• Allison Houghton

Coronavirus and claiming benefits

This page provides information about coronavirus and claiming benefits. It will continue to be updated. Please check this page regularly for updates on the arrangements the Department for Work and Pensions is making to support those who are affected by coronavirus.


For health information and advice see the NHS pages on coronavirus

Learn more about the government response to coronavirus


If you’re in work and not claiming benefits

If you cannot work due to coronavirus and are eligible for Statutory Sick Pay you will get it from day one, rather than from the fourth day of your illness. DWP intends to legislate so this measure applies retrospectively from 13 March 2020.

Statutory Sick Pay will be payable if you have coronavirus or are self-isolating on government advice.

If you are a gig worker and/or on a zero hours contract, you may be entitled to sick pay. Check your eligibility for Statutory Sick Pay

If you need to provide evidence to your employer that you need to stay at home due to having symptoms of coronavirus an Isolation Note can be obtained from NHS 111 online. If you live with someone that has symptoms, an Isolation Note can be obtained from the NHS website.

If you are not eligible to receive sick pay you can apply for Universal Credit and/or apply for New Style Employment and Support Allowance

You can also apply for these if you are prevented from working because of a risk to public health.


If you’re already claiming benefits

Changes to jobcentre appointments

People receiving benefits do not have to attend jobcentre appointments for three months, starting from Thursday 19 March 2020.

People will continue to receive their benefits as normal, but all requirements to attend the jobcentre in person are suspended.

You should not attend the jobcentre unless directed to do so for an exceptional purpose.

People can still make applications for benefits online if they are eligible.

If you apply for Universal Credit you will need to make an appointment for your new claim interview. This interview will take place by telephone with a work coach. You will be given the number to call to book this appointment when you have submitted your claim.

If you’re already claiming Universal Credit and think you may have been affected by coronavirus, please contact your work coach as soon as possible. You can do this using your online journal


Changes to health assessments

In light of the current coronavirus outbreak, the Department for Work and Pensions has taken the precautionary decision to temporarily suspend all face-to-face assessments for health and disability-related benefits. This is aimed at reducing the risk of exposure to coronavirus and safeguarding the health of individuals claiming health and disability benefits, many of whom are likely to be at greater risk due to their pre-existing health conditions.

If you already have an assessment appointment arranged, you do not need to attend. Your assessment provider will contact you to discuss your appointment and explain the next steps to you.

If you have made a claim for Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Universal Credit or Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) but do not have a date for an assessment appointment, you do not need to do anything. You will be contacted shortly by telephone or letter to let you know what will happen next.

If you are already receiving PIP, ESA, Universal Credit or IIDB you will continue to receive your current payments as normal.

If you have made a new claim or wish to make a new claim, DWP will continue to take claims for all benefits.

Read the current NHS guidelines on coronavirus, including advice on those who should stay at home.


Changes to how much you’ll get

From 6 April the government is increasing the standard allowance in Universal Credit and the basic element in Working Tax Credit for one year. Both will increase by £20 per week on top of planned annual uprating. This will apply to all new and existing Universal Credit claimants and to existing Working Tax Credit claimants.


This means that for a single Universal Credit claimant (aged 25 or over), the standard allowance will increase from £317.82 to £409.89 per month.


From April, Local Housing Allowance rates will be increased to the 30th percentile of market rents. This will apply to all private renters who are new or existing Universal Credit housing element claimants, and to existing Housing Benefit claimants.


https://www.gov.uk/self-employment-and-universal-credit


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