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Coronavirus and Benefits changes

We are aware that for many people coronavirus brings a lot of uncertainty around benefits. Below we have broken down what the changes are and how that might affect you.

What the changes are:

How might they affect you:

If you are receiving benefits, you don’t have to attend job centre appointments for at least 3 months starting from Thursday 19th March 2020.

You will continue to receive benefits as normal, but all requirements to attend the job centre in person are suspended. If you already have an assessment appointment arranged, you do not need to attend. Your assessment provider will contact you to discuss your appointment and explain the next steps to you.

The standard allowance in Universal Credit and basic element in Working Tax Credit are being increased by £20 a week on top of the planned increase.

This means that for a single Universal Credit customer (aged 25 or over), the standard allowance will increase from £317.82 to £409.89 per month.

You can still make applications for benefits online if you are elgible.

If you have made a claim for Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Employment Support Allowance (ESA), Universal Credit or Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) but do not have a date for an assessment appointment, you do not need to do anything. You will be contacted shortly by telephone or letter to let you know what happenes next.

If you have a pre payment energy meter, you are able to speak to your supplier about options on how to top up payments if you are unable to.

This could involve having a friend or family member topping it up for you, a discretionary fund added to your credit, or being sent a pre-loaded top up card so that your supply is not interrupted.

There is a complete ban on evictions and other renter protections.

With these in force, if you are renting in either social (including supported housing) or private accommodation you cannot be forced out of your home.

Find out further information on the government website here.

If you have any queries on any of this or how it might affect you, get in touch with the Benefits for Better Mental Health team by calling 01865 247788 (Monday to Thursday 9:30am-4:30pm – Friday 9:30am-4:00pm) or emailing info@oxfordshiremind.org.uk