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Coronavirus – check what benefits you can get

This advice applies to Scotland

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 or been made redundant
  • have stopped being self-employed

If you can’t work because you’re self-isolating

The benefits you can claim are different – check what benefits you can get if you’re self-isolating.

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 need emergency help

If you need urgent help to pay for essentials like food, gas or electricity because of coronavirus, you could apply for a crisis grant from the Scottish Welfare Fund.

The council will check your eligibility. They're getting more money so they can pay out more grants from the Scottish Welfare Fund because of coronavirus.

Read more about crisis grants from the Scottish Welfare Fund.

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: 

If you need help deciding which benefits to claim, you can talk to an adviser

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.

If you're struggling to pay for food, find out how to get help from a food bank. If you have children, check if they can get free school meals.

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

If you're a personal assistant

If you're a personal assistant employed directly by the person you support or their family, you might be able to get a one-off payment from the Scottish government of up to £500.

You can apply on the application portal for personal assistants. Before you apply, you should read the Scottish government's questions and answers about the payment.

The deadline for applying is 25 August 2021.

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