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Universal Credit and Coronavirus

There have been a number of changes made to the way you can claim universal credit and the rules that apply to it as a consequence of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Claiming universal credit

The universal credit helpline (0800 328 5644; textphone: 0800 328 1344) can be very difficult to get through to. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is encouraging claimants to conduct all dealings with them online. If you cannot verify your identity online (using the government's Verify system, or the Government Gateway account if you already have one of these) the DWP will phone you to help verify your identity. For more on claiming universal credit, go to 'How do I claim universal credit?'

Limited capability for work

If you have coronavirus or self-isolate on government advice during the pandemic, or if you are caring for a child or qualifying young person who has coronavirus or needs to self-isolate, you can be treated as having a limited capability for work. You will not need to provide a fit note as evidence of this; other types of supporting medical evidence will be accepted. Contact your work coach using your universal credit online journal to explain your situation. 

The rates

The standard allowance of universal credit has been increased by £20 a week (recalculated to a monthly amount) until 6.10.21.

Income

In the calculation of universal credit, the following payments are disregarded as income:

  • test and trace support payments
  • Self-isolation Support scheme payments
  • self-isolation support grants
  • Discretionary Support self-isolation grants

Payments from the Self-employment Income Support scheme and the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme are treated as earnings.

Self-employment

If you are self-employed, the minimum income floor (an assumed income level if you earn less than the DWP expect you to earn) will not be applied until after 31.7.21.

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