Coronavirus & Universal Credit

Coronavirus (COVID-19) & Universal Credit Important Announcement

Due to the recent quarantine procedures put in place by the government there has been temporary changes to the way you claim universal credit.

New Claims

If you have been affected by the coronavirus and are required to stay at home, you can still make a new claim for universal credit. You can still make your claim online, however you will not be required to attend an interview and you can claim for an advance payment without going to your local job center.

For Active Claims

If you already have an active claim for universal credit and are required to attended your local job center for an appointment, you will need to let your work coach know asap on your universal credit journal so new arrangement can be made.

Self Employed  

If you suffer financial loss in related to the corona virus your universal credit payment will be increased for that period, you can see an example below.

  • Average earnings from self-employment is £1,200 per month, but due to coronavirus and quarantine your earnings have dropped to £300. Your universal credit payment for that period will increase to cover the £900 shortfall.
  • If you are required to stay at home or are ill as a result of coronavirus you will not have the minimum income floor applied to your claim. This will only be applied for the affected period, and you must let your work coach know as soon as your claim will be affected.

Statutory Sick Pay

From March 13th 2020 special allowances will be put in place to ensure those entitled will be able to apply for sick pay the day they begin quarantine, or the day they suffer the symptoms of coronavirus.

If you are on zero hours contract you may still qualify for sick pay under these temporary changes.

You do not need a to obtain a fit note from your doctor to claim statutory sick pay, however if your employer request’s evidence you will be able to obtain this from calling NHS 111.

ESA & PIP Claimants  

If you have an active claim for personal independence payment (PIP) or employment support allowance (ESA) or disability living allowance (DLA).

If you are required to attended an assessment period within the next few weeks and you are unwell for following the government advice and are in quarantine, you can rearrange your appointments and continue to receive your benefits without penalty.

If you need to make a new claim for the above benefits because of coronavirus you will not need to provide a fit note.

Face to Face Assessments Have Been Suspended

All face to face assessments have been suspended temporarily for and health or disability claims, if you make a new claim you will not need to attended an interview until further notice.

Any current appointments already scheduled will be suspended, if you have an appointment booked with the job center and have not received a cancellation, check your online journal to ensure your appointment is still there, if it is call your local job center to confirm that it will be suspended.  


Claimant Commitments

If you have any commitments to look for work or attend interviews under your universal credit claim and you are suffering with illness or are in quarantine you can have these conditions suspended and will not be sanctioned for non-attendance.

Business Owners & Sick Pay

If you employ people who have been unable to work because of the coronavirus (and have claimed sick pay) you will be able to claim this back from the government.

A maximum refund of 2 weeks per employee.

Mortgage and Rent Help from The Government

The government released a statement claiming to help those who currently pay mortgages, the amount you may be able to claim is not yet clear, but it has been called a mortgage payment holiday.

If you rent a property, an announcement should be made in the next few days to confirm how tenants of private rented property will be helped with their housing costs.

It’s likely that if the landlords receive a mortgage payment holiday, they will be required to pass this saving or partial saving onto their tenants but this is yet to be confirmed.

If this agreement can’t be reached then the current benefit levels may be temporarily increased to cover any rent the tenants are unable to cover.


Coronavirus and Section 21

It is likely that section 21 “no fault” evictions and section 8 “rent arrears” evictions to be suspended until further notice.

The information published here is time sensitive 19th March 2020 and may be subject to change