Up unitl 24 February 2022 grant funding was available to employed or self-employed people on low incomes who were been asked to self-isolate due to COVID-19 by the relevant authority, could not work from home and would suffer financial consequences as a result. Individuals who qualified for assistance received a lump sum payment of £500 for the duration of their self-isolation.

The payments were administered across the UK as follows:

  • Test and Trace Support Payment in England.
  • Self-isolation Support Grant in Scotland.
  • Self-isolation Support Payment in Wales.

Employee grants

  • Grants paid to employees are taxable as earnings.
  • In October 2020, the government introduced secondary legislation to make sure that payments under the English scheme are not subject to Class 1 (employee and employer) and Class 1A (employer) National Insurance Contributions to prevent these administrative costs arising.
  • Further regulations came into force in January 2021 to exempt payments under the Scottish and Welsh schemes.

Self-employed grants

  • Grants paid under the schemes are also classed as trading income in respect of the self-employed and liable to Class 4 and 2 National Insurance Contributions.
  • The measure is formally retrospective for the tax year 2020 to 2021. This is when the English, Welsh and Scottish schemes were implemented.


The payment scheme opened on 1 September 2020 in England and initially only applied in specific areas subject to local lockdown starting, on a trial basis, with Blackburn with Darwen, Pendle and Oldham. It closed on 24 February 2022.

It applied to people who:

  • Are employed or self-employed and receiving either universal credit or working tax credit.
  • Have tested positive for COVID-19, as well as their contacts.

Eligible individuals received £130 for their 10-day period of self-isolation.

  • Other members of their household, who had to self-isolate for 14 days received £182.
  • Non-household contacts advised to self-isolate through NHS Test and Trace received £14 per day, up to £182, with the actual amount being dependent on the length of their isolation period.

Those eligible to receive a payment will need to provide:

  • Notification from NHS Test and Trace. 
  • A bank statement.
  • Proof of employment/self-employment.

From 28 September 2020, a test and trace support payment was extended to all regions in England with payments of £500 being available to those who qualified.

  • A payment of £500 is available if either:

    • You have been told to self-isolate because of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and you cannot work from home.
    • You’re the parent or guardian of a child who has been told to self-isolate and you need to take time off to look after them. 
  • You must be employed or self-employed to get the payment.

  • You need to claim within 42 days of you or your child’s first day of self-isolation.

You or the partner you live with must get 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.

You must have given NHS Test and Trace the information they’ve asked for, and have a Test and Trace account ID.

How to apply

See Apply for a Test and Trace payment

Small print

Policy paper: Exemption from Class 2 and 4 NICs exemptions for Track and Trace payments

Useful guides on this topic

COVID-19 Grant Funding summary
What cash grants are available to support businesses during the Cornonavirus crisis? An index with links and summaries.

COVID-19: Government Support tracker
This tracker covers measures announced by the government to support individuals and businesses, as we get through COVID-19.

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