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Coronavirus: What's Changed - What is shielding?
Coronavirus - What is shielding?

People who have existing health conditions which put them at a high risk of complications from the Coronavirus may have been advised to shield.

Shielders and benefits

Those advised to 'shield' have been added as a category of people deemed to be incapable of work for the purposes of qualifying for SSP. 

Justin Tomlinson has stated that: 
"Where an individual is notified by their doctor or health service to continue to shield in cases of local lockdown and where shielding guidance is reinstated, they will be eligible for ESA or SSP. If an individual is no longer required to shield they may still be entitled to ESA or SSP where they are sick, or self-isolating and meet the eligibility conditions. People can also apply for Universal Credit."

NOTE: Instead of paying SSP, some employers might decide to designate the employee as a 'furloughed' worker - click here.

Where shielders can't work then they may be able to see an increase in existing benefit or make a new claim - see our other pages for more information.

Getting benefits paid when they have a Post Office Card Account

To prevent 'shielders' having to leave the home to withdraw benefits from a Post Office, the DWP and the Post Office launched a scheme whereby, when DWP notified the Post Office of claimants who require a cash delivery, they ensure cash is sent to their home using Royal Mail Special Delivery to arrive by 9pm the following day. Announcement from postoffice.co.uk  here. 

Proving 'shielding'

To be classed as 'shielding' they need to have received a letter from the NHS advising them to do so.. Not everyone who says they are shielding will have received this letter - variations may occur in different parts of the country and at different times.

More on the 'shielded patients list' here.

If someone believes they should have received a letter and they haven't the are best contacting their GP and explaining their situation. The gov.uk website says:
'If you think there are good clinical reasons why you should be added to the Shielded patients list, discuss your concerns with your GP or hospital clinician.'

More advice is available on the gov.uk website - click here.