I’m self-isolating/shielding

If you are self isolating or shielding then you may be able to claim Statutory Sick Pay or New-Style Employment and Support Allowance.

Self-isolating is where you are showing signs of Coronavirus yourself or where you are live with someone who is displaying symptoms, or where you have been notified to self-isolate due to contact with a person infected with COVID-19, and so you are not having any contact with anyone else to prevent the spread of the virus.

Shielding is where you have received a written notice telling you that you have to stay at home by the NHS because you’re at high risk of severe illness. This has mostly been ‘paused’ for now but people can still shield in areas of local lockdown.

Statutory Sick Pay

If you are self-isolating because you are displaying symptoms of Coronavirus (or someone in your household is, or you have been formally notified that you need to self-isolate because you have been in contact with someone who has the disease), or you are having to shield, and you’re unable to work as a result, you may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay.

To be eligible you must:

  • Be classed as an employee.
  • Have done some work for your employer.
  • Have average earnings of £120 a week.

Statutory Sick Pay is paid by your employer and the statutory level is £94.25/week. Some employers pay an addition to this and you should discuss this with your employer.

You will receive sick pay from the first day you are ill with Coronavirus or when you have to self-isolate in line with government guidance.

You may be able to get Universal Credit and Statutory Sick Pay at the same time. If you are receiving Statutory Sick Pay – and you don’t get Working Tax Credit or Housing Benefit – it may be a good idea to apply for Universal Credit as well, particularly if you pay rent or have children to support. If you get both, your Statutory Sick Pay will be taken into account when calculating your Universal Credit payment.

If you are already getting Working Tax Credit and/or Housing Benefit when you start to receive Statutory Sick Pay the these can continue, although you may be better off claiming Universal Credit – speak to a Benefits Adviser.

You can ‘self-certify’ for the first 7 days, but after that you will need to provide evidence to your employer that you need to stay at home due to having symptoms of Coronavirus, or you live with someone who has symptoms, an ‘Isolation Note’ can be obtained from the NHS website.

If you are not eligible to receive sick pay you can apply for Universal Credit and/or if you are self-isolating you could try for the contribution based Employment and Support Allowance – now called New Style Employment and Support Allowance.

Example:
Neil normally works full time for a local supermarket. But he is unable to go into work as he has been told he must ‘shield’ himself by the NHS due to a pre-existing health condition. His employer is paying him Statutory Sick Pay – but this is much lower than his normal wage and he has no other income – so he made a claim for and has been awarded some Universal Credit to top this up and help pay his rent.

New-Style Employment and Support Allowance

If you are self-isolating because you are (or someone in your household is) displaying symptoms of Coronavirus, and you’re unable to work as a result, and you cannot get Statutory Sick Pay, then you may be eligible for New-Style Employment and Support Allowance.

To be eligible you must:

  • Not be getting Statutory Sick Pay.
  • Have worked as an employee or been self-employed (or a combination).
  • Have paid enough National Insurance contributions, usually in the last 2 to 3 years.

New-Style Employment and Support Allowance is paid by the DWP and you will start off receiving £74.35/week. Whilst you are self-isolating or sick with the Coronavirus, you will be treated as having a limited capability for work, so you will not need to attend a medical.

You can claim on-line – entitlement depends on your National Insurance record – click here for more information.

You may be able to get Universal Credit and New-Style Employment and Support Allowance at the same time. If you are receiving New-Style Employment and Support Allowance – and you don’t get Working Tax Credit or Housing Benefit – it may be a good idea to apply for Universal Credit as well, particularly if you pay rent or have children to support. If you get both, your New-Style Employment and Support Allowance will be taken into account when calculating your Universal Credit payment.

If you are already getting Working Tax Credit and/or Housing Benefit these can continue whilst you are on New-Style Employment and Support Allowance. But you may be better off claiming Universal Credit – speak to a Benefits Adviser.

Example:
Sheila has been working as a self-employed delivery driver for the past 5 years. But she is unable work at the moment as she has had the Coronavirus and is still unwell. She has no other source of income so she has spoken to a Benefits Adviser who suggested she claimed New-Style Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit.

What if I’m not eligible for either of these?

If you are not eligible to receive Statutory Sick Pay or New-Style Employment and Support Allowance and you are already receiving Tax Credits and/or Housing Benefit, these can usually continue (although you may be better off on Universal Credit – speak to a Benefits Adviser).

If you are not already getting these and need financial help then you may be entitled to Universal Credit.

Frequently Asked Questions:

WARNING: There are many scams…..people trying to get you to tell them your bank account details. If you receive a call from someone saying they work for the DWP and asking for your bank account details, ask the caller to post a specific form of words into your Universal Credit journal so you can be sure it’s them.

The DWP regularly produce guidance or introduce new measures that may change the information on these pages. Please check back regularly for updates on the arrangements the DWP is making to support those who are affected by Coronavirus.