Hello and welcome to May’s Universal Credit blog. A lot has changed since my last post and I can imagine that coronavirus has left many of us feeling anxious, particularly about our financial stability.

In this blog, I want to take the opportunity to explain what financial support is available to Universal Credit claimants affected by coronavirus, plus any government changes you should be aware of.

  • Changes to Universal Credit

    The minimum income floor for Universal Credit has been temporarily relaxed for the duration of the outbreak, for those directly affected by Coronavirus or self-isolating.

    Also, Video Relay Service (VRS) has now been extended to customers claiming Universal Credit. Over the coming months VRS will be further extended into all DWP services. VRS is already available for British Sign Language (BSL) people who claim DWP disability benefits as well as Access to Work.

  • Changes to Job Centre appointments

    Jobcentre appointments were suspended for three months from the 19th March 2020. Currently, face to face appointments are still suspended and you should not attend the Jobcentre unless there are exceptional circumstances.

    If you need to make a new claim for Universal Credit and access an advance payment, you will not need to visit the Jobcentre to do this.

  • Changes to health assessments

    The DWP has suspended all face to face health assessments for health and disability benefits.  If you receive Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Employment Support Allowance (ESA), Universal Credit, or Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) you will be contacted with advice on any action you need to take.

    New claims are also being accepted.

  • Discretionary Housing Payment

    Manchester residents can now apply for Discretionary Housing Benefit online. To apply, you must be in receipt of either Housing Benefit or Universal Credit with housing element.


You can find more information about financial support available - both to claimants and non-claimants of Universal Credit - here.

As the government continues to make changes to the benefits system, I highly recommend keeping an eye on Understanding Universal Credit and Gov.uk for regular updates.

Get in touch

I understand that this is an unfamiliar and unsettling time for many of us. If you have any worries about how coronavirus will affect your Universal Credit claim, or are claiming for the first time, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

You can click here to contact me, call 0161 448 4200, or message me on Facebook.