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Self-isolating if you are on a low income

If you are in Northern Ireland please read our Discretionary Support Fund help page.

Support available - England, Scotland, Wales

If you are on a low income, you have been asked to self-isolate to avoid spreading coronavirus and you cannot work from home (and have lost income as a result) you are able to claim a one off £500 payment. This was increased to £750 for people in Wales from 7 August 2021.

You may need to self-isolate either because you have tested positive for coronavirus or you, or your child, have been in  contact with someone who has tested positive.

The payment will not be counted as income towards any other benefits you are claiming but you will need to record having received it as income (and, if you pay income tax on your earnings, the payment will be included).

If you are in a couple and you both meet the eligibility rules you can both claim the £500/£750 payment.

Extra details depending on where you live

The name of the payment and some eligibility details differ in each devolved nation, as follows:

England - Test and Trace Support payment

You need to be claiming at least one of the following benefits to be eligible - Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Pension Credit or Housing Benefit - although local authorities are able to make awards to other people if they are in financial hardship, so check with your council to see if this applies to you.

You should have been contacted by NHS Test and Trace on or after 28 September 2020.

Since 8 March 2021 you could also be contacted by your child's school or childcare provider to ask you to self-isolate. Your child should be 15 or under, or 25 or under if they have an Education, Health and Care plan (EHC).

Contact your local authority to claim.

Scotland - Self-Isolation Support Grant

When the grant launched on 28 September 2020 you needed to be claiming at least one of the following benefits to be eligible - Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Pension Credit or Housing Benefit.

From 7 December two extra groups became eligible (as long as they claimed one of the benefits above):

  • parents or carers of children aged under 16 who need to take time off work because their child is told to self-isolate (only one claim per household can be made)
  • people who are eligible for universal credit, but have not claimed it

From 16 February 2021, with eligibility able to be backdated to 2 February 2021, you were also eligible if you:

  • earn the Real Living Wage or less
  • receive a council tax reduction because of low income
  • have caring responsibilities for someone over 16 who is asked to self-isolate, as long as you meet the other eligibility criteria

You should have been contacted by NHS Test and Protect.

If you aren’t eligible for a Self-Isolation Support Grant you might be able to get a Crisis Grant if you are on a low income and are having money problems because you have to self-isolate.

Contact your local authority to claim.

Wales - Self-Isolation Support Scheme

Note: The payment was £500 between 23 October 2020 and 6 August 2021. It was increased to £750 from 7 August 2021.

When the grant launched you needed to be claiming at least one of the following benefits to be eligible - Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Pension Credit or Housing Benefit.

From 17 February you were also eligible if you have an income of less than £500 per week or you are claiming statutory sick pay.

You should have been contacted by the NHS Wales Test Trace Protect service, or your child’s education or childcare provider, on or after 23 October 2020. From 2 February 2021 you could also be contacted by the NHS contact tracing app.

Since 14 December 2020 parents and carers who have to take time off work to look after their children when they have to self-isolate because of a coronavirus outbreak in their school or childcare setting up to and including year eight (or up to age 25 if the learner has multiple and complex additional needs) can also claim the payment. Payments could be backdated to 23 October 2020.

If you meet most of the criteria but do not get benefits, you could apply for a discretionary payment from your local authority. Discretionary payments are only made in exceptional circumstances.

Applications can be made until March 2022, contact your local authority to claim.

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