To make welfare benefits easier to access for people affected by coronavirus, some changes have been made to the process of claiming Universal Credit and New Style Employment Support Allowance.

Video relay service for Universal Credit claimants

Video relay service (VRS) allows British Sign Language people to communicate with DWP advisers; a BSL interpreter communicates with both the claimant and the adviser via video link, allowing the two to have a real time conversation. VRS is already available to British Sign Language people who claim DWP disability benefits, as well as Access to Work.

British Sign Language people who need to claim Universal Credit will now also have access to this service, which should help to streamline the claiming process and provide access to funds as soon as possible.

More information here:

New Style Employment Support Allowance

You can now apply for New Style Employment and Support Allowance online, although you can still apply over the phone if needed.

If you are currently claiming Universal Credit and need to claim New Style ESA, you should use your online journal to inform your work coach about applying for ESA.

More information here:

Contact us

If you have any worries about welfare benefits, rent, debt, or anything else, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Our Advice Team are still taking referrals and can be reached at You can also find out about support available on our Coronavirus Financial Advice page.