Social Security Benefits: Coronavirus

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 11th March 2020.

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Photo of Caroline Lucas Caroline Lucas Green, Brighton, Pavilion

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the process will be for self-employed people to claim contributory employment and support allowance in the event that they have to self-isolate as a result of Covid-19; whether those people will be exempt from the face-to-face work capability assessment interview required to begin payments; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of Justin Tomlinson Justin Tomlinson The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

As part of the Government’s strategy to support people affected by the Covid-19 public health emergency, DWP is making a number of temporary changes to its benefit processes (and legislation) to ensure people who need financial help have access to the benefit system when they need it.

To avoid increasing the burden on health care professionals and the risk of further infection, we are removing the requirement for fit notes in relation to both Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Universal Credit (UC) claims relating to Covid-19 only.

Everyone that claims who is infected with Covid-19 or who is required to self-isolate will be treated as having Limited Capability for Work in ESA and UC without the requirement for medical evidence or undergoing a Work Capability Assessment.

In addition to better support the needs of people (particularly the self-employed and those not eligible for SSP) and/or not entitled to Universal Credit (UC) we are removing the seven waiting days that currently apply to ESA.

This means that everyone who makes a new claim for ESA; is entitled to the benefit and is infected with Covid-19 or required to self-isolate will be paid from day one of their claim.

Staff are ready to support people who need to self-isolate.

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