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Coronavirus: What's Changed - Employment and Support Allowance
Coronavirus - Employment and Support Allowance
Waiting days

For people with the COVID-19 virus or who are self-isolating according to government guidance, or who are looking after a child who is infected or isolating, ‘New Style’ Employment and Support Allowance is payable (to those who meet the claiming criteria) from day 1 rather than day 8. The regulations have been amended to allow the DWP to disapply the 7 waiting days.

This measure is now due to end on 12th November 2021..

The original regulations - The Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit (Coronavirus Disease) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/289)

No need for a medical assessment

These claimants will be treated as unfit for work for the period they have the virus or are having to self-isolate, or are looking after a child who is infected or isolating.
This measure is now due to end on 12th November 2021 (for the regulations see the links above).

How much is New-Style ESA?

A claimant can get up to £74.70/week – the amount won't be affected by either their or their partner's savings or income, though it will be reduced by any private pension the claimant receives if worth more than £85/week.

Claiming New-Style ESA

New Style ESA can be claimed online.

Those who are unable to claim online should ring the UC Helpline 0800 328 5644 (or textphone: 0800 328 1344).

The DWP have stated that:

When a New Style Employment and Support Allowance claim is taken over the phone we will verify a person’s identity at the same time. Claimants do not need to complete a form. 

We are aware the phones lines are exceptionally busy and are working to improve the situation as quickly as possible. Claimants will be able to back date their claim and they should keep trying to get through on the phone.

People who have applied for Universal Credit or are already getting Universal Credit should contact their work coach or case manager about applying for New Style Employment and Support Allowance by signing in to their Universal Credit account.'

Claiming other benefits

Someone in receipt of New-Style ESA (NS-ESA) can also receive Universal Credit, but you cannot get Statutory Sick Pay, Maternity Pay, or New-Style Jobseekers Allowance if you are getting NS-ESA.

It will continue in payment for the period the claimant is having to self-isolate. If they are still unable to work, then they may be able to claim New-Style Jobseekers Allowance instead.

NOTE: If someone is off sick for any other reason, standard rules apply and New-Style ESA will kick in from day eight, not day one.

Click here for a detailed guide to New-Style Employment and Support Allowance on the gov.uk website.
I'm off work at the moment self-isolating and I'm not entitled to any SSP. I've been advised to claim Employment and Support Allowance, but isn't this for people who have had to give up work through ill health?

‘New-Style’ Employment and Support Allowance is not just for those finishing work through ill-heath – if you meet the qualifying conditions for it then even if you still have an employment contract you can make a claim for it.

Depending on your situation you may be able to make a claim for Universal Credit and / or Council Tax Support too – contact a Benefits Adviser to find out more..