Anyone who tests positive for coronavirus, or is identified by NHS Test and Trace as a close contact of someone with coronavirus, are required by law to self-isolate. 

Self-isolation is critical in stopping the spread of coronavirus. It helps to ensure that those infected with the virus, and their close contacts, remain at home and stop virus transmitting to other people. 

Fines for those breaching self-isolation start from £1,000 and could increase to up to £10,000 for repeat offences and for the largest breaches, including for those preventing others from self-isolating.

A number of steps will be taken to make sure that people are complying with the rules, these include:

  • NHS Test and Trace call handlers making regular contact with people who are self-isolating, with the ability to escalate any suspicion of non-compliance to us and the police to investigate
  • Using police resources to check compliance in the highest incidence areas and in high-risk groups, based on local intelligence
  • Acting on instances where people have tested positive, but are not self-isolating

Financial support

Recognising that self-isolation is one of the most powerful tools for controlling the transmission of coronavirus, a Test and Trace Support payment of £500 will ensure that those on low incomes, or those in receipt of benefits, are able to self-isolate with financial assistance.

Who is eligible for the support payment?

If you've been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, or you're caring for a child who's self-isolating, you may be able to apply for a £500 support payment. You'll need to be on a low income, unable to work from home, and facing financial hardship. 

To apply, you'll need to have been told to self-isolate by NHS test and trace or the NHS COVID-19 app. If you're a parent or guardian, your child needs to have been told to isolate by their education or childcare provider.

First, we'll need to check a few things before you're eligible for the payment, for example you must:

  • have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, either because you’ve tested positive for coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive
  • be employed or self-employed
  • be unable to work from home and will lose income as a result
  • be currently in receipt of one of the following: Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit

Additionally, parents who are self-isolating to look after their child (or children) because they have tested positive, or have been asked to self-isolate by their school or nursery, may also be eligible for payment.

Please note, if you are self-isolating as a parent or guardian whose child or children have tested positive, then you must also:

  • be employed or self-employed
  • be unable to work from home and will lose income as a result
  • be currently in receipt of one of the following: Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit

We can't pay applicants who have been told by a friend/contact that they ought to self-isolate, without that person having formally told NHS Test and Trace who their contacts are (for which they will be under a legal duty not to knowingly provide false information).

The legal duty – and the payments – also don't apply to people self-isolating because they, or another member of their household, has symptoms. It only applies if you have tested positive for coronavirus or have been told by NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate.

This payment also does not cover people who are self-isolating after returning to the UK from abroad, unless they have tested positive for coronavirus via NHS Test and Trace, or have been instructed to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace.

How much is the payment?

Individuals who are required to self-isolate and who meet the eligibility criteria, or parents/guardians whose child or children are also self-isolating (and who meet the other eligibility criteria) will be entitled to the £500 payment. This will be payable as a lump sum.

Will these payments be taxed?

These payments will be subject to income tax. They will not be subject to National Insurance contributions.

How long will this be in place for?

The scheme will run until at least 30 September 2021. During this time, we will continue to review the scheme, including the impact of COVID-19 case rates.

How do I apply?

If you believe you are eligible for this payment as an individual who is self-isolating:

If you believe you are eligible for this payment, as a parent or guardian who is self-isolating because your child or children have been instructed to self-isolate:

If you have any further questions about the Test and Trace support payment, please email testandtracepayment@warrington.gov.uk

The Test and Trace support payment scheme is open for applications. However, applications cannot begin to be processed until authorisation is given by the Department of Health and Social Care. Therefore, the processing times outlined may not be met.


Further support while you're self-isolating

There is a range of support available for anyone whose life has been impacted by COVID-19. The pandemic has taken its toll on people in many different ways, with some people’s lives affected more severely than others.