Benefit changes 2

Benefit changes

New Style Employment and Support Allowance

You may be able to claim New Style Employment and Support Allowance with, or instead of Universal Credit, depending on your National Insurance record.

You (or your partner’s) savings will not affect how much New Style ESA you’re paid. If your partner works, it does not affect your claim.

Most income is not taken into account (but a personal pension can affect the amount you may receive).

While you receive New Style ESA you will earn Class 1 National Insurance credits, which can help towards your State Pension and other contributory benefits in the future.

It is a regular fortnightly payment.


To get New Style ESA you usually need to have been working within the last 2 to 3 years, and have made (or been credited with) Class 1 or Class 2 National Insurance contributions.

For further information please see:

Universal Credit

You will continue to receive Universal Credit as normal during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

If you are working while claiming Universal Credit, your payments will be adjusted if you can no longer work due to coronavirus. Report any changes in your online account in the usual way.

The standard allowance increased on 6 April 2020. For example, for a single Universal Credit claimant (aged 25 and over) it has increased from £317.82 to £409.89 a month. You must still report any changes in circumstances in the normal way

Interviews and medical assessments

Interviews and assessments will be done by telephone. You should not go to a Jobcentre Plus unless asked to do so for an exceptional purpose.

If you are self-employed and claiming Universal Credit

From 30 March 2020, the way your Universal Credit payment is worked out has changed because of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Payments are no longer calculated using an assumed level of earnings, called a Minimum Income Floor. They are now based on your actual earnings even if you earn very little.

The suspension of the universal credit ‘minimum income floor’ has been extended until the end of April 2021- which means many self-employed people will not now face huge drops in payments next week.


Other Benefits

The following benefits will not be affected:

  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • New Style Employment and Support Allowance
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment

Interviews and assessments will be done by telephone. You should not go to a Jobcentre Plus unless asked to do so for an exceptional purpose.

Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit

If you currently receive tax credits and you cannot work or you are working fewer hours because of coronavirus, you do not need to report these changes to HMRC as long as you remain employed or self-employed.

All other changes to circumstances must be reported to HMRC. This includes if you or your partner lose your job, are made redundant or cease trading.

The basic element of Working Tax Credit has increased by £1,045 to £3,040 from 6 April 2020 until 5 April 2021.

You cannot claim Universal Credit and tax credits at the same time because tax credits fall within Universal Credit and any new claim for UC will bring your tax credit claim to an end. Please note that you will be unable to claim Tax Credits again, even if your Universal Credit claim is unsuccessful.