Official Information on Universal Credit Changes

As the Coronavirus situation continues to develop, the government is making regular changes to the way in which new and existing Universal Credit claims will be processed. You can find the most up to date information here: https://www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/coronavirus/

The Department for Work and Pensions has issued the following information in relation to Universal Credit:

New Claims

We understand people who are required to stay at home or are infected by coronavirus may need financial support.

  • Those affected by coronavirus will be able to apply for Universal Credit and can receive an advance without physically attending a jobcentre.
  • The seven waiting days for Employment and Support Allowance for new claimants suffering from coronavirus or required to stay at home will not apply, so it will be payable from day one.

Employees and self-employed people

To make sure people in work can take the necessary time off to stay at home if they are suffering from coronavirus or to prevent its spread, changes have been made to Statutory Sick Pay and how Universal Credit supports self-employed claimants.

  • People who cannot work due to coronavirus and are eligible for Statutory Sick Pay will get it from day one, rather than from the fourth day of their illness. We intend this measure to apply retrospectively from 13 March.
  • Statutory Sick Pay will be payable to people who are staying at home on Government advice, not just those who are infected, this measure will apply from 13 March. Employers are urged to use their discretion about what evidence, if any, they ask for.
  • If employees need to provide evidence to their employer that they need to stay at home due to coronavirus, they will be able to get it from NHS 111 Online instead of having to get a Fit Note from their doctor. This is currently under development and will be made available soon.
  • Self-employed claimants on Universal Credit who are required to stay at home or are ill as a result of coronavirus will not have a Minimum Income Floor (an assumed level of income) applied for a period of time while affected.

Detailed Information on Benefits 

Severe Disability Premium Update

Glasspool Grants

Glasspool have already confirmed that they will be changing their processes over the next couple of weeks to ensure that people who are in hardship and need grants still able to receive them. You can find the latest information on their website here: https://www.glasspool.org.uk/news/news/post/32-glasspool-update-for-consent-form-cheques-during-coronavirus

Communicating with Companies about people's financial hardship

It is very possible that some people we support will be worried about their finances over the next few months as they may have lost jobs or have reduced hours which will make managing their money even more difficult. We have put some template letters together to help you contact companies to whom they usually make payments asking for their understanding and requesting payment holidays or reductions. 

Template Letter from Support Worker

Template Letter from Individual 

Protection for Tenants - Emergency Legislation

Please note that Welsh Government have confirmed that emergency legislation introduced by the UK Government to protect tenants and landlords affected by COVID-19 will apply in Wales. In summary, it means that:

  • Landlords will be unable to start possession proceedings to evict tenants for at least a three month period during the crisis and;
  • The three month mortgage payment holiday will be extended to Buy to Let mortgages to protect landlords.

More information can be found here: https://gov.wales/greater-protection-tenants-and-landlords-affected-coronavirus-wales