Coronavirus: Universal Credit and other benefits

Employment and benefits support

Redundancy

If you’ve been made redundant, financial support may be available whilst you look for your next job.

 

If you’re at risk of redundancy

Help with finding a job

Claiming benefits

Universal Credit

New Style JSA

New Style ESA

Help dealing with debt

 

Watch this video to learn about the support that may be available if you have been made redundant or are at risk of redundancy:

 

What to do if you’ve been told you’re at risk of redundancy

If you’ve been told that you’re at risk of being made redundant, or you’ve recently been made redundant, the Jobcentre Plus Rapid Response Service may be able to provide you with support.

This could include help finding suitable training courses, finding a new job or organising work trials, as well as additional financial support to help with things such as travel to work expenses, childcare or the costs of training.

Find out more about the Jobcentre Plus Rapid Response Service

 

Help with finding a job

If you’re looking for work, DWP’s jobhelp is a good place to start and can provide you with information and advice including:

 

Claiming benefits

If you’ve been made redundant or been told that you will soon be made redundant, there are 3 main types of financial support that could be available to you:

  • Universal Credit
  • New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance (New Style JSA)
  • New Style Employment and Support Allowance (New Style ESA)

You can find more information about each of these below. Other financial help may also be available.

Depending on your circumstances, you might be able to claim a combination of these benefits. Use a benefits calculator to get the full picture of all the financial support you might be entitled to. This can calculate the amount you may be able to receive, and could include additional help such as reduced council tax rates or cold weather allowances.

 

Universal Credit

You may be eligible for Universal Credit if:

  • you’re on a low income or out of work
  • you’re 18 or over (there are some exceptions if you’re 16 to 17)
  • you’re under State Pension age (or your partner is)
  • you and your partner have £16,000 or less in savings between you, and
  • you live in the UK

Universal Credit replaces 6 existing benefits and tax credits:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Working Tax Credit

If you already receive any of these and your circumstances change, it may mean that you need to apply for Universal Credit instead.

Find out more about eligibility for Universal Credit. You can apply for Universal Credit online.

If you currently receive tax credits

If you currently receive tax credits from HMRC please be aware that if you submit a claim for Universal Credit your tax credit award will end immediately. If your tax credit award ends it cannot be re-opened, and it will not be possible to make a new tax credits claim in the future.

If you are an existing tax credit claimant, this does not mean you will be automatically eligible to receive Universal Credit. If you submit a Universal Credit claim your tax credit award will be closed immediately, even if you are not eligible for Universal Credit.

If you currently receive tax credits, please check the eligibility criteria for Universal Credit before you submit a Universal Credit claim. If your tax credit award has not ended, you will need to decide whether remaining on tax credits (if you would still be entitled to them) or claiming Universal Credit is better for you, based on your own personal circumstances. Use a benefits calculator to get an idea of what you might be entitled to.

Redundancy payments and Universal Credit

With Universal Credit, redundancy payments are treated as ‘capital’. Capital includes things such as savings and investments.

If you and your partner (if applicable) have capital (including savings) over £16,000 you will not be able to get Universal Credit. Capital between £6,000 and £16,000 is treated as generating income, and may reduce your Universal Credit payment. Capital below £6,000 will not affect your Universal Credit payments.

Find out more about how capital affects Universal Credit payments. If you’re already claiming Universal Credit, it is your responsibility to report any changes of circumstances, including changes to your savings and capital. You can do this through your online account

If you are not eligible for Universal Credit you may be able to receive New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance or New Style Employment and Support Allowance.

 

New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance

If you have worked regularly as an employee over the last few years and paid enough National Insurance contributions, you may be able to get New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance (New Style JSA). Your savings and your partner’s income will not affect your eligibility for New Style JSA.

New Style JSA is a personal benefit for people who are looking for work and are unemployed or working less than 16 hours per week. New Style JSA can be claimed on its own, or alongside Universal Credit if you’re eligible for both. You may be eligible for New Style JSA even if you’re not eligible for Universal Credit or other types of financial support.

If you get New Style JSA at the same time as you get Universal Credit, your Universal Credit payments will be reduced. For every £1 you receive from New Style JSA, your Universal Credit payment will be reduced by £1.

If you receive New Style JSA you will be awarded Class 1 National Insurance credits, which count towards your state pension and may help you qualify for some other benefits. Universal Credit claimants receive Class 3 credits, which go towards the state pension, but not other benefits. This is why you may want to claim both New Style JSA and Universal Credit if you can.

Read more about eligibility for New Style JSA. You can apply for New Style JSA online

 

New Style Employment and Support Allowance

You may be able to get New Style Employment and Support Allowance (New Style ESA) if you have a health condition or a disability that limits your capability for work. You usually need to have worked for at least 26 weeks over the last 2 tax years, and paid or been credited with enough National Insurance contributions.

Your savings, your income and your partner’s income will not usually affect your eligibility for New Style ESA, but a personal pension may be taken into account.

If you get New Style ESA at the same time as you get Universal Credit, your Universal Credit payments will be reduced. For every £1 you receive from New Style ESA, your Universal Credit payment will be reduced by £1.

If you receive New Style ESA you will be awarded Class 1 National Insurance credits, which count towards your state pension and other benefits. Universal Credit claimants receive Class 3 contributions, which go towards the state pension, but not other benefits. This is why you may want to claim both New Style ESA and Universal Credit if you can.

Read more about eligibility for New Style ESA. You can apply for New Style ESA online

 

Help dealing with debt

If you’re struggling financially then the Money Advice Service offers a Money Manager tool which can help you budget effectively and manage your money.

Read more about help with managing your money whilst on Universal Credit.