Posted 19/03/2020

Coronavirus - Worried About Finances?

Are you worried about your financial position because of the Coronavirus?

We understand that this is a time of uncertainty, so we our specialist teams have pulled together advice for you if you have been affected by the Coronavirus and need benefits advice. This is an evolving situation so the advice below is the position as at 19 March.  We will include further updates on our website as the Government responds further.

What is the Government position?

As at 19 March, the government has announced temporary changes to some benefits:

I am unable to work as I have the Coronavirus or am "self-isolating":

If you are unable to work because you have symptoms of Coronavirus, or because you are following government guidelines to 'self-isolate' then you will be entitled to claimStatutory Sick Pay (SSP)from the first day you are unable to work.

SSP is paid by your employer if you earn at least £118 per week. You can get £94.25 per week of SSP for up to 28 weeks.

I can't work because I have the Coronavirus or am "self -isolating" but I work for myself:

If you are self-employed or otherwise ineligible for SSP, you can now more easily make a claim for two benefits.  These are Universal Creditor 'New-Style' Employment and Support Allowance:

What is Universal Credit?

Universal Creditis a means-tested single, monthly payment to help with your living costs, including your rent. It replaces 6 existing benefits: Housing Benefit, Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA), and income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). If you are already claiming any of these benefits, a claim for Universal Credit may affect your entitlement so please seek further advice before making a claim.

In Universal Credit currently, the rules for self-employed people have been relaxed for workers affected by Coronavirus so that your actual earnings are taken into account, rather than applying the 'Minimum Income Floor' (in which it is assumed that your earnings are the equivalent to full time at minimum wage, even if your actual earnings are lower than this amount).

What is Employment and Support Allowance?

'New-Style' Employment and Support Allowancecan be claimed if your health limits your ability to work. It can be claimed if you have paid and/or been credited with National Insurance contributions in the last 2-3 years (this can be through employment or self-employment). It differs from Universal Credit because most of your income is not taken into account, and your savings also do not affect how much you can receive. 'New-Style' ESA is paid to you fortnightly.


More detailed information can be found at the following websites:

Please make sure you are getting your information from reputable sources.

If you need further information or advice, Swan's Welfare Benefits Team can be contacted by email at' or reached on 0300 303 2500, but please do bear with us as it may take us longer than usual to answer your call.