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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Reviewed daily during the coronavirus outbreak. Check back for the latest social welfare law updates.

Announcements

Chancellor gives support to millions of self-employed individuals
HM Treasury: 26 March 2020

Government confirms £500 million hardship fund will provide council tax relief for vulnerable households
MCHLG: 24 March 2020

Hargey introduces further measures to protect the most vulnerable and their families
NI Department for Communities: 24 March 2020

Minister announces further support for those affected by COVID-19
NI Department for Communities: 24 March 2020

Claimants asked to apply online as jobcentres limit access
DWP: 23 March 2020

Coronavirus update - benefit reviews and reassessments suspended
DWP: 23 March 2020

Chancellor announces workers’ support package 
HM Treasury and DWP: 20 March 2020

Chancellor Rishi Sunak provides an updated statement on coronavirus 
HM Treasury: 20 March 2020

Online isolation notes launched - providing proof of coronavirus absence from work
DHSC: 20 March 2020

Government announces radical package of measures to protect renters and landlords affected by coronavirus
MCHLG: 18 March 2020

Payment Holidays offered to Help to Buy homeowners affected by COVID-19
Homes England: 18 March 2020

Statement from the Lord Chancellor on the running of courts during the coronavirus pandemic.
MoJ and HMCTS: 18 March 2020

COVID-19: DWP Update: Written statement
DWP: 17 March 2020

Emergency bill to strengthen coronavirus (COVID-19) response plans
DHSC: 17 March 2020

£3.2 million emergency support to help rough sleepers to self-isolate during coronavirus outbreak
MCHLG: 17 March 2020

Minister announces measures to protect the most vulnerable to ensure delivery of social security services
NI Dept for Communities: 16 March 2020

Face-to-face health assessments for benefits suspended amid coronavirus outbreak
DWP: 16 March 2020

Coronavirus support for employees, benefit claimants and businesses 
DWP: 13 March 2020

Claimants who are self-isolating because of coronavirus will not be sanctioned ‘as long as they let their work coach know before the appointment’
Work and Pensions Secretary: 9 March 2020

Sick pay from day one for those affected by coronavirus 
DWP: 4 March 2020

 

Legislation

Coronavirus Act 2020

The Coronavirus Act 2020 received Royal Assent on 25 March 2020. The Act includes measures relating to statutory sick pay; the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme; increasing the universal credit standard allowance and the basic element of working tax credit; providing some protection from eviction for tenants in the private and social rented sectors; and replacing local authority Care Act duties to assess and meet needs for care and support, with powers to assess and meet needs.

Coronavirus Bill 2019-21

The Coronavirus Bill 2019-21 was introduced in the Commons and received its first reading on 19 March 2020. The bill contains, at section 37 to 42, measures relating to statutory sick pay, including for it to be payable from day one of a person's incapacity; and for small employers to be able to reclaim the cost of SSP from the government.

Statutory instruments: Great Britain

Council Tax Reduction (Scotland) Amendment (No. 3) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 (SSI.No.108/2020). In force from 6 April 2020. Increase the amount of earnings that are to be disregarded in calculating the income of an applicant for the purposes of an award of council tax reduction in Scotland in the 2020/2021 tax year from £17.10 to £37.10.

Coronavirus Act 2020 (Commencement No. 2) Regulations 2020 (SI.No.388/2020). In force from 31 March 2020. Bring section 15 of, and Part 1 of Schedule 12 to the Coronavirus Act 2020 into force so that local authorities in England do not have to comply with certain duties in relation to meeting needs, and carrying out assessments under the Care Act 2014.

Coronavirus Act 2020 (Commencement No. 1) (Wales) Regulations 2020 (SI.No.366/2020). In force from 1 April 2020. Include provisions to bring section 15 of, and Part 2 of Schedule 12 to the Coronavirus Act 2020 into force so that local authorities in Wales do not have to comply with certain duties in relation to meeting needs, and carrying out assessments under the Care Act 2014.

Social Security (Coronavirus) (Further Measures) Regulations 2020 (SI.No.371/2020). In force from 30 March 2020. Provide for miscellaneous changes including in relation to: the minimum income floor; the standard allowance in universal credit; local housing allowance; housing benefit income disregards; work search requirements; and carer’s allowance.

Statutory Sick Pay (Coronavirus) (Suspension of Waiting Days and General Amendment) Regulations 2020 (SI.No.374/2020). In force from 28 March 2020. Disapply (retrospectively from 13 March 2020) the rule that SSP is not payable for the first three qualifying days; and provide that people with symptoms of coronavirus staying at home for 7 days, and people living in the household of a person with symptoms of coronavirus staying at home for 14 days, can be deemed to be incapable of work

Statutory Sick Pay (General) (Coronavirus Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2020 (SI.No.304/2020). In force from 17 March 2020. Provide that a person who is isolating themselves from others in accordance with advice effective on 16 March 2020 provided by Public Health England, NHS National Services Scotland or Public Health Wales relating to coronavirus, is deemed to be incapable of work.

Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit (Coronavirus Disease) Regulations (SI.No.289/2020). In force from 13 March 2020. Provide for temporary changes to ESA and universal credit including the removal of waiting days, treating affected claimants as having limited capability for work, and changes to the minimum income floor.

Statutory Sick Pay (General) (Coronavirus Amendment) Regulations 2020 (SI.No.287/2020). In force from 13 March 2020. Provide that a person who is isolating themselves from others, in accordance with advice effective on 12 March 2020 provided by Public Health England, NHS National Services Scotland or Public Health Wales relating to coronavirus, is deemed to be incapable of work.

 
Statutory Rules: Northern Ireland

Social Security (Coronavirus) (Further Measures) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020 (SR.No.53/2020). In force from 30 March 2020. Provide for miscellaneous changes including in relation to: the minimum income floor; the standard allowance in universal credit; local housing allowance; housing benefit income disregards; work search requirements; and carer’s allowance.

Statutory Sick Pay (Coronavirus) (Suspension of Waiting Days and General Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020 (SR.No.54/2020). In force from 28 March 2020. Disapply (retrospectively from 13 March 2020) the rule that SSP is not payable for the first three qualifying days; and provide that people with symptoms of coronavirus staying at home for 7 days, and people living in the household of a person with symptoms of coronavirus staying at home for 14 days, can be deemed to be incapable of work

Discretionary Support (Amendment) (COVID-19) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020 (SR.No.44/2020). In force from 25 March 2020. Provide for discretionary grants for living expenses to assist those impacted by COVID-19 whether or not the claimant has had a previous grant for living expenses within the previous 12 months.

Statutory Sick Pay (General) (Coronavirus Amendment) (No. 2) (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2020 (SR.No.37/2020). In force from 19 March 2020. Provide that a person who is isolating themselves from others in accordance with advice effective on 16 March 2020 provided by the Regional Agency for Public Health and Social Well-being relating to coronavirus, is deemed to be incapable of work.

Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit (Coronavirus) (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2020 (SR.No.33/2020). In force from 13 March 2020. Provide for temporary changes to ESA and universal credit including the removal of waiting days, treating affected claimants as having limited capability for work, and changes to the minimum income floor.

Statutory Sick Pay (General) (Coronavirus Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020 (SR.No.32/2020). In force from 13 March 2020. Provide for people who are self-isolating as a result of coronavirus in accordance with advice from the Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland to be treated as incapable of work for the purposes of statutory sick pay in Northern Ireland.

 

Guidance

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Claim for wage costs through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Source: HMRC

Guidance for employees: Furloughed workers
Source: Gov.uk

Support for businesses through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Source: Gov.uk

Self-employment Income Support Scheme

Self-employment Income Support Scheme
Source: Gov.uk

Welfare benefits

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates applicable from April 2020 to March 2021 - amendment as instructed by The Social Security (Coronavirus) (Further Measures) Regulations 2020
Source: Valuation Office Agency

DMG Memo 04/20 and ADM Memo 2/20 provide guidance on the Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit (Coronavirus Disease) Regulations (SI.No.289/2020) which came into force on 13 March 2020
Source: DWP

Council tax

Council Tax: COVID-19 hardship fund 2020-21 – Local Authority Guidance
Source: MHCLG

Housing

COVID-19 and renting: guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities
Source: Gov.uk

Government support available for landlords and renters reflecting the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
Source: MHCLG

COVID-19: guidance for hostel or day centres for people rough sleeping
Source: Public Health England and MCHLG

Social Care

COVID-19: residential care, supported living and home care guidance 
Source: Public Health England

Immigration

Coronavirus (COVID-19): immigration guidance
Source: Gov.uk

Courts and tribunals

HMCTS daily operational summary on courts and tribunals during coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
Source: HMCTS

Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice and guidance
Source: Judiciary.uk

Legal Aid

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Legal Aid Agency contingency response
Source: Legal Aid Agency

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Calculator

Self-employment Income Support reckoner from Ferret


Other resources

Coronavirus (COVID-19): What you need to do: gov.uk

Get an isolation note: NHS

Coronavirus (COVID-19) health information and advice: NHS

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance: Public Health England

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Health Protection Scotland

Latest information on Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): Public Health Wales

COVID-19 (coronavirus): Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland