Are you eligible for a Test and Trace Support Payment?

From 28 September 2020, you are entitled to a Test and Trace Support Payment of £500 if you:

Standard Scheme

  • Have responded to messages received from NHS Test and Trace (which will have been received via a combination of email, text, letter or phone call) in which you've provided your contact details and where you have tested positive, the details of your contacts
  • Are employed or self-employed
  • Are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result
  • Are currently receiving 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
  • Have been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or via the NHS COVID-19 App (from 10 December 2020), either because you have tested positive for coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive

Discretionary Scheme

You will be eligible for a £500 discretionary payment if you meet all the other eligibility criteria above, but:

  • you do not currently receive Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit; and
  • you are on a low income and will face financial hardship as a result of not being able to work while you are self-isolating.
  • you are not a student

The Discretionary scheme is cash limited so the qualifying criteria is subject to review. The policy can be found here (pdf).

From 10 May 2021 our Discretionary Scheme has been made more generous to enable more people to qualify for a NHS Test & Trace Support Payment.

We have introduced the following income-bands to define a low income.

If your normal household income (not including Child Benefit and disability benefits) is below the relevant threshold detailed below, you may qualify for a £500 discretionary payment provided you also meet the criteria detailed above for the Discretionary Scheme.

Household circumstances

Net household income threshold


£                                             26,250

Single with 1 child

£                                             38,576

Single with 2 or more children

£                                             49,187


£                                             29,776

Couple with 1 child

£                                             42,101

Couple with 2 or more children

£                                             52,712

Extension for parents or guardians

From 8 March 2021, parents or guardians who are not legally required to self-isolate can apply for a Test and Trace Support Payment or discretionary payment if they need to take time off work to care for a child or young person who is.

Applicants must meet all the criteria below:

  • they are the parent or guardian of a child or young person in the same household and need to take time off work to care for them while they self-isolate. This is limited to one parent or guardian per household for the child or young person’s self-isolation period.
  • they are employed or self-employed.
  • they cannot work from home while undertaking caring responsibilities and will lose income as a result.
  • they meet all the other means-tested eligibility criteria for a Standard Scheme payment or eligibility criteria for a Discretionary Scheme payment (detailed above)
  • their child or young person:
    • 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.
    • 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.

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.

The scheme will be available until 30 September 2021.