Test and Trace Support Payment scheme

The Test and Trace Support Payment scheme has supported people on low incomes who are unable to work from home and will lose income if they are required to self-isolate because of COVID-19. Eligible individuals receive a £500 payment.

From now if you wish to claim please be aware that you will need to take a confirmatory PCR test if you receive a positive lateral flow device (LFD) test result.

If however you test positive via an assisted LFD test you will also be eligible  without the need for a confirmatory PCR test. This assisted LFD test must be taken under the supervision of a trained operator who tests, reads and reports the result. You will need to ring 0300 123 5035 or contact us if you have a positive test from an assisted LFD.

The scheme ends on 31 March 2022.

You can apply for this payment if you are self-isolating and can demonstrate that all of the following criteria apply to you:

  • I have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, or the NHS COVID-19 app, or Cheshire East Contact Tracing Team, (which will have been received via a combination of email, text, letter or phone call) because I have tested positive for COVID-19; 

     or

  • I have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, or the NHS COVID-19 app, or Cheshire East Contact Tracing Team, (which will have been received via a combination of email, text, letter or phone call) because I have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive and I am not exempt from isolating

     and

  • I have taken a confirmatory PCR test or an assisted LFD test 
  • I have responded to the message from NHS Test and Trace and have provided any legally required information, such as details of my close contacts;
  • I am currently employed or self-employed;
  • I am unable to work from home;
  • I will lose earnings during the period that I am required to self-isolate;
  • I am currently in receipt of, or my partner who lives with me, is in receipt of, at least one of the following;
    • Universal Credit
    • Working Tax Credit
    • Income-based Employment and Support Allowance
    • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
    • Income Support
    • Housing Benefit
    • Pension Credit
    • Not in receipt of one of these benefits - I will be considered under the Test and Trace Support Payment Discretionary Scheme (PDF 146KB) but my household's income will need to be normally low and I will face financial hardship as a result of not being able to work from home whilst I am self-isolating. Low income for this purpose means £257.69 per week or less if I am the only adult in the household and £384.62 per week or less if I am a member of a couple or I have children that live with me and I have capital below £6,000.
  • I am applying within 42 days after the first day of my self-isolation period. Example: the first day of your self-isolation period is 1 September 2021, the last day on which you could make a claim would be 13 October 2021.

You can apply for this payment if you are a parent or guardian of a child or young person who is required to self-isolate and can demonstrate that all of the following criteria apply to you (even if you are exempt from isolating):

  • The child or young person is; 
    • aged 15 or under and has been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace because they have tested positive for COVID-19 and can provide the 8 digit ID number known as a CTAS reference number, which usually begins with letter Z;

or

    • aged 25 or under with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan and has been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace because they have tested positive for COVID-19;

or

    • aged 25 or under, is not exempt from self-isolation from 16 August, has an EHC Plan and has been notified as a close contact of someone with COVD-19 (by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app)

and

  • The child or young person has taken a confirmatory PCR test
  • The child or young person normally attends an education or care setting;
  • I need to take time off work to care for them;
  • I live in the Cheshire East area. If the child or young person attends a school or childcare setting in Cheshire East but you don't live in Cheshire East you must apply to the Council where you live;
  • I am employed or self-employed;
  • I am unable to work from home while caring for the child or young person while they self-isolate and I will lose earnings as a result.
  • I am currently in receipt of, or my partner who lives with me, is in receipt of, at least one of the following;
    • Universal Credit
    • Working Tax Credit
    • Income-based Employment and Support Allowance
    • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
    • Income Support
    • Housing Benefit
    • Pension Credit
    • Not in receipt of one of these benefits - I will be considered under the Test and Trace Support Payment Discretionary Scheme (PDF 146KB) but my household's income will need to be normally low and I will face financial hardship as a result of not being able to work from home whilst I am self-isolating. Low income for this purpose means £384.62 per week or less and I have capital below  £6,000.
  • I am making an application within 42 days after the child or young person's first day of self-isolation.

We will ask you about your employment or self-employment so we can check that you cannot work from home and that you will lose earnings because you are self-isolating or while caring for the child or young person whilst they self-isolate.

At the end of the application form, you will be asked to upload documentary evidence to support your application. You can upload PDF, Microsoft Word documents and photographs of documents.

You should read our test and trace support payment privacy notice to understand how we use your data.

This is the evidence you will need to have ready. We cannot consider your application without all of this:

  • evidence that you or the child or young person are required to self-isolate – provide the 8 digit ID number known as a CTAS reference number which usually begins with the letter Z: or
  • a screen shot of a young person’s NHS COVID19 App notification telling them to self-isolate. This is only for parents or guardians of young people 18-25 who have an EHC Plan and who are not exempt from isolating: and
  • evidence of your bank account which can be a screen shot or a copy of your paper or electronic bank statement. This must be for the person self-isolating, or for the parent /guardian of the child/young person who is self-isolating, showing their name, account and sort code: and
  • evidence, if you can provide it, that you cannot work from home and your earnings have reduced as a result 

You will not be eligible for the scheme if you:

  • are quarantining after travelling abroad (unless you test positive during the 10-day quarantine period).
  • continue to receive full pay while you self-isolate.
  • can work from home during a period of self-isolation.
  • are no longer required to self-isolate i.e. your period of self-isolation ended before the Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme launched on 28 September 2020.
  • have not received a notification from NHS Test and Trace, or the Cheshire East Contact Tracing Team or by Public Health England and the school/care setting telling you or a child/young person to self-isolate.
  • have not applied within 42 days after the first day of your or the child or young person's period of self-isolation. Example: the first day of your self-isolation period is 1 September 2021, the last day on which you could make a claim would be 13 October 2021

If you or the child or young person are eligible, we aim to make a payment into your bank account within 3 working days of receiving the completed application and evidence.

If you didn't submit evidence as part of the application, you can send it to us separately using the test and trace payment evidence upload form:

We have a scheme for frontline NHS and Heath Care worker staff, who do not have to self-isolate but your employer will not allow you to work and;

  • you live in the same household where another adult has tested positive for COVID-19 and
  • your income will reduce as a result of not being able to go into work and you and any partner will face financial hardship

 Ensure you have the right information below before starting the application:

  • Confirmation from your employer that you cannot work from home and will lose pay
  • Your latest pay slip to show your "normal" pay
  • Your national insurance number
  • Your most recent bank statement

Apply for NHS or Healthcare worker scheme

If you are unable to complete the online application yourself, you can call 0300 123 5035 for assistance.

Apply for the Test and Trace support payment

Apply as a parent or guardian

Test and trace payment evidence upload form

Questions about the scheme

People who live in the same household can each make an individual application to receive a support payment if they each meet the eligibility criteria.

You can claim more than once if you are told to self-isolate multiple times. This is as long as you meet the eligibility criteria for each individual claim and your periods of self-isolation do not overlap.

You can help someone else fill out an application, or fill out an application on their behalf. However, you cannot receive payments on behalf of someone else. Payments will only be made to the person (or to the parent or guardian of a child or young person) who has been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, or by the Cheshire East Contact Tracing Team, or by the school or care setting or because the young person  has been notified by the COVID-19 NHS App.

You can make an application up to 42 days after the first day of the period of self-isolation started if you or the child or young person meet the eligibility criteria.

Yes, the support payment is taxable if you are a tax payer 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 2020/21 Self-assessment tax return. Tax will not be deducted from the support payment itself.

You should contact your bank and ask to make a ‘first right of appropriation of funds order’ to prevent the payment being used to pay your overdraft.

If you have two part-time jobs and continue to be paid a full wage by one employer, but the other employer is not paying you whilst you are self-isolating then you can be eligible for a Test and Trace Support payment if you meet all the eligibility criteria.

Page last reviewed: 26 January 2022