Carers Allowance Update – Self Isolation.

For any Carers unable to visit the person that they care for, the government has confirmed that providing emotional support counts towards the Carer’s Allowance threshold of 35 hours of care. So, using Facetime or Skype to see the person whilst keeping a safe distance is fine. Carers Allowance Unit is operating on reduced hours 9.30am to 3.30pm weekdays and can be contacted on 0800 731 0297 for calls, but has long wait times, and 0800 731 0317 for Textphone.

Help for Families During School Closures

Families with children who would be entitled to free school meals may receive food vouchers for additional costs during the pandemic worth £15. Shops taking part include Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Waitrose and M&S so far. Schools will contact parents directly.

DWP Financial Support for people affected by Covid-19

If you are self-isolating or caring for someone self isolating, you can now claim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) at a rate of £94.25 per week. It’s paid by your employer for up to 28 weeks. Talk to your employer to check sick pay entitlement. You will need to obtain an “isolation note” by contacting NHS 111, if possible the online service.

If you are not eligible for SSP you can now more easily make a claim for Universal Credit (UC) or ‘New Style’ Employment and Support Allowance.

Universal Credit is an online benefit

Anyone struggling to manage an online claim can speak to an adviser on the UC Helpline 0800 328 5644 for calls and 0800 328 1344 for the Textphone service from 8.00am to 6.00pm weekdays.

‘New Style’ Employment & Support Allowance

If you are ill or have a health condition or disability that limits your ability to work, you may be able to get ‘New Style’ Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) which can be claimed on its own or at the same time as Universal Credit (UC). This is a contributory benefit based on your National Insurance contributions. You will need a “fit note” via NHS 111 please use the online NHS 111 service where possible.

Calls for this are to the UC Helpline 0800 328 5644 (choose option 2, then option 3) for calls and 0800 328 1344 for the Textphone service (choose option 2, then option 3) from 8.00am to 6.00pm weekdays.

Face to Face Assessments Suspended

Face to face appointments have been suspended and existing benefits awards will be extended by 3 months during the current situation. Claimants will be contacted to discuss the next steps

If you have a benefit renewal form and you usually complete and return it without support, we have been advised that you can do this.