Please check this page regularly for updates on the arrangements the Department for Work and Pensions is making to support those who are affected by coronavirus.
Friday’s announcement saw changes announced on Universal Credit, Local Housing Allowance, Working Tax Credit and the introduction of the Coronavirus job retention scheme. Updates will be provided in due course.
For health information and advice please see the NHS pages about COVID-19
Learn more about the government response to coronavirus
If you’re in work and not claiming benefits
If you cannot work due to coronavirus and are eligible for Statutory Sick Pay you will get it from day one, rather than from the fourth day of your illness. DWP intends to legislate so this measure applies retrospectively from 13 March 2020.
Statutory Sick Pay will be payable if you are staying at home on Government advice, not just if you are infected by coronavirus. This will apply from 13 March 2020.
If you are a gig worker and / or on a zero hours contract, you may be entitled to sick pay. Check your eligibility for Statutory Sick Pay
If you need to provide evidence to your employer that you need to stay at home due to having symptoms of coronavirus an Isolation Note can be obtained from NHS 111 online. If you live with someone that has symptoms, an Isolation Note can be obtained from the NHS website.
If you are not eligible to receive sick pay you can apply for Universal Credit and/or apply for New Style Employment and Support Allowance
You can also apply for these if you are prevented from working because of a risk to public health.
If you’re already claiming benefits
Changes to jobcentre appointments
People receiving benefits do not have to attend jobcentre appointments for three months, starting from Thursday 19 March 2020.
People will continue to receive their benefits as normal, but all requirements to attend the jobcentre in person are suspended.
People can still make applications for benefits online if they are eligible.
Jobcentres remain open, and will continue to support people who are not able to use phones and online, including homeless people.
If you’re already claiming Universal Credit and think you may have been affected by coronavirus, please contact your work coach as soon as possible. You can do this by:
Changes to health assessments
In light of the current coronavirus outbreak, the Department for Work and Pensions has taken the precautionary decision to temporarily suspend all face-to-face assessments for health and disability-related benefits. This is aimed at reducing the risk of exposure to coronavirus and safeguarding the health of individuals claiming health and disability benefits, many of whom are likely to be at greater risk due to their pre-existing health conditions.
If you already have an assessment appointment arranged, you do not need to attend. Your assessment provider will contact you to discuss your appointment and explain the next steps to you.
If you have made a claim for Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Universal Credit or Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) but do not have a date for an assessment appointment, you do not need to do anything. You will be contacted shortly by telephone or letter to let you know what will happen next.
If you are already receiving PIP, ESA, Universal Credit or IIDB you will continue to receive your current payments as normal.
If you have made a new claim or wish to make a new claim, DWP will continue to take claims for all benefits.
Read the current NHS guidelines on coronavirus, including advice on those who should stay at home.
Changes to your earnings
If you are in work and already claiming Universal Credit, and are staying at home on Government advice, you should report this in the usual way via your online journal. If this means you are working fewer hours, the amount of Universal Credit you receive will adjust as your earnings change.
If you are self-employed and claiming Universal Credit, and are required to stay at home or are ill as a result of coronavirus, the Minimum Income Floor (an assumed level of income) will not be applied for a period of time whilst you are affected.
If you are not in receipt of Universal Credit but have an existing claim for Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax support please continue to report any change of circumstances here.
Minimum Income Floor Calculation for Council Tax Support
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Barnet Council will suspend the Council Tax Support Minimum Income Floor calculation for the self-employed until 30 September 2020, in line with the Department for Work and Pensions suspension of Minimum Income Floor within Universal Credit.
Previously, any self-employed claimant declaring less earnings than the national living wage would see their claim calculated on an assumed income equal to what they would receive if they were earning the national living wage.
This change will be automatically calculated and you do not need to apply. Any self-employed claimant affected will receive an updated notification letter and Council Tax bill once the change has been made.
If you’re making a new claim
Don’t delay making a benefit claim, even if you think you may be affected by coronavirus.
Barnet is a ‘full service’ Universal Credit area, this means that in most cases you won’t need to apply for Housing Benefit, but should apply for Universal Credit which has replaced several benefits.
You can apply for Universal Credit online. If you need to make an appointment, call the number you are given when you submit your claim, and explain the situation. Jobcentre Plus staff are ready to support you if you are required to stay at home.
Should it be necessary to apply for Housing Benefit you can apply online.
If you need to claim Universal Credit or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) because of coronavirus, you will not be required to produce a Fit Note.
If you are affected by coronavirus you will be able to apply for Universal Credit and can receive up to a month’s advance upfront without physically attending a jobcentre.
If you are suffering from coronavirus or are required to stay at home and want to apply for ESA, the usual 7 waiting days for new claimants will not apply. ESA will be payable from day one.
For more information about any aspect of Universal Credit, including how to make a claim, visit the universal credit webpage.
If you have been working within the last 2 to 3 years and have paid and/or been credited with enough National Insurance contributions, you may be able to claim New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
New Style JSA can be claimed on its own or at the same time as Universal Credit. Your savings and capital (or your partner’s savings, capital and income) are not taken into account when claiming New Style JSA.
With the rapidly changing guidance on Coronavirus we are having to adapt the way we work. The changes caused by the virus may affect how quickly we are able to deal with your enquires. To ensure your enquiry is dealt with as quickly as possible please follow the advice below.
New Claims and Changes to your Housing Benefit / Council Tax Support
Using our online forms are the most effective way to make a new claim or report a change in circumstances. This will ensure that your claim is updated as quickly as possible.
Please try resolving your enquiry using the links above. If you are not able to do this please email us at email@example.com. Following the COVID-19 outbreak it may take longer to respond to emails. Please bear with us and if possible avoid sending a follow up email and we will endeavour to respond as soon as possible.
Supporting documents can be uploaded as part of the online form process. If this is not possible, you can scan and email documents to the email address above, or email in JPEG photographs.
With measures in place to contain Coronavirus and guidance around this changing daily, we advise that you avoid making enquiries via the post as we cannot guarantee the reliability of this method. However, if you do need to post your enquiry to us this should be sent to;
London Borough of Barnet Benefits Service
PO Box 238