Universal Credit claimants who might not be able to work or attend essential interviews due to coronavirus might risk facing sanctions. Express.co.uk has compiled a guide explaining how to ensure you avoid sanctions if you get coronavirus or if you are on mandatory self-isolation.
Universal Credit is a benefit for working people which replaces six individual benefits merging them into one singular payment.
The payment is made directly into claimants’ bank accounts and covers all the benefits one might receive.
The benefit was designed to making claiming for benefits simpler and is made monthly, or twice-monthly for some people in Scotland.
Universal Credit payments are only received by those on a low income or out of work.
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A Universal Credit payment consists of a standard allowance and any extra allowance which apply to you.
This benefits calculator enables you to determine how much you might receive.
This amount is determined by your circumstances and may change subject to any changes in your circumstances.
The standard monthly allowance for each circumstance is as follows, excluding any additional benefits you may be entitled to:
Single and under 25: £251.77Single and 25 or over: £317.82In a couple and both aged under 25: £395.20In a couple and either of you are 25 or over: £498.89.
Universal Credit coronavirus: Universal Credit is one singular payment for eligible claimants (Image: GETTY)
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Coronavirus has spread to more than 90,000 people around the world, 51 of those are from the UK.
Last week, the killer infection claimed its first British victim when a man who was quarantined on a cruise ship in Japan died.
On Tuesday, the government said up to a fifth of the UK workforce may be off sick during the peak of a coronavirus epidemic.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned it is “highly likely” the UK will see further infection and the next phase of the government contingency plan will concern delaying the spread of the virus.
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Universal Credit claimants who might not be able to work or attend interviews because of the spread of coronavirus are being urged to contact jobcentres.
Some claimants could have their payout docked if they fail to properly notify job centres.
The new welfare system requires most claimants to fulfil a set number of hours of paid work or job hunting in order to receive the monthly payment.
Concerns have been raised about payments being docked if claimants fail to properly notify job centres about being unable to work due to restrictions on public transport or having to look after a child in the event of a school closure related to the coronavirus spread.
Universal Credit coronavirus: Advice for coronavirus (Image: GETTY)
Charities are urging the government to ensure Universal Credit is “flexible enough to accommodate situations like this”.
A Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) spokesperson said: “Our staff are ready to support people if they are affected – we urge them to contact us by phone, or their Work Coach via their online journal, to explain their situation.
“Anyone not eligible to receive sick pay is able to claim Universal Credit and/or contributory Employment and Support Allowance.”
Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: “If you’ve been asked to self-isolate and you’re on low pay, or on a zero-hours contract or temporary work, then you’re literally being asked to make a choice between your health or financial hardship.
“The government need to make it easier to access statutory sick pay.
“And also to get sick pay you need a note from your doctor yet people are advised not to visit their doctor. So things like this urgently need to be looked at by the government.”
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You will need to use your online journal to explain why you cannot go to your appointment.
You can find out more about getting Universal Credit payments if you are sick here.
As part of the explanation, you will likely need to send medical evidence of your illness or disability such as:
A print-out of the medication you are onX-ray resultsScansA hospital discharge sheetAn occupational therapist’s care plan.