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Covid 19 and the Welfare System

Fri 20th Mar 2020

The Coronavirus is an ongoing public health emergency with major restrictions being put in place to stop the spread. As such, we have found ourselves in very uncertain times both for our immediate health and financial. With the current Government advise for us to work from home where possible and to actively self-isolate many are facing job losses, reduced hours or significant changes to our working lives. And while it only looks to get more restrictive these measures directly affects our finances with many of us having to consider with reduced or no wages coming in how we will continue to pay bills.

Many are now faced with the idea of considering applying for welfare support whilst navigating this challenging period. As a result of the Coronavirus pandemic the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) who are charged with the responsibility of welfare, are working hard to ensure that new unprecedented needs are considered and met, whilst reconsidering current approaches and methods. As such, for those who are considering accessing such support for perhaps the first time, it is undoubtedly a very daunting prospect. As a team we are looking to help users of our service get access to the right information whilst providing support and assistance as much as possible.  
 
As most who are considering welfare for the first time will be doing so due to unexpected financial strain it is likely they will be looking to Universal Credit. Universal Credit is a benefit for working age people designed to support both employed and unemployed people on a low income, with their basic living expenses and housing costs. It is made up of a standard allowance payment and any extra amounts that apply to the individual i.e. someone with children will get more than a single person. Payments are monthly and as a result of the current public health emergency there is no waiting period as usual with a UC application.

The amount a person receives on Universal Credit is subject to their income and any savings they may have, this means it falls into the category of means tested benefits. For those who are currently working at reduced hours and still getting an income this is where confusion is likely to arise.

The team at St. Antony's Centre have a wealth of knowledge in Universal Credit applications and can help you with assessing whether you are eligible and how much you will likely receive. In addition to this, we have an online calculator which allows you to consider multiple different scenarios and how it might influence the benefits you should apply for.  
 
If you or a person you know is concerned or would like more help with accessing information and support for welfare, get in touch with one of the team either by phone or email.  0161 848 9173 or secretary@stantonyscentre.org.uk