Test and Trace Support Payment Discretionary Scheme


The Government have announced that from 28 September 2020, there will be a new legal duty on all those that test positive for COVID-19 or are identified by NHS Test and Trace as a close contact, to self-isolate. Failure to comply will be an offence carrying a fine of at least £1,000 and up to £10,000 for multiple breaches.

To support people on low incomes who must self-isolate, cannot work from home and will lose income as a result, the Government has introduced a Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme. This is important to help stop the transmission of COVID-19 and avoid further economic and societal restrictions. The scheme will last until 31 March 2021.

Individuals who qualify and meet the criteria will be entitled to a £500 lump sum payable into their bank account. These payments will be subject to income tax but not national insurance contributions. The council will be required to inform HMRC of payments made.

In addition to the main scheme, the Government has also provided guidance and limited funding for a Test and Trace Support Payment Discretionary Scheme.

Eligibility criteria

Primary eligibility criteria for the Discretionary Scheme has been set by Government, with the option for councils to introduce additional criteria to determine eligibility if these operate in addition to, rather than the criteria set out below:

A payment can be considered if an individual:

  • Has been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, either because they have tested positive for coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive. An application form must be submitted within 28 days of the start of their isolation period.
  • Is employed or self-employed
  • Is unable to work from home and will lose income as a result
  • Is not currently receiving Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit; and • Is on a low income and will face financial hardship as a result of not being able to work while they are self-isolating.

Who is not eligible?

Individuals will not be eligible for the scheme if they:

  • Continue to receive full wages while they self-isolate
  • Can work from home during a period of self-isolation
  • Began their period of self-isolation before the Self-Isolation Payment Scheme launched (28 September 2020)
  • Have not received a notification from NHS Test and Trace telling them to self-isolate.
  • Are self-isolating after returning to the UK from abroad, unless they have tested positive for coronavirus or have been instructed to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace
  • Are furloughed and their income is less because of this, except if they are furloughed, working part-time and due to self-isolation, they are losing income because they can no longer work part-time.

Local Criteria

  • A low income, for the purposes of the discretionary scheme, is set at an annual income of £18,480 or below. This figure has been calculated as 60% of the mean average income for the country.
  • Financial hardship will be determined if applicants can demonstrate that they are unable to pay their usual household bills because they have lost 2 weeks income as a result of self-isolating.
  • Universities have received over £250m for this academic year, in addition to their existing hardship funds, to support students through the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, students will only be considered for an award if they have an underlying entitlement to benefits due to disability or dependent children.

Government funding for the Discretionary Scheme is a fixed amount so, once the funding is spent, the council will no longer be able to make awards under the Discretionary Scheme. The council will, therefore, monitor applications and may make changes to local eligibility criteria to ensure the payments are available for those most in need.


People who live in Coventry who have received notification from NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate will be entitled to a self-isolation payment providing they:

Submit an application within 28 days of the start of their isolation period.  Proof of the isolation number alone is not sufficient for a support payment

Apply for a COVID-19 Test and Trace support payment online

Applications will be made online or by telephoning the council on 08085 834333, whereby an officer will assist with the online application.

All applications will require evidence which will be subject to verification before a payment is made. The council has a duty to protect the public purse and prevent and detect fraud.


There is no right of appeal against any decision not to award a payment, either for the main Test and Trace Support Payment or for applications to receive a Discretionary payment. People who are turned down will not be eligible because they do not meet the criteria.

However, where possible, we will work with you to make sure that you have an opportunity to provide the necessary evidence to support a successful application

Additional help

If you are not eligible for a payment, but need help, find out about our additional help available.

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