Councils make it easier to get financial support to self-isolate

Uttlesford District Council has worked with councils across Essex to make it easier for people who have to self-isolate to get a £500 support payment if they need it.

People must, by law, self-isolate if they are told to do so by NHS Test and Trace or Essex and Southend contact tracing.

Councils in Essex have worked together to make it easier for people on low incomes to apply for a discretionary £500 payment if they are unable to work from home while self-isolating. This includes those who are told to self-isolate because they:

·       test positive for Covid-19

·       are a parent/guardian with a self-isolating child

·       live with someone else who tests positive

·       have contact with someone in their childcare or support bubble who tests positive

Previously each local council set its own criteria and take-up was inconsistent. Now they have agreed common criteria and simplified the process. The new scheme comes into effect today (Thursday 15 April).

Employed people who earn less than £500 per week (net), have household savings below £16,000, are not on benefits and meet other existing criteria are now eligible. This includes self-employed and zero-hours contract workers.

Employees in receipt of benefits may be eligible for the national scheme.

Dr Mike Gogarty, Director of Public Health for Essex, said: "Thanks to everything the people of Essex have done Covid-19 case rates have gone from among the highest in England to about a third of the national average. But we can't let down our guard. I urge people to get tested regularly, whether they have symptoms or not, and to self-isolate if they or someone they're in contact with tests positive.

"If you carry on going out to work because you're worried about losing money, you could be spreading the virus. These changes to the discretionary test and trace support scheme will help more people to self-isolate."

For more information about support while you are self-isolating, see To apply for payments, see

To stop the spread of Covid-19 as we emerge from lockdown, everybody in Essex is urged to: 

·      Make regular self-testing a habit 

·      Apply for financial support if they must self-isolate 

·      Get vaccinated if they are invited

See for information about picking up self-testing kits from libraries or other participating outlets, or booking a PCR test. 

15 April 2021