Claiming during coronavirus
Here's some information to help guide you on existing or new benefit claims during coronavirus (COVID-19).
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
- If you can't work due to coronavirus and are eligible for Statutory Sick Pay, you'll get it from day one, rather than day four of your illness. This will also apply if you're staying at home on government advice, even if you don't have coronavirus.
- If you need to provide evidence to your employer that you need to stay at home due to having symptoms of coronavirus, you can request an isolation note from NHS 111 online.
- If you're on a zero-hours contract or a gig economy worker, you may still be entitled to sick pay. Check if you can claim SSP.
- If you're not entitled to claim Statutory Sick Pay, you may be able to claim Universal Credit or Employment Support Allowance for help with your living and housing costs. You can claim Universal Credit online or call 0800 328 5644 (Mon-Fri 8am-6pm). When you call, there is like to be very long waiting timing on the line (possibly hours), but it's important you don't hang up because your claim can't be backdated.
- If you're affected by coronavirus, you'll be able to request a one-month advance payment without physically attending a jobcentre.
- If you already get Universal Credit and your income has changed, you should report this to your work coach in your online journal or call the helpline.
Universal Credit is paid to you directly, which means you're responsible for paying your full rent to us.
The easiest way to pay is to set up a Direct Debit so that, when your rent's due, it will be taken out of your bank account without you having to do anything.
Universal Credit will be paid monthly into your bank account.
- If you don’t already have one, open a bank account. Make sure you can use it to set up direct debits or standing orders to pay your bills.
- Create a monthly household budget to keep track of your spending across the month.
Employment Support Allowance (ESA)
If you're suffering from coronavirus or are required to stay at home and want to apply for ESA, it will now be payable from day one. Check if you can claim ESA.
- You may already be in receipt of the older style benefits such as Income Support, Employment Support Allowance or Job Seekers Allowance (JSA). For these, you should report any changes of circumstances, including any changes of income, by contacting the DWP on 0800 169 0310. Please have your National Insurance number to hand.
- As of 19 March 2020, people receiving benefits do not need to attend jobcentre appointments. You will still receive benefits as usual.
- Jobcentres will remain open and continue to support people if they don't have internet access, but please call first and don't attend in person if you have any symptoms or are self-isolating. Please note, the situation is changing rapidly and it's advisable to call to check they're open first.
- If you are in receipt of housing benefit/council tax support you should email your local council benefits office if you income has changed or you have had a change of circumstances (ensuring your name, address and claim number is in the subject heading). You should send evidence of your change of income such as a payslip.
- For tax credits, if you need to report any change of circumstance for an existing claim you can contact 0345 300 3900.
If you have been affected by the Covid-19 outbreak and are worried you may not be able to meet your rent payments, please speak to your housing officer straight away.
Other support available
You can also use Citizens Advice Bureau's (CAB) online chat for any benefits, employment or housing queries. This may be better than attending your local CAB in person if you're self-isolating.