Coronavirus: Universal Credit and other benefits

Already claiming benefits

Managing your Universal Credit claim

You can manage your Universal Credit claim using your online account. You do not need to call DWP as part of your new Universal Credit claim anymore.

Your Universal Credit payments

Your Universal Credit statement will show how much you will be paid this month. You can find the day your statement will be available, and the day you will be paid, in the ‘Home’ section of your online account, under ’What Happens Next’.

If you or your partner have received any wages or income since applying for Universal Credit these will be taken into account when calculating your first payment. Remember to keep checking your online journal for messages from DWP.

Jobcentre appointments

In return for receiving Universal Credit you will need to do certain things. If you are able to prepare or look for work, this will include attending appointments with your work coach.

At the moment these could be by phone or safely in our Jobcentres and we’re starting to offer video calls too.

No matter how your appointment is due to be held, it’s important that you attend. If you are asked to attend an appointment but don’t attend and don’t have a good reason why, your Universal Credit payments will be affected.

If there is a good reason why you can’t attend, let us know as soon as possible.

You will be required to wear a face covering when entering a jobcentre, unless you are in an exempt category. Do not visit a jobcentre if you have any symptoms of coronavirus. Please also follow the latest government guidance on meeting with others safely and lockdown restrictions.

You do not need to come to the jobcentre unless we ask you to do so. If you need to contact us, the quickest way to do this is online or by phone. If you do need to visit a jobcentre, they are open and one of our colleagues will be able to assist you.

You can still make applications for benefits online if you are eligible. Find out more about making a new claim

See the frequently asked questions on jobcentre appointments.

DWP can support you if you are a victim of domestic abuse. We are here to help.

We can help you access temporary accommodation such as a refuge, and put you in touch with expert local advice and support networks. The jobcentre can support you by helping you make a new application for Universal Credit, and you can apply for an advance payment where needed, which can provide quicker access to money. From this moment your ex-partner will not have access to any information about your new claim.

Health assessments

If you need to attend a health assessment, you’ll get a letter with a time for an appointment. Assessment appointments can take place face to face, by telephone or by video. Your appointment letter will set out how it will take place.

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.

Read the current NHS guidelines on coronavirus, including advice on those who should stay at home.

See the frequently asked questions on health assessments.

Changes to how much you’ll get

The government has increased the standard allowance in Universal Credit and the basic element in Working Tax Credit. Both have increased by £20 per week on top of planned annual uprating. This applies to all new and existing Universal Credit claimants and to existing Working Tax Credit claimants.

This means that for a single Universal Credit claimant (aged 25 or over), the standard allowance has increased to £411.51 per month.

Local Housing Allowance rates have been increased to the 30th percentile of market rents. This applies to all private renters who are new Universal Credit claimants, or have an existing Universal Credit claim that includes a housing element, and to existing Housing Benefit claimants.

Self-isolation support payments

You may be eligible for a self-isolation support payment of £500 if all of the following apply to you:

  • You have been told to stay at home and self-isolate, either because you have tested positive for coronavirus, or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive
  • You are employed or self-employed
  • You are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result of self-isolating
  • You are currently receiving Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit

Other eligibility criteria apply. Find out more about the self-isolation support payments where you live:

If you are not eligible for one of these payments, you may be able to get a ‘discretionary payment’ instead. You could get this if you are facing financial hardship because you cannot work from home, and as a result will lose income while you are self-isolating.

Your local authority will have details of how to apply for the self-isolation support payment and the discretionary payment in your area. The eligibility rules for the discretionary payment are set by local authorities – they will have information about how it works where you live.

If you receive one of these self-isolation support payments or a discretionary payment, this will not affect any payments you get from DWP, including Universal Credit.

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.

Self-employment

If you are self-employed and claiming Universal Credit, see the section on self-employment

Childcare costs during the coronavirus outbreak

If you are getting Universal Credit, you will be repaid costs for childcare that has taken place and you have already paid for.

You will continue to be repaid childcare costs with your Universal Credit if you are a critical worker or if you are a non-critical worker who has access to registered childcare. You will be able to claim back up to 85% of those costs, up to a maximum amount of £646.35 per month for one child, or £1108.04 per month for 2 or more children.

Read more about Universal Credit and childcare

It’s important to note that – at the end of any assessment period – you can only be reimbursed for childcare that has actually taken place during that assessment period. Read more about paying for childcare in advance

Read more about all government childcare offers on Childcare Choices

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