Last reviewed 27 August 2020

People on low incomes, who need to self-isolate and are unable to work from home in areas with high incidence of Covid-19, are to benefit from a new payment scheme, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has announced.

Starting with a trial in Blackburn with Darwen, Pendle and Oldham to ensure the process works, eligible individuals who test positive with the virus will receive £130 for their 10-day period of self-isolation.

Other members of their household, who have to self-isolate for 14 days, will be entitled to a payment of £182.

Non-household contacts advised to self-isolate through NHS Test and Trace will also be entitled to a payment of up to £182, tailored to the individual length of their isolation period.

This will not reduce any other benefits that people may receive.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “The British public have already sacrificed a great deal to help slow the spread of the virus. Self-isolating if you have tested positive for Covid-19, or have come into contact with someone who has, remains vital to keeping on top of local outbreaks.”

Individuals will be asked to provide a notification from NHS Test and Trace and a bank statement. Payments will be provided within 48 hours of the eligible individual providing the necessary evidence.

The local authority can also check the NHS Test and Trace system to confirm the individual has been asked to self-isolate, if the individual is unable to provide this information.

Checks will be put in place by the local authority to prevent fraud and ensure compliance through welfare check-ins, phone calls and employment checks.


To be eligible for the funding, individuals must:

  • have tested positive for Covid-19 or received a notification from NHS Test and Trace asking them to self-isolate

  • have agreed to comply with the notification from NHS Test and Trace and provided contact details to the authority

  • be employed or self-employed; employed people will be asked to show proof of employment, self-employed will be required to show evidence of trading income and that their business delivers services which the local authority reasonably judges they are unable to carry out without social contact

  • be unable to work from home (checks will be undertaken on all applicants) and will lose income as a result

  • be currently receiving Universal Credit or Working Tax Credit.