To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of the level of (a) universal credit, (b) contributory employment and support allowance and (c) other financial support for people who do not receive statutory sick pay.
Universal Credit (UC) is a modern, flexible, personalised benefit reflecting the rapidly changing world of work and replaces six outdated and complex benefits with one. It is simplifying the benefits system and making work pay. Monthly assessment periods align to the way the majority of people are paid and also allows UC to be adjusted each month. This means that if a claimant’s income falls, they will not have to wait several months for a rise in their UC.
In the recent budget announcement on the 11 March 2020, the Chancellor announced the following changes to welfare provisions, in light of the fact not everyone will be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP): Rules will be relaxed for self-employed UC claimants whose earnings are affected by self-isolating due to the coronavirus so they are not financially worse off; Gainfully Self Employed claimants on UC, who are required to self-isolate or are ill as a result of Covid 19, will not have a Minimum Income floor (an assumed level of income) applied for a period of time while affected.
In addition, to better support the needs of people, particularly the self-employed and those not eligible for SSP, and/or not entitled to UC, we are removing the seven waiting days that currently apply to Employment Support Allowance (ESA). This means that everyone who makes a new claim for ESA and is entitled to the benefit, who are infected with COVID-19 or required to self-isolate, will be paid from day one of their claim.