least 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

If you are not receiving one of these benefits but are on a low income and self-isolation will cause you hardship you may still be entitled under a special discretionary scheme.


If you are a parent or guardian of a child or young person who’s been told to self-isolate and you meet the following requirements

  • You are the parent or guardian of a child or young person in the same household. This is limited to ONE parent or guardian per household for the child or young person’s isolation period and
  • the child or young person has been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace because they have tested positive for COVID-19 and is aged 15 or under, or 25 or under with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC) and normally attends an education or childcare setting, or
  • the child or young person is aged 18- 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC), is not fully vaccinated and has been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or by their education or childcare setting because they have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19

Parents and guardians must also meet the following criteria:

  • You are employed or self-employed
  • You are unable to work from home
  • You need to take time off work to care for them while they isolate and will lose income as a result
  • You are in receipt of one of the following benefits:
    • Universal Credit
    • Working Tax Credit
    • Income-based Employment and Support Allowance
    • Income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance
    • Income Support
    • Housing Benefit
    • Pension Credit

You must meet all of the above criteria to be eligible for a payment.

If you are not receiving one of these benefits but are on a low income and your child’s or young person’s self-isolation will cause you hardship you may still be entitled under a special discretionary scheme.

What if I have more than one child self-isolating?

A parent or guardian can claim more than once, provided their child or young person’s self-isolation periods do not overlap. This applies irrespective of whether the parent or guardian is claiming twice for the same child, or for two different children.

How will payment be made?

The payment will be made direct in to your bank account.

What if I my bank account is overdrawn?

Banks are not allowed to use any benefit to repay an overdraft. More information is available in this guidance document.

Will the payment be taxed?

This payment will be for £500 and is subject to tax.

However, you will not be taxed at the point of payment and will be contacted by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) at a later date.

Who is not eligible?

You will not be eligible for this 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
  • are no longer required to self-isolate, that is to say if your period of self-isolation ended before the scheme was launched on 28 September 2020
  • have not received a notification from NHS Test and Trace following a positive PCT test telling you to self-isolate

When will this come into force?

The scheme comes in to force from 12 October 2020 and is due to end on 31 March 2022.

When do I need to apply?

You must submit your application within 42 days of the first day of your isolation period but you must obtain your NHS Test and Trace Account ID during your isolation period

Before you start

The changes from 11 January do not apply if you wish to apply for this payment.  You must have a positive PCR test to proceed.

You will need the following information to complete your application:

  • Your 8-digit NHS Test and Trace account ID – Check you have followed the process to obtain the correct account ID  link to section above You will need an NHS Test and Trace Account ID
  • A copy of the NHS Test and Trace notification you received. This can be a photo of the letter or email, but it must clearly show the date you received the notification and the Test and Trace account ID
  • A copy of your latest bank statement (issued in the last two months). This can be a photo but must clearly show proof of earnings
  • Proof of self-employment such as a recent business bank statement (issued in the last two months), most recent set of accounts or evidence of self-assessment returns
  • To consent for us to access your records in the NHS Test and Trace system to confirm your eligibility. Read the NHS Test and Trace privacy notice
  • To consent to us verifying your loss of income, this may be by contacting your employer
  • Your National Insurance number

If you are applying for a child or young person, in addition to the above information (excluding your own NHS Test and Trace Account ID number) you will also need to supply:

  • the child’s eight-digit NHS Test and Trace ID number. This is for parents and guardians of children or young people who have received a notification directly from NHS Test and Trace telling them to self-isolate

Or

  • a communication from the child or young person’s education or childcare setting confirming that they have to self-isolate. This is for parents and guardians of children or young people who have been told to self-isolate by their education or childcare setting

Or

  • a screenshot of a young person’s NHS COVID-19 App notification telling them to self-isolate AND evidence that the young person has an Education, Health and Care Plan. This is for parents or guardians of young people aged 16-25 who have additional support needs and who have been notified to self-isolate by the NHS COVID-19 app

Read the full scheme conditions.

For more information about how we use your data, view the test and trace self-isolation payment privacy notice.

How to apply

Complete the online application form.

Please ensure that before you start the application process you have read the guidance above and you have the supporting documents available to upload.

Contact the team on 01242 264341 if you are unable to submit the application online.

Test and trace support payment application form


What if I need other support due to COVID-19?