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Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Test and Protect

Last updated: 26 Jan 2022 - see all updates
Published: 18 Feb 2021

Information and support for people who are asked to self-isolate because of COVID-19, including the Self-Isolation Support Grant (£500).

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Test and Protect
Self-isolation Support Grant

Self-isolation Support Grant

Covid self isolation support payments are designed to help ensure people who have tested positive for COVID-19, and their close contacts, self-isolate for the required period to stop the onward spread of the virus. They are also designed to encourage individuals who are eligible for this payment to get tested if they have symptoms. This is important to stop the transmission of COVID-19 and avoid further economic and Societal restrictions

If you have been contacted by Test and Protect and asked to self-isolate because of coronavirus (COVID-19), you may be eligible for a Self-isolation Support Grant (SISG) of £500.

The local authorities award the Self-isolation support grant (SISG) using the Scottish Welfare Fund Guidance.

To get the grant these things must apply:

Eligibility for a SISG is restricted to people who:

  • have received a public health request by the Test and Protect Service (or equivalent service across the UK) to self-isolate as a result of COVID-19, because they have tested positive for coronavirus
  • are the individual household contact, the parent of carer of a child under 16 who is a household contact, or the carer of a person over 16 who is a household contact who has been has been required by the Test and Protect Service (or equivalent service across the UK), the Protect Scotland app (or equivalent app), local public health director or a local Incident Management Team notification to self-isolate because they have recently been in close, household contact with someone who has tested positive
  • have received a public health request by the Test and Protect Service (or equivalent service across the UK) to self-isolate as a result of COVID-19 because they have recently been in close contact with someone who has either tested positive, or has received a public health request to self-isolate in relation to a variant of concern included on the published list and that individual’s public health request can be verified
  • have not been fully vaccinated with the coronavirus vaccine and have received a public health request by the Test and Protect Service (or equivalent service across the UK) to self-isolate as a result of COVID-19 because they have recently been in close, non-household contact with someone who has tested positive
  • have not been fully vaccinated with the coronavirus vaccine and have received a public health request by the Test and Protect Service (or equivalent service across the UK) to self-isolate as a result of COVID-19 because they have recently been in close, household contact with someone who has tested positive
  • have not been fully vaccinated with the coronavirus vaccine and have been notified by the Protect Scotland app (or equivalent app) to self-isolate as a result of COVID-19 because they have recently been in close, non-household contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus and this requirement can be individually verified
  • have not been fully vaccinated with the coronavirus vaccine and have been notified by the Protect Scotland app (or equivalent app) to self-isolate as a result of COVID-19 because they have recently been in close, household contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus and this requirement can be individually verified
  • are the identified appropriate parent or primary carer of a child under 16 who has tested positive for coronavirus or who has not been fully vaccinated with the coronavirus vaccine and has been required by the Test and Protect Service (or equivalent service across the UK), local public health director or a local Incident Management Team notification to self-isolate because they have recently been in close, non-household contact with someone who has tested positive
  • are the identified appropriate parent or primary carer of a child under 16 who has tested positive for coronavirus or who has not been fully vaccinated with the coronavirus vaccine and has been required by the Test and Protect Service (or equivalent service across the UK), local public health director or a local Incident Management Team notification to self-isolate because they have recently been in close, household contact with someone who has tested positive
  • are the identified appropriate carer of a person over 16 who has tested positive for coronavirus or who has not been fully vaccinated with the coronavirus vaccine and has been required by the Test and Protect Service (or equivalent service across the UK), local public health director or a local Incident Management Team notification to self-isolate because they have recently been in close, non-household contact with someone who has tested positive
  • are the identified appropriate carer of a person over 16 who has tested positive for coronavirus or who has not been fully vaccinated with the coronavirus vaccine and has been required by the Test and Protect Service (or equivalent service across the UK), local public health director or a local Incident Management Team notification to self-isolate because they have recently been in close, household contact with someone who has tested positive

Before the self-isolation period, you must also be:

  • employed or self-employed
  • unable to work from home, and will lose income as a result of self-isolation
  • be assessed as having low income, either 
  • the household is currently receiving, or has been awarded, but not yet received, a payment of the following benefits; or whose income may entitle them to Universal Credit, should an application have been made prior to their isolation:
    • Universal Credit
    • Working Tax Credit
    • Income-based Employment and Support Allowance
    • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
    • Income Support
    • Housing Benefit
    • Pension Credit and/or
    • means-tested Council Tax Reduction
  • be an individual who earns less than the Real Living Wage threshold
  • the household income is such that it falls within the agreed definition of ‘low income’ for this purpose; being 25% above the established UC rate for their household type in their local authority area. Please be aware that on the 6 October 2021 the UK Government will withdraw the £20 per week top up to Universal Credit. The Scottish Government has decided for the purpose of the SISG the low income rates will remain the same

Please be aware that on the 6 October 2021 the UK Government withdrew the £20 per week top up to Universal Credit. The Scottish Government has decided for the purpose of the SISG the low income rates will remain the same.

If you're affected by the Omicron variant

From 30 November 2021 to the 10 December 2021, the Omicron variant has been added a variant of concern for the purpose of eligibility for the Self-Isolation Support Grant.

The rules are different if you’re affected by the Omicron variant. Test and Protect will tell you if this applies to you.

If you’re fully vaccinated and Test and Protect tell you to self-isolate, you can still apply for the grant even if you get a negative PCR test result.

If you're the parent or carer of a fully-vaccinated child who Test and Protect tells to isolate, you can still apply for the grant if their test is negative.

How to apply

You must apply within 28 days from the day you are told to self-isolate. 

You should apply through your local council.

You can receive the Grant more than once if you are asked to self-isolate on more than one occasion, as long as these isolation periods do not overlap

Find out how to check your eligibility for your local council area.

You will need to provide:

  • a bank statement
  • proof of low income if not in receipt of a qualifying benefit
  • proof of employment or, if self-employed, evidence of self-assessment returns, trading income and proof that their business delivers services which cannot be undertaken without social contact or cannot be undertaken because of childcare or caring responsibilities
  • a declaration, separately or as part of the application form, that you will experience reduced earnings during your period of self-isolation
  • confirmation, via the self-declaration form, that you are the primary carer of an adult who needs to self-isolate, that you meet all the qualifying criteria and that you will experience a loss in earnings as a result of caring for the adult
  • confirmation, via the self–declaration form that you are the parent or primary carer of a child required to self-isolate, that you meet all the qualifying criteria and that you will experience a loss in earnings as a result of staying home to care for the child

Your local authority may ask you to provide other information to confirm you are eligible. 

Only one person can make a claim in cases where a child or an adult requiring support from a carer is required to isolate. If more than one claim is made, the local authorities should consider which is the most appropriate person to make a claim.

An applicant making a claim to support their own self-isolation period, cannot make an additional claim for looking after a child or caring for another adult during that same period. 

Local Authorities will have discretion to make a SISG award to an applicant in exceptional circumstances, where factors beyond the person’s control, mean that they were unable to apply, or unable to demonstrate that they were eligible within the 28 day period e.g. were too ill to make an application within the 28 day period or experienced delays in confirming test and protect status.

After application

Once all the information has been verified, you will receive a letter telling you the outcome of your application. Payment should be made within three working days of the application being verified. 

Exclusions

The Self-Isolation Support Grant does not cover people who are self-isolating after returning to the UK from abroad, unless they have tested positive for coronavirus or have been told to stay at home and self-isolate by the Test and Protect Service (or equivalent service across the UK).

Expansion of the Self Isolation grant payment - December 2020

Grants have been available from the local authority since 12 October 2020. Anyone told to self-isolate on or after 28 September was eligible to apply for the grant.

Eligibility for the scheme was initially expanded on 7 December 2020 to include:

  • parents or primary carers of children required to isolate
  • applicants who would ordinarily have an underlying eligibility for Universal Credit (based on earnings prior to the self-isolation request period); who experience a reduction in earnings as a result of being asked to self-isolate

Backdated applications (28 September – 6 December) from applicants who would qualify for the SISG following changes made on the 7 December are not currently being accepted.

There will be scope, on a discretionary basis, for retrospective revisions of decisions involving those parents or primary carers of children required to isolate, who had applied prior to 7 December, and had been refused solely on that ground.

Further expansion of the Self isolation grant from February 2021

Eligibility for the scheme was expanded further on 16 February 2021 to include:

  • applicants who are in receipt of means-tested Council Tax Reduction
  • applicants who earn the Real Living Wage or less
  • carers of adults required to isolate and
  • a widening of the application period to 28 days from being told to self-isolate

Someone told to self-isolate on or after 2 February (but before the extension is operational in their local authority area) will need to be able to make a backdated claim for payment.

Further information:

If your right to live in the UK includes the condition that you have no access to public funds, you can still apply for the Self-Isolation Support Grant.

If you are not eligible for the Grant, you may still be able to receive a Crisis Grant from your local authority through the existing Scottish Welfare Fund


First published: 18 Feb 2021 Last updated: 26 Jan 2022 -