Test and Trace support payments

If you've been contacted by NHS Test and Trace or have been identified as a close contact by the NHS COVID-19 app and told to self isolate, you could be entitled to a one-off payment of £500 to support you while you're unable to work.

You may be told to self-isolate due to receiving a positive COVID-19 test result or because you've been in close contact with someone who's received a positive result.

This scheme is available until Thursday 30 September 2021. Claims can be made up to 42 days from the first day of isolation.

If you have been told to isolate by the NHS COVID-19 app, you'll need to take steps before applying for the scheme. Please find more information about this below under the 'What to do if I've been told to isolate by the NHS COVID-19 app' section.

From Wednesday 8 March, parents or guardians who are not legally required to self-isolate can apply for a Test and Trace Support Payment if they need to take time off work to care for a child or young person who is. For further details on how to access this payment please find more information below under the heading ‘Parents/carers supporting a child or young person who is self-isolating’.

You can also apply by calling (01226) 787787 and pressing option 3. Our lines are open between 9am and 4pm Monday to Friday. 

For any enquiries relating to the NHS Test and Trace scheme, please call the Test and Trace Enquiries Service directly on 119.

Am I eligible for the Test and Trace support payment scheme?

To be eligible for this payment you must:

  • have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or NHS COVID-19 app
  • be employed or self-employed
  • be unable to work from home and will lose income as a result

You must also receive one of the following benefits:

  • Universal Credit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Pension Credit
  • Housing Benefit

If you're a parent of a child who's been told to self isolate you'll only be eligible for the payment if you meet all the above criteria. These payments will be subject to income tax.

If you meet the criteria but aren't in receipt of any of the specified benefits, you may be eligible for the discretionary scheme instead (see below).

Am I eligible for the discretionary scheme?

If you meet the criteria but are not in receipt of any of the specified benefits and have been told to self isolate on or after Monday 28 September 2020, you may be entitled to our discretionary scheme instead.

Eligibility for the discretionary scheme changed from Monday 1 March 2021. To be eligible for this payment, you must:

  • have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app
  • be employed or self-employed
  • be unable to work from home and will lose income as a result

You must also meet the following criteria:

  • your gross annual salary must not exceed £26,000
  • you don't have savings of more than £5000

If your application is successful you'll receive a one-off payment of £500 under the discretionary scheme. These payments will be subject to income tax.

Please note, the criteria above only applies to claims received on or after 1 March 2021.

Parents/carers supporting a child or young person who is self-isolating

From Monday 8 March 2021, parents or guardians who are not legally required to self-isolate can apply for a Test and Trace Support Payment if they need to take time off work to care for a child or young person who is.

To apply, you must meet all the criteria below:

  • You are the parent or guardian or young person in the same household and need to take time off work to care for them while they self-isolate. This is limited to one parent or guardian per household for the child or young person’s self-isolation period.
  • You are employed or self-employed.
  • You cannot work from home while undertaking caring responsibilities and will lose income as a result.
  • You meet all the other eligibility criteria for the Test and Trace Support Payment or discretionary scheme
  • Your child or young person:
    • Is aged 15 or under (or 25 or under with an Education, Health and Care plan (EHC) and normally attends an education or childcare setting
    • Has been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or by their education or childcare setting because they have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19

The child or young person must have been told to self-isolate on or after 8 March 2021.

Applications can be backdated to this date.

Claims made by the parent/guardian can be made up to 6 weeks (42 days) after the child or young person was told to self-isolate.

Eligibility has been extended to one parent or guardian per household for the child or young person’s self-isolation period.

Evidence required

As well as the current evidence requirements for either the main Test and Trace payment scheme or the discretionary scheme, the parent/guardian will also need to provide:

  • The child’s eight- digit NHS Test and Trace ID number. This is for parents and guardians of children or young people who have received a notification from the NHS Test and Trace telling them to self-isolate.

OR

  • a communication from the child or young person’s education or childcare setting confirming they have to self-isolate. This is for parents and guardians of children or young people who have been told to self-isolate by their education or childcare setting because they have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive.

OR

  • A screenshot of a young person’s NHS COVID 19 App notification telling them to self-isolate AND evidence that the young person has an Education, Health and Care Plan. This is for parents or guardians of young people who have additional support needs and who have been notified to self-isolate by the NHS COVID-19 App.

Verifying Applications

On receipt of the application we must carry out checks to make sure the parent or guardian meets the usual eligibility criteria for a Test and Trace Support payment or discretionary payment.

Please note we do not need to check that a parent or guardian has been told to self-isolate and has engaged with NHS Test and Trace, but the following checks will be made:

  • The applicant’s identity.
  • The applicant is employed or self-employed and will lose income because they cannot work from home.
  • The applicant is receiving one of the qualifying benefits from the main Test and Trace Support Payment or meets any of the eligible criteria for a discretionary payment.
  • The applicant hasn’t already received a payment for the self-isolation period in question.

In addition, the following check must be made:

  • Confirmation of the child or young person’s details with their education or care setting.

What to do if you've been told to isolate by the NHS COVID-19 app

If the NHS COVID-19 app has told you to self-isolate because you've been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you'll need to follow some steps to request your account ID. This is because the app is anonymous, so you need to register with NHS Test and Trace by following a link in the app.

You can view a step by step video on how to request your account ID.

You must do this while you are in your self-isolation period. You can't request your account ID after you've finished self-isolating.

  • To start the process, select 'Financial support'. This button appears on the app's home screen when you've been told to self-isolate because you've been in close contact with someone who has coronavirus.
  • You'll be taken to a website which will ask you for some information to check whether you could be eligible. None of the information you provide will be passed back to the NHS COVID-19 app. The app is designed to protect your privacy and does not know who or where you are.

Applying for the payment

If your answers show that you may be eligible for the NHS Test and Trace Support Payment, there are four steps to apply for the payment:

Step 1 - Confirm who you are with NHS login

You need to log in or register with NHS login so we can check who you are. If you're registering, you'll receive a confirmation link in an email. When you read the email, make sure you keep the existing screen open so that you can continue to the next step.

Step 2 - Enter personal details

You will be asked to enter your name so that NHS Test and Trace can carry out some checks. None of your personal details will be given to the app.

Step 3 - Register with NHS Test and Trace

  • You'll get an email and text message from NHS Test and Trace within one hour. Communication hours are between 7.30am and 8.30pm. If you register outside of these hours, there may be a delay in receiving the email or text message until opening hours.
  • These messages will include a link you need to follow to complete your registration with NHS Test and Trace. You must do this while you are still in your self-isolation period. You'll not be able to apply for the NHS Test and Trace Support Payment without completing this step.
  • Once you've completed your registration you'll receive a final confirmation email and text message from NHS Test and Trace. You'll then have to self-isolate as a legal requirement. 

Step 4 - Apply for the payment 

Why is it important to self-isolate?

Self-isolating is an effective way of stopping the spread of the virus to anyone you would've come into contact with.

People who have COVID-19 can infect others from around two days before symptoms start, and for up to 10 days after. They can pass the infection to others, even if they have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all, which is why they must stay at home.

It's important you self-isolate if you are told to do so, to help protect lives.

When do I need to self-isolate?

You should self-isolate if you have:

  • tested positive or have symptoms of COVID-19
  • live with somebody that has tested positive or has symptoms of COVID-19
  • been identified as a contact by NHS Test and Trace

Find out about when to self-isolate.

Find out about how long to self-isolate for.

What evidence will I need to apply for the scheme?

If you're applying under the Test and Trace payment scheme you'll need to provide:

  • a notification from NHS Test and Trace asking you to self-isolate
  • your unique ID number, which can be found in your NHS Test and Trace notification (this is important as we're not able to accept your claim without it)
  • a bank statement in your name
  • proof of employment or proof you are self-employed, such as evidence of self-assessment returns, trading income and proof that the business delivers services which cannot be undertaken without social contact
  • evidence of the benefits you're receiving.

If you are applying under the discretionary scheme you'll need to provide:

  • a notification from NHS Test and Trace asking you to self-isolate
  • your unique ID number, which can be found in your NHS Test and Trace notification (this is important as we are not able to accept your claim without it)
  • a bank statement in your name
  • proof of employment or proof you are self-employed, such as evidence of self-assessment returns, trading income and proof that the business delivers services which cannot be undertaken without social contact
  • your last pay slip

Read our privacy statement for more information about how we'll use your data.

Can I apply for the Test and Trace Support Payment more than once?

You can apply for a claim each time you are notified by NHS Test and Trace asking you to self-isolate. The self-isolation periods must not overlap. You must meet all of the eligibility criteria, and you must provide supporting evidence each time.

What if I need help to make a claim?

If you need help to make a claim, you can call us on (01226) 787787 and press option 3. 

If you are Deaf or have difficulty hearing, you can text us on 61009. Please text the words test and trace and let us know how you would like us to contact you. 

The online form can be converted to different languages if your first language isn't English.

Someone can make claim for you online on your behalf, but payment must be made into your bank account.

Additional support available

We also have a number of financial support services available in Barnsley; find out more on our money and advice page.

For all enquiries or further information, you can contact us on (01226) 787787 and press option 3. Lines are open Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm.

For any enquiries relating to the NHS Test and Trace scheme, please call the Test and Trace Enquiries Service directly on 119.

Data protection

Any information you give to us will be held securely and in accordance with the rules on data protection. We will treat personal details as private and confidential and safeguard them. We will not disclose them to anyone unconnected with the council unless you've consented to their release or in certain circumstances where:

  • we're legally obliged to do so;
  • disclosure is necessary for the proper discharge of our statutory functions;
  • disclosure is necessary to enable us to provide you with a requested service or deal with your enquiry;
  • we are under a duty to protect public funds.

We may use the information you've provided for the prevention and detection of fraud. We may also share this information with other bodies responsible for public funds or for auditing them for these purposes.