Coronavirus

We have set up a dedicated Coronavirus/COVID-19 webpage. Click here or go to www.newcastle.gov.uk/coronavirus

Coronavirus and benefits - guidance and legislation

General guidance by the government and by independent organisations, followed by the main legislation that has brought in some of these measures.

See our other coronavirus and benefits pages:

Coronavirus and benefits - what the changes mean for you

Coronavirus and benefits - news

Get advice - Benefits and money advice in Newcastle - including details about the Jobcentre and other DWP contacts

Contents

Government guidance

Independent guidance

Legislation

Government guidance

Coronavirus and claiming benefits

Pinned: Guidance about claiming benefits and those affected by coronavirus. Gets updated

For example, Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) improvements, changes to health assessments, what benefits you may be entitled to, £20 a week extra Universal Credit (UC) and Working Tax Credit from 6 April, Housing Benefit for private tenants improvement, changed arrangements for contacting the jobcentre, improvement in UC for the self employed, no need for a fit note (GP sick note) to prove sick if claiming UC or ESA and no waiting days for ESA. Jobseekers Allowance and possibly UC available for those losing their job. Also covered in legislation below.

New Style Employment and Support Allowance (NS ESA) - guidance

Includes link to new service to apply for NS ESA online and new eligibility conditions introduced because of coronavirus. See also a link to download the NS ESA claim form.

Council Tax and Council Tax Reduction in Newcastle

Newcastle City Council webpage

Maternity Allowance changed to allow furloughed women to satisfy earnings rule - during coronavirus

7 May 2020. New DWP staff guidance

Change to earnings condition so that a furloughed woman is treated as if her average earnings were what she would have been paid (had she not been furloughed)

DWP guidance for professionals (Touchbase):

Tribunal service for social security appeals

Guidance on how the tribunal service (who deal with benefit appeals) will use telephone and video technology during the coronavirus outbreak

See also Tribunal service daily operations summary and courts and tribunals planning and preparation

7 May 2020.

'If you have a hearing listed, we will contact you and anyone else involved to discuss any changes, you do not need to contact us.

If you have an enquiry: Email contactsscs@justice.gov.uk. We will respond to all emails as soon as possible.

Further Information: Visit www.gov.uk/appeal-benefit-decision/submit-appeal to appeal a benefit decision online.'

Get help with benefits and pensions if you have accessibility needs

Government advice for those who have difficulty with:

  • using the phone (includes advice on Relay UK, Textphone, Video Relay Service for BSL users, alternatives to the phone including a link to ‘home visits’)
  • using a computer
  • reading letters or filling in forms
  • attending face to face meetings, and
  • managing you own affairs
  • And how to complain

Find out what you can do if you’re struggling because of coronavirus

Click through to government advice depending on your situation

Coronavirus (COVID-19): what to do if you’re employed and cannot work

Coronavirus (COVID-19): what to do if you’re self-employed and getting less work or no work

Coronavirus (COVID-19): what to do if you were employed and have lost your job

DWP advice for those wanting to claim a Sure Start Maternity Grant

DWP advice for deaf people who use BSL and the Video Relay Service

DWP complaints procedure

See also

Guidance for employees, employers and businesses

Including sick pay (Statutory Sick Pay), furloughed workers (sent home due to coronavirus but kept on payroll with 80% of pay), claiming benefits in or out of work, self employed, help with rent. Gets updated

Check if you can claim a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

 

Independent guidance

Guidance on the virus and benefits

By Disability Rights UK

Coronavirus - what it means for you

By Citizens Advice

Coronavirus and your money

By the Money Advice Service

Coronavirus guidance

By Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG)

Coronavirus, welfare benefits & money

By Contact - for families with disabled children

Coronavirus: claiming welfare benefits

By House of Commons library

Coronavirus: Support for household finances

By the House of Commons library

Coronavirus guidance

By Age UK

Coronavirus and Benefits

By Housing Systems

Coronavirus

By Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG)

Tool to help you find what financial support is available to you if you are or were recently, in work

By Child Poverty Action Group

FAQs about coronavirus and your employment rights, and what financial support might be available

By Working Families

Legislation

Social Security (Coronavirus) (Further Measures) Regulations 2020 No. 371

  • For self employed claiming Universal Credit - the 'minimum income floor' rule (where a minimum income is assumed) is not applied plus other easements - until 12 November 2020. More details on the minimum income floor
  • Carers can retain their Carers Allowance - if they have a temporary break in caring if the carer or cared for person gets coronavirus or is isolated due to it. NB. the government has confirmed that emotional support counts for Carers Allowance. More details from carersuk
  • Universal Credit basic amount was increased by £20 a week from 6 April 2020. The basic amount you get depends on your age or if in a couple
  • The basic amount of Working Tax Credit (WTC) also goes up by the same amount as Universal Credit above from 6 April 2020.
  • Housing Benefit ignores a certain amount of WTC. To take into account the above increase in WTC, from 6 April 2020, the amount ignored was increased from £17.10 to £37.10 a week
  • Help with rent is improved for some private tenants. The 'cap' on Housing Benefit or Universal Credit housing costs for private tenants (known as Local Housing Allowance) was raised, from 6 April 2020, so some may get more help towards their rent
  • Those claiming new style Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) or Universal Credit who are fit and able to work usually have work search requirements which includes being 'able and willing to immediately take up a job'. Those on old style JSA have to be available for work and actively seeking work'. These requirements are suspended, initially for three months.
  • JSA claimants or a child of theirs who have or may have coronavirus, can still get JSA

Explained in DWP guidance ADM Memo 04/20 and DMG Memo 06/20 and for Housing Benefit changes, HB Circular A7/2020

Coronavirus Act 2020

Includes some benefit measures including:

Working Tax Credit basic allowance increased from £1,995 to £3,040 a year from April 2020

Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit (Coronavirus Disease) Regulations 2020 No.289 

In force on 13 March 2020

For those affected by Coronavirus Disease, for example: 

  • Removes the seven 'waiting days' for a claim to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

  • Suspension of the 'minimum income floor' in Universal Credit for self employed (where a minimum income is normally assumed)

Explained in DMG Memo 04/20 and ADM Memo 2/20 guidance

The Social Security (Coronavirus) (Prisoners) Regulations 2020 No. 409

Law amended to allow prisoners on temporary release due to COVID-19 to claim certain benefits and be included in someone else's benefit claim

Explained in guidance A8/2020

Furloughed workers to receive full parental leave entitlement - SI. No.450/2020

Furloughed workers planning to take paid parental or adoption leave will be entitled to pay based on their usual earnings rather than a furloughed pay rate. For example, Statutory maternity pay, adoption, shared parental pay and so on.

From 25 April 2020. See also press release and guidance

How payments from Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) and Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) are treated by Universal Credit - SI. No. 522/2020

From 21 May 2020. Including:

  • A SEISS payment is treated as self-employed earnings in the assessment period it is received
  • A CJRS payment to an employer for their employees is ignored as self-employed earnings
  • Where self-employed claimants receive Coronavirus support via a loan or grant, to aide with business recovery, these payments will be disregarded for a period of 12 months, for the purposes of UC
  • The UC claim will not ‘close’ when earnings reduce UC to zero, instead they will be ‘treated as making’ a new claim for the following 5 assessment periods – so if become entitled again due to reduced income, UC can be paid without need for a new claim. A sort of ‘sleeping UC award’

Extra info from the explanatory memorandum that accompanies the regulations:

The Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) allows self-employed people to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 a month to cover their earnings. It is available for 3 months, but may be extended

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is a temporary scheme which was initially in place for 4 months starting from 1st March 2020, but has now been extended until the end of October 2020

Although the SEISS has been put in place since April 2020, payments from it are only expected to come through in May 2020. As a result, some self-employed people may have claimed Universal Credit (UC) since the beginning of the ‘lockdown’ to cover their living costs.

These Regulations therefore provide for the SEISS to be taken into account as self-employed earnings in UC in the assessment period in which a payment is received. In some cases, this may mean the support available via UC comes to an end but in others where incomes are low, UC will continue to ‘top-up’ the self-employed persons’ income until it is no longer needed.

 

 

Is this page useful?
Is this page useful?