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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, 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 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.

If you're newly self-employed, check if you can get help from the Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund.

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 self-isolating or shielding

You might be able to get:

  • Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

  • Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

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 you’ve been told by the NHS that you’ve come into contact with someone who has coronavirus 

  • the NHS has sent you a letter advising you to shield because you’re ‘extremely vulnerable’ - find out more about shielding on NHS inform

You can read the government guidance about self-isolating on NHS inform.

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.

You won’t be able to get statutory sick pay (SSP) after 1 August if you’re shielding. You might still be able to get SSP if you can’t work from home and it’s not safe for you to go to work. You’ll need a fit note from your doctor to give to your employer.

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’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.

Check if you can get ESA

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

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