Am I eligible for the £500 self-isolation payment?

Am I eligible for the £500 self-isolation payment?

author: Sarah Neate

By Sarah Neate

People who’ve been told to self-isolate due to COVID-19 may be able to get a payment of £500 to help with living costs. Find out how it works and if you're eligible.


The test and trace scheme has been designed to help those that have been required to self-isolate due to COVID-19. If you had to self-isolate and lost income because of this, then you might be able to make a claim.   

Whos eligible for the payment? 

You may be eligible if you’re unable to work because you: 

  • have tested positive for COVID-19, or 
  • have been told by the NHS COVID-19 app that you must self-isolate, or 
  • have been told by Test & Trace team that you must self-isolate.  

Other eligibility criteria includes: 

  • you must be employed or self-employed,  
  • you must not able to work from home 
  • having to self-isolate means you’ll lose income 

If you live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, you can check to see if you’re eligible via your local government’s website.  

Discretionary payments 

If you don’t receive benefits but are on a low income, you could still receive a discretionary payment from your local authorityHowever, some councils have reported running out of funding. If you’re not sure whether you can get one, contact your local council 

How much can I get? 

If you’re eligible, you could get £500. If you have to self-isolate more than once, you can claim each time, as long as you meet the eligibility criteria. The payment doesn’t affect any benefits you currently receive including Statutory Sick Pay. 

What if I've returned from abroad and I'm isolating?

If you’re self-isolating after arriving in the UK from abroad, you won’t be able to claim this payment. 

How long is it available for?

The scheme is due to run until 31st March 2021. 

How do I apply? 

If you’ve been told to self-isolate, you can apply for the payment via your local council website. If you check your government website, you can input your postcode and it will direct you to where you should apply based on your location. You can check here at: 

If you know someone that may be eligible but doesn’t have internet access you can apply for them, or they can apply over the phone.  

What information do I need to make a claim? 

Requirements vary slightly depending on where you live, but you should expect to provide the following: 

  • your tracking identification number (from the NHS app) 
  • proof that you’re employed or self-employed 
  • proof that your job can't be done from home 
  • proof that you’re getting one of the qualifying benefits 
  • a bank statement. 

How and when do I receive the payment?  

You’ll receive the payment directly into your bank account. Payment times vary depending on where you live. 

Can I make a backdated claim? 

The cut-off point for making a claim is fourteen days from the end of your isolation period. For example, if your isolation ended on January 1st, you’d have until January 14th to submit a claim. 

Will I pay tax on the payment? 

The £500 payment is taxable, providing it takes you over your personal allowance. You’ll need to declare it on your self-assessment form if you’re self-employed. It’s exempt from National Insurance contributions. 
 
Different councils are setting their own conditions, so check with your local council for any changes to these rules. 

Make sure you're aware of bank scams disguised as NHS messages.

Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.

author: Sarah Neate

By Sarah Neate

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Am I eligible for the £500 self-isolation payment? Am I eligible for the £500 self-isolation payment?