In the Budget on Wednesday 11th March, changes to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) and Benefit Measures were announced to ensure you are not penalised for doing the right thing in self-isolating. These change have already come into effect and will:
- Extend Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) to those who are self-isolating in line with Government health guidance.
- Adjust the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Universal Credit (UC) rules to ensure you are entitled to money from day 1, and those who are self-employed are supported, including in the gig-economy, to receive welfare payments for periods of self-isolation.
This change helps to provide certainty that (if eligible) you are entitled to receive Statutory Sick Pay if you are following government advice in relation to coronavirus. This includes if you are self isolating as a precautionary measure without symptoms.
If you are on a zero hour contract, you may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay. This will depend how many hours you have worked regularly and income received, but you should contact your employer directly to find out more.
These changes also mean that if you are affected by Coronavirus, will be able to access the benefit system without the need for medical evidence or to attend a work capability assessment. The seven waiting days for Employment and Support Allowance for new claims will not apply. It will be payable from day one.
You can find details of coronavirus support within the benefits system at https://www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/coronavirus/
These changes will ensure that if you are affected by Coronavirus, work search and work availability requirements within Universal Credit are switched off. They will also provide access to other support within Universal Credit, such as a work allowance and childcare support for if you have a partner who is still able to work. If you are self-employed, you will also not have a Minimum Income Floor (an assumed level of income) applied for a period of time within Universal Credit.