We have set up a dedicated Coronavirus/COVID-19 webpage. Click here or go to

Coronavirus and benefits - special page

The aim of this page is to provide you with useful and up to date information on coronavirus and benefits. It consists of government guidance plus any other useful advice. It does not give advice on the virus itself. Also see the City Council information below

We will try to keep it as up to date as we possibly can


Benefit and Debt and money advice services in Newcastle

Our page Benefit advice services in Newcastle and benefit offices lists advice services and local Jobcentre offices in Newcastle. Most have changed their services due to coronavirus. Please see that page for any updates on those services as well as below


Coronavirus and benefits - information and advice

This relates to the special benefit rules for coronavirus. Don't forget there are other benefits you may be entitled to, so check our other pages such as benefit information and Universal Credit 

Government information, legislation and guidance:

Coronavirus and claiming benefits

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 announcements below.

See also Other guidance below


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

Guidance for employees, employers and businesses

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

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

In force from 30 March 2020.

  • For self employed claiming Universal Credit - the 'minimum income floor' rule (where a minimum income is assumed) is relaxed (not applied) for the duration of the outbreak. More details on the minimum income floor
  • Carers can retain their Carers Allowance - if they have a temporary break in caring if carer or cared for person is isolated due to coronavirus. NB. government has confirmed that emotional support counts for Carers Allowance. More details from carersuk
  • Universal Credit basic amount is temporarily increased by £20 a week from April 2020 until 5 April 2021. 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, and Housing Benefit rules are changed so that the extra amount of WTC is also ignored
  • Help with rent is improved for private tenants. Housing Benefit or Universal Credit housing costs for private tenants known as Local Housing Allowance is more generous
  • 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 for three months.
  • JSA claimants or a child of theirs who have coronavirus, can still get JSA.

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 assumed)

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

DWP guidance for professionals (Touchbase):

Government announcements and press releases (latest at top):

Voucher scheme launches for schools providing free school meals

Weekly shopping vouchers worth £15 to spend at supermarkets while schools are closed due to coronavirus

Press release 31 March 2020

Government support for landlords and tenants

" renter in either social or private accommodation will be forced out of their home."

New guidance webpage - gets updated

Work and Pensions Committee questions Secretary of State on DWP response to coronavirus

Wed 25 March 2020

Government confirms £500 million hardship fund will provide council tax relief for vulnerable households

£500 million Hardship Fund will provide council tax relief to vulnerable people and households to help those affected most by coronavirus.

Press release 24 March 2020

Claimants are asked to apply online as jobcentres limit access

People are being urged to use online services before turning to the telephone for help with their benefit claim

Press release 23 March 2020

Coronavirus update – benefit reviews and reassessments suspended

Reviews and reassessments for disability benefits are being suspended for the next three months

Press release 23 March 2020

Chancellor announces worker's support package


  • Job retention scheme for furloughed workers (sent home but kept on payroll with 80% of pay)
  • Universal Credit and Working Tax Credits will be increased by £20 a week from 6 April 2020
  • Local Housing Allowance (Housing Benefit for private tenants) to be increased.

Press release 20 March 2020

Complete ban on evictions and additional protection for renters

Press release 18 March 2020

Payment Holidays offered to Help to Buy homeowners affected by Covid-19

Press release 18 March 2020

Face to face health assessments suspended for those on disability and sickness benefits

This includes Personal Independence Payment and the Work Capability Assessment for Employment and Support Allowance and some on Universal Credit, including face to face assessments for new claims. See also statement in Parliament: "Claimants do not need to take any action, we will be contacting claimants to discuss next steps and alternative arrangements as soon as possible. This may involve either telephone or paper-based assessments."

Press release 16 March 2020

Benefits claimants and employee support

An early announcement describing the range of extra support and measures "being put in place to help workers, benefit claimants and businesses affected by coronavirus."

Press release 13 March 2020

Claimants will not be sanctioned if they can't make an appointment due to self isolating and let their work coach know

Parliamentary statement 9 March 2020

Statutory Sick Pay will be made available from day one when self-isolating, instead of day four

Includes links to related content

Press release 4 March 2020


Other benefits guidance:

Guidance on the virus and benefits

By Disability Rights UK. Gets updated

Coronavirus: claiming welfare benefits

Explains the government measures

By House of Commons library. Gets updated

Coronavirus - what it means for you

By Citizens Advice

Coronavirus and your money

By the Money Advice Service

Free school meals:

Government guidance. Gets updated and includes:

  • Support for pupils entitled to free school meals who have to stay at home e.g. meals, food parcels or vouchers
  • Guidance on how the 'national voucher scheme' works

Employment guidance:

Coronavirus: Employment rights and sick pay

By House of Commons library. 10 March 2020

See also ACAS advice for employers and employees

Housing guidance:

Government support for landlords and tenants

" renter in either social or private accommodation will be forced out of their home."

New guidance webpage - gets updated

Government guidance for rented housing sector

For landlords, tenants and local authorities - gets updated

Coronavirus: Housing support

Describes government measures to assist households retain their homes and local authorities

By House of Commons library. 25 March 2020

Related guidance:

Guidance for hostel or day centres for people rough sleeping

Guidance on residential care, supported living and home care provision

Guidance on immigration provisions made by the Home Office for individuals affected by travel restrictions associated with coronavirus

Information about Coronavirus by ageuk



City Council information on coronavirus

See the council's dedicated page to keep you updated of coronavirus developments in Newcastle. Click here or visit 

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