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Coronavirus: financial support for residents

Read about how we and the government can help to support you financially through the coronavirus pandemic.

Published on: 16 January 2021

Last updated: 16 January 2021

Statutory Sick Pay and Universal Credit

If you are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), you can get £94.25 per week SSP if you’re too ill to work. It’s paid by your employer for up to 28 weeks.  

If you are self-isolating because of COVID-19 you can now claim SSP. This includes individuals who are caring for people self-isolating in the same household and therefore have been advised to do a household quarantine. Extension of Statutory Sick Pay to self-isolaters and those in the same household caring for self-isolaters is being made, payable from day 1 not day 4. 

Contributory Employment and Support Allowance will be now be available from Day 1 not Day 8 for eligible people unable to work because they are directly affected by COVID-19 or self-isolating. 

Further relaxation of the Minimum Income Floor for all self-employed claimants affected by the economic impact of COVID-19, ensuring their UC award will increase to reflect their lower earnings. 

To check your sick pay entitlement, you should talk to your employer, and visit GOV.UK for more information.  

Frequently asked questions 

When does SSP apply? 

The government is legislating for SSP to be paid from day one, rather than day four, of your absence from work if you are absent from work due to sickness or need to self-isolate caused by COVID-19. Once the legislation has been passed, this will apply retrospectively from 13 March. You should talk to your employer if you are eligible for SSP and need to claim.   

Do I need a sick note? 

From Friday 20 March onwards, those who have COVID-19 or are advised to self-isolate will be able to obtain an “isolation note” by visiting NHS 111 online and completing an online form, rather than visiting a doctor. For COVID-19 cases this replaces the usual need to provide a “fit note” after seven days of sickness absence. Isolation notes will also be accepted by Jobcentre Plus as evidence of your inability to attend.  

What if I am self-employed or not eligible for SSP? 

If you are not eligible for SSP – for example if you are self-employed or earning below the Lower Earnings Limit of £118 per week – and you have COVID-19 or are advised to self-isolate, you can now more easily make a claim for Universal Credit (UC) or new style Employment and Support Allowance. For more information on how to claim, please visit GOV.UK's Universal Credit and Employment Support Allowence webpages. 

What if I am self-employed and receiving Universal Credit? 

  • If you are self-employed and receiving Universal Credit and you have COVID-19 or are advised to self-isolate, the requirements of the Minimum Income Floor will be temporarily relaxed. This change took effect on 13 March and will last for the duration of the outbreak, to ensure that self-employed UC claimants will receive support.   
  • If you need to claim Universal Credit but have COVID-19 or are self-isolating, you will now be able to claim and to access advance payments upfront without needing to attend a Jobcentre Plus. Please visit GOV.UK for more information.
  • If you are eligible for new style Employment and Support Allowance, it will now be payable from day 1 of sickness, rather than day 8, if you have COVID-19 or are advised to self-isolate. Please visit GOV.UK for more information.