Corona Virus

COVID-19 Partnership News - 14 April 2020

The below has been provided by the Department for Work and Pensions

Requests / For Action

Covid-19 Campaign Resources

Public Health England (link is external) have produced a range of materials that can be download. They will be available in a range of languages to help land messages with the harder to reach BAME groups.

Visiting Service Arrangements

DWP Visiting Service has suspended routine face-to-face home visits with the exception of the following three criteria:

  • Visits to vulnerable customers
  • Where a visit is needed to ensure benefit payments can be made
  • Visits to undertake safeguarding checks

For our partners who make referrals to DWP Visiting, they can continue to do so in the same way you do at present. For all visit referrals we will undertake a risk-based assessment, ensuring they meet the criteria above and then make a decision on the best way to support the customer. Those customers who do not meet the criteria will instead be contacted by telephone or letter.

Coronavirus Updates

DWP Coronavirus Homepage | GOV.UK (link is external) | Information for Claimants (link is external) | Information for Employers (link is external) | UC Lines to Take | E&P Coronavirus Lines to Take | Operational Instructions Updates | Updates for Scotland (link is external) | Updates for Wales (link is external)

Employment and Benefits Support Website

New page to replace Understanding UC Coronavirus and claiming benefits page - DWP’s employment and benefits support.

These pages have additional information and will help answer lots of the questions partners are asking. Please continue to promote this site to partners. Visit the new Employment and benefits support site (link is external) regularly to keep up to date with the latest guidance and messages on sick pay, existing benefit claims, new claims to benefit, self-employment, housing and more. This site covers all the changes DWP is making to respond to coronavirus – not just to UC. It also includes a Frequently Asked Questions section

Local Authority Direct Bulletin

Housing Delivery Division (HDD) is producing a Covid-19 related bulletin sent weekly each Monday (or more frequently if urgent messages need communicating). These provide Covid-19 related information or changes that affects Housing Benefit and other areas of DWP, to Local Authority staff. View Covid-19 Local Authority Direct Bulletin – 08 April previous editions have been published on the Employer and Partner Knowledge Hub.

What to do if you’re already getting benefits

Guidance (link is external) for people who were receiving benefits before the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has been released on GOV.UK - this covers a range of benefit types.

Child Benefit

Parents of new-borns will still be able to claim Child Benefit despite the outbreak of coronavirus. General Register Offices are currently operating with reduced capacity and with government guidance to social distance and stay at home, new parents are advised not to visit them. They can however still claim Child Benefit (link is external) without having to register their child’s birth first to ensure that they do not miss out.

Closing Businesses and Venues and Social Distancing in the Workplace

GOV.UK has a list (link is external) detailing the status for different sectors and business types during the current coronavirus pandemic. Also recently added is advice for employers on guidance.

Claiming UC

GOV.UK has a press release - Don’t call us, we’ll call you (link is external) - which carries the message that people making new claims for UC will no longer need to call the Department as part of the process.

What is UC?

A new mini site has been added to GOV.UK to help people find out about coronavirus and claiming benefits. What is Universal Credit? (link is external) helps the user to understand what UC means for them and how it can support them if they are on a low income or out of work.

News / For Information

Benefit and Pension Rates

The weekly uprated benefit rates for 2020 to 2021 (link is external) have been published on GOV.UK.

Housing Benefit Circular

Housing Benefit Circular A7/2020 (link is external) has been issued which includes further measures for housing benefit staff to be aware of.

Social and Private Rented Sector - Wales

Support available if you are a tenant living in Wales–COVID-19’ (link is external) - This guidance details the types of financial support that people may be able to claim, along with the associated eligibility criteria. It also provides practical advice on who to go to, and what to do if people get into financial difficulty with their rent, or with general living expenses.

Social Housing Tenants Letter - Wales

Welsh Government have written out (link is external) to all social housing tenants in Wales. The letter lets them know what local authorities and registered social landlords have agreed to and where they can find guidance and support.

Critical Workers Get Free Childcare - Wales

Welsh Government is launching a coronavirus childcare assistance scheme (link is external) to support Wales’ critical workers. Under the new plans, councils will be able to use funding from the Welsh Government’s Childcare Offer to support registered childcare providers to care for pre-school-aged children of critical workers. Children who are considered vulnerable will also be included in the scheme.

Help for Students - Scotland

A £5 million package (link is external) of emergency financial support is being put in place to help students facing hardship as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Extra cash will be available to any university and college students now struggling as a result of COVID-19, including those attending private institutions.

Funeral Expenses

A press release (link is external) on GOV.UK carried the message that from 8 April financial support helping families meet the costs of funeral expenses such as coffins and funeral directors’ fees will increase from £700 to £1,000.

Funding and Initiatives

Support for the Third Sector and Volunteering - Wales

In response to the pressures on the third sector and the increasing numbers of people who want to volunteer a Welsh Government Third Sector Covid-19 Response Fund (link is external) worth £24 million has been announced.

Help for those Worse Affected by Coronavirus - Scotland

Charities Scottish Women’s Aid, Social Bite and other key partners will share up to £8 million to provide an emergency response (link is external) and ensure services can react to coronavirus (COVID-19). Disadvantaged groups facing hardships such as homelessness, food insecurity or social isolation and loneliness are among those to benefit from services.

Supporting People Affected by Alcohol and Drug Use - Scotland

Extra support (link is external) for people affected by alcohol and drug use during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been announced by the Minister for Public Health Joe Fitzpatrick.

Support for Modern Slavery Victims

Individuals supported through the modern slavery victim (link is external) care contract will be allowed to stay in government-funded safe accommodation for the next three months, as the government steps up measures to protect the vulnerable from coronavirus. These changes will take immediate effect.

Funding for Frontline Charities

Charities across the UK will receive a £750 million package of support (link is external) to ensure they can continue their vital work during the coronavirus outbreak. As part of a UK-wide package of support, £360 million will be directly allocated by government departments to charities providing key services and supporting vulnerable people during the crisis.

Published on Tuesday 14th April 2020

Tags: DWP Covid-19
Posted in News