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Clackmannanshire Council Online

Worried about money?

Worried about money?

Scottish Welfare Fund

If you would like to know more about the Scottish Welfare Fund and if you are eligible to apply, please click on the link given.

If you are 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.

The qualifying criteria for Statutory Sick Pay you must:

  • be classed as an employee and have done some work for your employer
  • have been ill for at least 4 days in a row (including non-working days)
  • earn an average of at least £118 per week
  • tell your employer you’re sick before their deadline - or within 7 days if they do not have one

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 for Statutory Sick Pay you can make a claim for Universal Credit or New Style Employment Support Allowance.

If you are already Claiming Benefits

Changes to jobcentre appointments

People receiving benefits do not have to attend job centre 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 job centre in person are suspended.

People can still make applications for benefits online if they are eligible.

Job centres 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:

  • Through your online journal
  • Call the Universal Credit Helpline
    • Telephone: 0800 328 5644
    • Textphone: 0800 328 1344
Changes to health assessments

In light of the current coronavirus outbreak, the DWP 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.

Changes to how much you’ll get

From 6 April the government is increasing the standard allowance in Universal Credit and the basic element in Working Tax Credit for one year. Both will increase by £20 per week on top of planned annual uprating. This will apply 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 will increase from £317.82 to £409.89 per month.

From April, Local Housing Allowance rates will be increased to the 30th percentile of market rents. This will apply to all private renters who are new or existing Universal Credit housing element claimants, and to existing Housing Benefit claimants.

If you’re self-employed

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.

From 6 April the requirements of the Minimum Income Floor will be temporarily relaxed. This change will apply to all Universal Credit claimants and will last for the duration of the outbreak. New claimants will not need to attend the jobcentre to demonstrate gainful self-employment.

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’re making a new claim

Don’t delay making a benefit claim, even if you think you may be affected by coronavirus.

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. Job centre Plus staff are ready to support you if you are required to stay at home.

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 please follow the link given.

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 Jobseekers Allowance.

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.

If you are self-employed and are making a new application for Universal Credit, you will not need to attend the jobcentre to demonstrate gainful self-employment.

Worried about paying energy bills?

The energy regulator Ofgem has advice and guidance to questions you may have on managing your energy supply during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak. You can find the latest information on the Ofgem website.

You can also contact Home Energy Scotland if you are, or someone you know is worried about energy bills. Contact a friendly advisor free on 0808 808 2282, Monday – Friday 8am – 8pm and Saturday 9am – 5pm.

For the latest information from Home Energy Scotland and top tips for saving energy visit their website via the link given.

General Advice

For the latest advice on money and many more subjects around Coronavirus, Citizens Advice has information and help via phone and email

Support from the UK Government

UK Government have announced a package of measures:

  • the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme,
  • deferring VAT and Income Tax payments,
  • support for small and medium sized businesses who are paying sick pay to employees
  • the Business Interruption Loan Scheme and Corporate Financing Facility,
  • support for businesses paying tax: Time to Pay service.
  • guidance for businesses that have insurance cover for both pandemics and government-ordered closure.