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Coronavirus: Summary of Measures
Summary of measures

General

New Job Retention Scheme that provides a grant to employers to enable them to pay the wages of their workforce who remain on payroll but who are temporarily not working during the Coronavirus outbreak. The grant will cover the lower of: 80% of an employee's wages or £2,500 a month. The scheme will be open for 3 months and backdated to 1st March 2020. Click here.

New Self-Employed Income Support Scheme. The government will pay self-employed people who are eligible for the scheme a taxable grant worth 80% of their average monthly profits over the last three years, up to £2,500 a month. Click here.

JSA and UC work availability and work search requirements suspended for at least 3 months.

All requirements to attend appointments at the jobcentre in person are suspended for at least 3 months, starting from Thursday 19 March 2020. Jobcentres remain open, but only for the most vulnerable claimants, such as homeless people, and by appointment only. Click here

The DWP have postponed all medical assessments for UC, ESA, PIP and IIDB until at least 19th June 2020. Click here

The DWP have suspended recovery of certain debts - click here.

A new Council Tax Hardship fund will reduce Council Tax Bills by up to £150 for anyone in receipt of Council Tax Support / Rebate. Click here

Those children eligible for free school meals who are not attending school will still receive help - generally in the form of a voucher. Click here

Certain prisoners who are being released early due to the Coronavirus will not fall under the definition of 'prisoner' and therefore be able to claim means-tested benefits (or be included in a claim for means-tested benefits). Click here

The part of the Funeral Payment that covers the costs of additional expenses such flowers, car hire, the funeral ceremony and funeral director charges for making the arrangements increases to £1,000 (from £700) for all deaths on or after 8th April 2020.

General Register Offices are currently closed. A temporary measures has been put in place that means new parents can still claim Child Benefit without having to register their child’s birth first. Click here


Statutory Sick Pay

Payable from day 1 of sickness (rather than day 4).

As getting a fit note could be problematic, employers are urged to use their discretion about what evidence, if any, they ask for.

Where claimants need one, they are able to get an ‘isolation note’ from the NHS 111 Online service.

Those classed as 'self-isolating' or 'shielding' are treated as being incapable of work.

Click here for more details.

New-Style Employment and Support Allowance

Payable from day 1 of sickness (rather than day 8).

Not required to produce a ‘fit note’ or 'isolation note'.

Those self-isolating are treated as having a limited capability for work.

Click here for more information.

 

Jobseekers Allowance

Those getting Jobseekers Allowance will be treated as being capable of work when self-isolating ie due to having Coronavirus, having symptoms or being in same household as someone with Coronvirus or having symptoms. This period will not therefore be counted as a period of sickness and a JSA claimant will not lose entitlement to Jobseeker’s Allowance because of Coronavirus disease.

 

Carers Allowance

Carers will remain entitled to Carers Allowance if they have a temporary break in caring as a result of isolation due to, or infection or contamination with, Coronavirus of either the carer or the person cared for. 

Maternity Allowance, SMP, SAP, SPP, SSPP, SPBP

Regulations in force from 25th April 2020 apply where a person is a furloughed employee for the purposes of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, and provide that normal weekly earnings (or average weekly earnings in the case of maternity allowance) are to be calculated to take into account the sums which a person would have earned if they had not been on furlough during the relevant period.


Pension Credit

Claims will be able to be made online from 4th May 2020. This change is intended to relieve pressure on the DWP's telephony system and to allow people to claim state pension credit at a time of their own choosing and without having to leave their home.

Universal Credit

Standard Allowance increased by £20 a week for 12 months from 6th April 2020. Click here.

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) changes from 1st April 2020 – pay for at least 30% of market rates.
This means a ‘re-set’ of LHA rates, which have, in the main, been frozen since 2015.

Minimum Income Floor (MIF) suspended for everyone during the Coronavirus outbreak. Click here

Claimants will not be required to produce a 'fit note' or 'isolation note' to prove they have Coronavirus or are self-isolating.

Those who have contracted Coronavirus or are self-isolating AND have written notification that they are not allowed to go to work (we assume an 'isolation note' would be enough) are treated as having a Limited Capability for Work (LCW) and therefore entitled to a work allowance if treated as having LCW on date their UC award is assessed

Claimants will not be required to attend JobCentre - click here.

Claimants can receive an Advance Payment without having to physically attend a JobCentre.

The managed migration pilot has been suspended - click here

For more information on Coronavirus and Universal Credit click here.

Working Tax Credit

The basic element of Working Tax Credit is increased by £20 a week for 12 months from 6th April 2020.

For more information on Coronavirus and Tax Credits click here

A Working Tax Credit award will continue for 8 weeks where a claimant has been furloughed or has seen a reduction in their hours click here

Housing Benefit

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) changes from 1st April 2020.
This means a ‘re-set’ of LHA rates, which have, in the main, been frozen since 2015. Some claimants will see a dramatic increase in their award.

Increase in the ’30 Hour’ earnings disregard (given to the majority of claimants who are either getting Working Tax Credit or meet the rules for it) from £17.10 per week to £37.10 a week up until 5th April 2021.

For more information on Coronavirus and Housing Benefit click here

 

Scotland

The Scottish Government has temporarily changed eligibility for a number of social security benefits to help people who are impacted by coronavirus. 

The move is to ensure people who can’t get an application in on time due to things such as illness or caring responsibilities can still get the support that they need. 

Taken from here

Best Start Grant - If someone does not get any other benefits, they normally need to be under 18 to be eligible for Best Start Grant. If they could not apply before they turned 18 because of disruption caused by COVID-19, an application will still be considered.

Pregnancy and baby payment - A baby normally needs to be under six months old for a parent to be eligible for Pregnancy and Baby Payment. If they could not apply before the baby turned six months old due to the disruption caused by COVID-19, an application will still be considered.

Early Learning Payment - A child normally needs to be between two years old and three years six months old for a parent or carer to be eligible for Early Learning Payment. If they could not apply before then due to the disruption caused by COVID-19, an application will still be considered.

Funeral Support Payment - If a person could not apply for Funeral Support Payment within six months of the funeral taking place due to the disruption caused by COVID-19, an application will still be considered.

Young Carer Grant - A young carer normally needs to be under 19 years old. If they could not apply before they turned 19 because of disruption caused by COVID-19, an application will still be considered.

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