Coronavirus - check what benefits you can get
You might be able to claim benefits or get more money on your current benefits if your work has been affected by coronavirus.
This might be because you:
are earning less than usual - including if you’re self-employed
have lost your job, been made redundant or stopped being self-employed
are self-isolating or shielding
If you’re not a UK citizen, you might still be able to claim benefits - check the rules for the benefit you want to apply for.
Each benefit has different rules - what you can claim depends on your situation and if you’ve claimed benefits before.
If you’re already claiming benefits
Universal Credit is gradually replacing these benefits:
- Housing Benefit
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit
- Income Support
You can usually stay on one of these benefits unless something about your situation has changed - this is called a ‘change of circumstance’. Not every change of circumstance means you need to claim Universal Credit.
If you claim Universal Credit you won't be able to go back to the benefit you were on before. Check if you need to move from other benefits to Universal Credit.
There might also be changes to how you manage your benefits or how much you can get. Check if the government has made any changes to benefits.
If you haven't claimed benefits before
You might be able to get Universal Credit if:
you’re on a low income
you’re not working
you have a disability or illness
you’re caring for someone
You can get Universal Credit even if you’re self-employed or on a zero hours contract.
The amount you could get depends on your situation and how much you earn. This includes money you get from furlough or from the Self-employment Income Support Scheme.
It’s best to apply for Universal Credit before trying to get other benefits. Check if you can get Universal Credit.
If you can’t get Universal Credit, you can try getting ‘new style’ benefits - you’ll need to have paid enough national insurance contributions. You might be able to get these benefits if you:
are out of work - check if you can claim new style Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)
can’t work because of illness or disability - check if you can claim new style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
If you need help deciding which benefits to claim, you can talk to an adviser.
You might be able to get:
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
You might need to self-isolate after returning from abroad. This is also called 'quarantine'. Talk to your employer about what you can do while you're in quarantine - ask them if you can:
work from home
be furloughed, if you’ve been furloughed for at least 3 weeks before 1 July 2020
take annual or unpaid leave
If your employer doesn’t agree to these things, you might be able to get Employment Support Allowance. You can’t get statutory sick pay for being in quarantine but you might be able to get it for other reasons.
Check if you can get Statutory Sick Pay
You might get statutory sick pay (SSP) if you’re following government guidance to self-isolate or you’re shielding.
You could get SSP if:
you have coronavirus or symptoms of coronavirus
someone you live with has coronavirus or symptoms of coronavirus
you're self-isolating because the NHS told you that you’ve come into contact with someone who has coronavirus
you’re in an area with a local lockdown and the NHS sent you a letter telling you to shield because you’re ‘extremely vulnerable’ - find out more about shielding on GOV.UK
You can read the government guidance about self-isolating on GOV.UK.
If you have a health condition but you’re not classed as extremely vulnerable, you can find out what to do if you’re worried about working.
Check if you can get SSP.
Check if you can get ESA
You might be able to claim contribution-based or new-style Employment Support Allowance (ESA) if:
you or your child think you have coronavirus or you’re recovering from it
you or your child are self-isolating because you came into contact with someone who might have coronavirus
the NHS sent you a letter advising you to shield because you’re ‘extremely vulnerable’
- you've been told to quarantine after returning from abroad
You’ll need to have paid or been credited with enough National Insurance contributions for 2 tax years – in 2020 the tax years are 2017-18 and 2018-19.
If you can get ESA, you’ll be paid from the first day you were sick or self-isolating.
You might also be able to get Universal Credit if you’re on a low income or not working. Check if you can get Universal Credit.
If you’re already claiming benefits and start claiming Universal Credit, you won't be able to go back to the benefit you were on before. Talk to an adviser before applying for Universal Credit.
If you're struggling to pay your bills
You can check what help you can get if you can't pay your bills. This includes things like your mortgage, energy bills, council tax or court fines.
You might be able to get other benefits - for example, if you’re a carer or have a long-term health condition. If you’re not sure which benefits to apply for, you can talk to an adviser.