Universal Credit – Coronavirus

Following the recent advice given by the government as a result of the Coronavirus, many of us across the country will be self-isolating. Those who are employed will have access to Statutory Sick Pay, and the government has taken measures to limit the impact this cost has on employers.

However, for the self-employed who do not have access to sick pay, self-isolation probably means having no income at all. The government is due to announce further measures over the next few days that will outline the help available for the self- employed, but for the time being there are still things you can do to financially protect yourself – such as applying for Universal Credit.

The biggest issue facing those in isolation is the inability to leave the house. With new measures introduced, it’s now possible to apply for Universal Credit online or over the phone without the need to attend your local Job Centre in person.

In addition to this, up to a month’s worth of money will be made available to the claimant in the form of an advance. This eradicates the lengthy waiting times and ensures that the money is made available to you straight away.

The chancellor has also announced that the standard allowance for Universal Credit and the Working Tax Credit basic element will both be increased by £1,000 per year for the next 12 months.

Specifically geared towards the self-employed, a further temporary measure of relaxing the ‘Minimum Income Floor’ (assumed level of earnings) has been introduced – meaning that there will be more money made available to those who need it most.

This specific measure means that the self-employed will be eligible to receive a payment equivalent to the rate of Statutory Sick Pay (£95.85 per week.)

These amendments to Universal Credit will be in place for the duration of the outbreak to support those who are financially affected by the Coronavirus outbreak.

The chancellor is expected to announce further measures to protect the self-employed this evening, and an update will be provided detailing all further help made available.

Key Points

  • Applications can be made online or over the phone – you will not be required to attend an interview at the Job Centre.
  • A month’s advance will be made available, removing the usual waiting period.
  • The self-employed will have access to Universal Credit at a rate equivalent to SSP for employees.

Please get in touch if you would like any further advice on the Coronavirus and government support.