The COVID-19 emergency continues to be a rapidly evolving situation. The Government has announced measures that can be quickly and effectively operationalised and that benefit those facing the most severe financial disruption. DWP and HMRC are experiencing significant increased demand and the Government has to prioritise the safety and stability of the benefits system overall.
Alongside the temporary increases to Universal Credit standard allowances and the basic element of working tax credits which came into force on 6 April and will remain in place for the tax year 2020/21 other announced measures include:
- Regulations have been made which mean Statutory Sick Pay will now be temporarily payable from day one of an employee’s absence from work, where that absence is related to Coronavirus.
- People unable to work for more than seven days because of coronavirus can obtain an isolation note through a new online service.
- We are temporarily relaxing the Minimum Income Floor for all self-employed Universal Credit claimants affected by the economic impact of COVID-19. This means a drop in earnings during the outbreak will see a claimant’s UC payment increase.
- We are providing more support for benefit claimants in the Private Rented Sector by increasing Local Housing Allowance rates to the 30th percentile, helping to alleviate affordability challenges.
- The additional earnings disregard in Housing Benefit has been increased from £17.10 a week to £37.10.
- People applying for or receiving benefits do not have to attend jobcentre appointments for three months, starting from Thursday 19 March 2020.
- All ESA claimants suffering from coronavirus or required to self-isolate in line with government guidance, including those in the shielded group, will:
- be treated as having limited capability for work without the requirement for a fit note or undergoing a Work Capability Assessment; and,
- subject to satisfying the normal conditions of entitlement, waiting days will be removed meaning that ESA will be payable from day one of their claim
- Disabled and sick claimants who cannot attend a reassessment for Personal Independence Payments, Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit will continue to receive their payments while their assessment is rearranged.
We continue to keep the situation under review and if there are any further changes we will update Parliament accordingly.