DWP: Coronavirus Touchbase special – 9 April 2020

Roundup of recent DWP announcements

Don’t call us, we’ll call you

People making new claims for Universal Credit will no longer need to call the Department as part of the process.

Instead, a bolstered frontline team will proactively call claimants if they need to check any of the information provided as part of the claim.

To help free up our staff to do this, we are asking customers to avoid calling us if they can. The majority of our services are available online and can be accessed 24/7.

This will mean our staff can make more calls, ensure claims are progressed as quickly as possible and get cash flowing to help people make ends meet.

Employment and benefits support website

Visit the new Employment and benefits support website to keep up to date with the latest guidance and messages on sick pay, existing benefit claims, new claims to benefit, self-employment, housing and more.

Increases in Universal Credit and other benefits

On 6 April the government increased the standard allowance in Universal Credit and the basic element in Working Tax Credit for one year. Both have increased by £20 per week on top of planned annual uprating. This applies to all new and existing Universal Credit claimants and to existing Working Tax Credit claimants.

Local Housing Allowance rates have been increased to the 30th percentile of market rents. This applies to all private renters who are new or existing Universal Credit housing element claimants, and to existing Housing Benefit claimants.

Support towards funeral expenses

Financial support helping families meet the costs of funeral expenses such as coffins and funeral directors’ fees has increased from £700 to £1,000.

The change, announced in November 2019, came into effect on 8 April 2020. It means that the maximum amount families can claim for these type of costs will rise by 43 per cent. This payment is on top of existing allowances that pay for other funeral costs, such as burial or cremation fees.

Information around eligibility and how to apply can be found GOV.UK.

State Pension Adult Dependency Increase ends

The Pensions Act 2007 ended new claims to State Pension Adult Dependency Increase (ADI) from 6 April 2010. Existing recipients could continue to receive it until 5 April 2020, as long as they continued to meet the qualifying conditions. DWP has sent letters to all those affected twice last year and again this week to remind people of the changes and let them know where they can access support.

Claim Child Benefit by phone or post

HMRC is reminding new parents that they will still be able to claim Child Benefit despite the outbreak of coronavirus.

Even though General Register Offices remain closed for now, parents can still claim Child Benefit without having to register their child’s birth first to ensure that they do not miss out.

Stay Home Save Lives materials to share

An additional range of public information materials has been produced including other languages and accessible formats.

The languages include: Polish, Russian, Punjab, Urdu, Bengali, Gujarati, Romanian, Romani (for the Roma travelling community), with Somali being available shortly.

Please support the campaign by registering and downloading the materials for free and sharing to get the message across.

A new public information video is also available to share it on your communication channels: Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Chancellor sets out extra £750 million coronavirus funding for frontline charities

Charities across the UK will receive a £750 million package of support to ensure they can continue their vital work during the coronavirus outbreak.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced on 8 April 2020:

£750 million pot for frontline charities across the UK – including hospices and those supporting domestic abuse victims

£360 million direct from government departments and £370 million for smaller charities, including through a grant to the National Lottery Community Fund

government will match donations to the National Emergencies Trust as part of the BBC’s Big Night In fundraiser later this month – pledging a minimum of £20 million

Find out more