Benefit and Advice
COVID-19: WORK & BENEFITS ADVICE FOR NORTHERN IRELAND
For up to date information on benefits in Northern Ireland:
IF YOU ARE IN WORK AND ARE NOT CLAIMING BENEFITS
You may be eligible to receive statutory sick pay:
If you are an employee and unable to work, because you are ill, you may be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) which is paid by your employer for up to 28 weeks.
Check your eligibility for SSP: https://www.gov.uk/statutory-sick-pay/eligibility
How to apply for SSP: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/apply-statutory-sick-pay
If you are not eligible to receive statutory sick pay:
You can apply for Universal Credit (UC) and/or New Style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if you are self-isolating and self-employed, prevented from working because of a risk to public health and/or are working on a short term or zero-hour contract (links below).
IF YOU ARE SELF EMPLOYED
You must stay at home if you or a member of your household has symptoms of coronavirus (Covid-19). If you are self-employed and unable to work, due to coronavirus, you can apply for Universal Credit or New Style Employment and Support Allowance.
IF YOU ARE A CROSS BORDER WORKER
If you have been made wholly unemployed the ‘normal rules’ apply, that means you must claim benefits from the country you are resident in. A cross border worker from Northern Ireland who has been working in the Republic of Ireland must make a claim for Universal Credit in the North.
HOW TO APPLY FOR UNIVERSAL CREDIT (UC)
You can apply for UC online at: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/claim-universal-credit-online. If you are unable to make your claim on-line you can telephone the UC helpline free on 0800 012 1331 or textphone:0800 012 1441 (for deaf or hard of hearing users and customers with speech difficulties) Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm. For further information on UC visit:https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/campaigns/universal-credit
HOW TO APPLY FOR NEW STYLE EMPLOYMENT AND SUPPORT ALLOWANCE (ESA)
You can complete an application form for ESA online at: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/publications/employment-and-support-allowance-claim-form-esa1, or call the new claims freephone number 0800 085 6318 / textphone 0800 328 3419.
For further information on ESA visit: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/employment-and-support-allowance#toc-4
IF YOU ARE ALREADY CLAIMING UNIVERSAL CREDIT
If you are already claiming Universal Credit and think you may have been affected by COVID-19 (coronavirus), contact your Work Coach as soon as possible using your UC sign in link: https://www.gov.uk/sign-in-universal-credit to explain your situation. If you are in work, claiming Universal Credit and are self-isolating, you should report this in the usual way via your online journal. If this means you are working fewer hours, the amount of Universal Credit you receive will adjust as your earnings change. (The Minimum Income Floor will not be applied if you have been affected by COVID-19).
If you are in a crisis situation you can apply for financial help by contacting the Department’s Finance Support Service on freephone 0800 587 2750 or textphone 0800 587 2751.
If you are claiming Universal Credit, you can also apply for a Universal Credit Contingency Fund grant by contacting the Finance Support Service and choosing option 2.
HOUSING ADVICE FOR NORTHERN IRELAND
You may be able to claim benefits to help pay your rent if the outbreak of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) means you are not able to work. For further information, visit the Housing Advice NI website: https://www.housingadviceni.org/coronavirus-advice. Measures have been put in place to support social and private renters as well as those experiencing homelessness. An agreement is in place with all social housing landlords (Housing Executive and Housing Associations) that any social housing tenant facing difficulties paying rent during the Covid-19 pandemic will not be evicted. More information can be found on the following link: https://www.communities-ni.gov.uk/news/housing-support-crucial-crisis-hargey
FINANCIAL ADVICE FOR INDIVIDUALS IN THE NORTH WEST
Members of the public seeking advice regarding benefits and workers’ rights are encouraged to visit Advice North West’s website: https://advicenorthwest.com/coronavirus-updates