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Test and Trace Payments

Published on 05 October 2020

Test and Trace Payments

Test and Trace Support Payments

**We are currently dealing with an extremely high number of Test and Trace Support Payment applications which has resulted in longer processing times. We are working through the applications as quickly as possible and will contact you if we require any further information.

When you apply online you will receive an acknowledgement to show that we have received your application form. We would be grateful if you did not contact us to query if we have received your application form or how long it will take to process. You will be notified of the outcome of your application by email.**


If you have been told by NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate, are working or self-employed and will lose income, you may be entitled to a Test and Trace Support Payment.

Anyone that meets the eligibility criteria and is told to self-isolate will be able to claim.

Carlisle City Council are administering the payments on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care and we cannot answer your contact tracing enquiries. Please ring 119 with any such queries.

Applications for support must be made within 42 days after the first day of self-isolation at the latest and the scheme is available until 31 March 2022.


Changes to self-isolation requirements from 16 August 2021

From 16 August 2021, people who are fully vaccinated and who are identified as contacts will no longer be required to self-isolate. This will mean that fully vaccinated contacts will now be ineligible to claim for a Test and Trace Support payment. If however you test positive, you are still eligible to claim.

Also from this date, anyone under 18 who is identified as a close contact will be exempt from self-isolation. This will mean that most parents and guardians will be ineligible for a payment if their child is identified as a contact, as the child will no longer be required to self-isolate. As children who have tested positive will still be required to self-isolate, their parents and guardians will still be eligible, regardless of whether they are fully vaccinated (as they may need to stay at home and look after their child).

If a young person aged under 25 who is not fully vaccinated has been identified as a close contact and they have an Education, Health and Care plan, their parents or guardians may be eligible if they need to stay at home to look after them.

Make an online application for a Test and Trace Support payment here.

Some more information about the scheme is below.


Other support is also available. Find out about our hardship fund and our Council Tax reduction scheme here.

Who can get the Test and Trace Support Payment?

You are eligible for the Test and Trace Support payment if you meet all of the following eligibility criteria:

You have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace because:

  • You've tested positive for coronavirus; or
  • You've recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive;

You must have engaged with NHS Test & Trace by completing the contact tracing journey within your Test & Trace notification;

  • You are employed or self-employed;
  • You are unable to work from home;
  • You are currently 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; and/or
    • Pension Credit.

Payments for Parents or Guardians

From 8 March 2021, parents or guardians who are not legally required to self-isolate can apply for a Self-Isolation Payment if they need to take time off work to care for a child or young person who is self-isolating.

You can only make one application per child or young person per household.

To qualify for this payment, you must:

  • Be employed or self-employed;
  • Be unable to work from home and will lose income as a result; and
  • Be in receipt of one of the following benefits:
    • Universal Credit.
    • Working Tax Credit.
    • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance.
    • Housing Benefit.
    • Income Support.
    • Income based Job Seeker's Allowance.
    • Pension Credit.


In addition to this you must satisfy the following requirements:

  • The parent or guardian must be in the same household as the child or young person and needs to take time off work to care for them while they self-isolate.
  • The child or young person who normally attends an education or childcare setting must be either:
  • Aged 15 or under.
  • Aged between 16 and 25 and have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC).
  • The child or young person has been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace - this can be evidenced by providing either:
    • The child's 8-digit Test and Trace ID number.
    • A screenshot of a young person's NHS COVID-19 app notification to confirm they need to self-isolate and proof of an EHC - for ages 16 to 25.

If you do not meet these conditions, you may be able to claim a Discretionary Payment, please see below:


Discretionary Payments

Where a qualifying benefit is not received, a discretionary payment can be considered for people who are on low incomes and will face financial hardship as a result of not being able to work, while they are self-isolating.

Due to the funding available for discretionary awards, to provide assistance to those unable to access means tested benefits applications will be considered based on the following criteria:

  • You are required to self-isolate and not attend work because you are:

(a) a Covid-19 confirmed case;

(b) an identified contact of a confirmed Covid-19 case and ate not fully vaccinated; or

(c) a parent or carer of a child or other dependent who is required to self-isolate.

  • Your income will be reduced as a result of following self-isolation guidance. This may be because you are self-employed or on a zero-hours contract and unable to work, or because your employer drops your salary in this period.
  • Your normal gross earnings must be less than £500.00 weekly (£26,000 yearly).
  • You are not eligible for the national £500 isolation support grant.


Who is not eligible?

You will not be eligible for the 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.
  • Were required to self-isolate before the support scheme began on Monday 28 September 2020.
  • Have not received a notification from NHS Test and Trace telling you to self-isolate.
  • Please note that notification via the NHS Covid 19 Mobile Phone Application is not part of this scheme.


How much is the payment and will it be taxed?

You may be supported by a lump sum payment of £500. This payment will be subject to income tax. It will not be subject to National Insurance contributions.


How long do I have to make a claim?

You can make a claim up to 42 days after the first day of self-isolation e.g. if you have been told to self-isolate on 6 September 2021 you have until 18 October 2021 to apply.


How long will this be in place for?

The scheme will run until 31 March 2022.


How do I apply?

Make an online application for a Test and Trace Support payment here.


Before you start

You will need the following information to complete the form:

  • A copy of your latest bank statement (one issued within the last two months which must clearly show proof of earnings);
  • Proof of employment, or self-employment e.g. recent business bank statement (within the last two months), most recent set of accounts or evidence of self-assessment returns;
  • Proof of the Account ID you/or your child have received from NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate.
  • Your National Insurance Number.



You may face prosecution if you have manipulated or falsified your position in order to obtain these payments, including failure to self-isolate which puts others at risk. Any payment made as a result of fraud may be subject to claw back, as may any grants paid in error.


What happens next?

The government is supporting local councils to make the necessary checks to ensure payments can be verified and have been made correctly.

We will review your application and carry out the necessary checks with other council services, other councils, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), for verification purposes, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), for tax purposes, and NHS Test and Trace to confirm your self-isolation status.

If we are able to verify your entitlement, we will contact you to confirm when you will receive your payment.


What are the penalties for not self-isolating?

You can also be fined if you do not stay at home and self-isolate following a positive test result for COVID-19,or if you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace and instructed to self-isolate because you are a contact of someone who has had a positive test result.

If you test positive for COVID-19, it is also an offence to knowingly provide false information about your close contacts to NHS Test and Trace.

Failure to comply with these requirements may result in a fine of up to £10,000.

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