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25th March 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Financial Support

If you think your finances are going to impacted as a result of the Coronavirus you can apply for Universal Credit (UC).  You should do this right away.   Below is a link from the DWP about UC and Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).

Coronavirus and claiming benefits

To claim UC, you will need an email account. If you do not have one here is the link for a GMAIL account.  Other email accounts are also fine to use.

https://support.google.com/mail/answer/56256?hl=en-GB

To set up your UC claim you will need to create a Username and Password. You will also need to set up two security questions.  If you write these details down to help you remember, please keep them in a safe place and share them with nobody else.

Please note that if you currently receive any of form of Tax Credits and you claim UC, these Tax Credits payments will stop pending your first payment of UC.  This can take at least five weeks.  UC includes a Housing Element to cover your rent.  You will need to notify DWP of your current rent costs.  The DWP will contact the Association to confirm these amounts.

Normally, you need to claim online. If you cannot do this there is a free phone number 0800 328 5644.  Please note that we have been advised by the DWP that their phone number is currently extremely busy, and it can take a considerable amount of time to get through. Please make claims online wherever possible.

Current UC Claims

You will not have to attend Jobcentre appointments for three months and people will continue to receive their benefits as normal.

Jobcentres currently remain open and will continue to support people who are unable to use phones and online, including homeless people and those with other vulnerabilities.

Help with Fuel Costs

If you are struggling with the cost to top up your energy pre-payment meters you can speak to our Financial Inclusion Officer for advice.

Pre-payment meters and self-isolation

If you need to Self-Isolate and need your prepayment meter needs topped up phone your energy provider.  They may be able to take payment remotely.

UC/ESA/DLA/PIP medical assessments

All medical assessments have been cancelled as from 17 March 2020 for at least three months – anyone who has appointment after this date will be advised of this.  Decisions will be made on information provided on your assessment form and any medical evidence that has been included. DWP may phone you for further information, however if they receive no reply decision will be made on information provided in applications

If you are unable to hand in your assessment form (such as an ESA50 or UC50) to be completed or letters to be looked at, you should phone the relevant DWP department (on the details given in the letter they sent to you) advising they are unable to complete form and request extension.

If you require any assistance with the above or require further information, please contact our Welfare Rights Officer Ruth Matheson on 07775 430 579 or our Financial Inclusion Officer, Sam McCormack, on 07580119798.

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