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A-Z of support and help 

This directory has been designed to help you keep track of new changes being introduced to the benefits system as a result of the coronavirus. We hope that this summary provides a useful source of reference.


Click on the sections below to learn more

Accessible information

If you have accessibility needs or care for someone who has, you can get support with claiming benefits and pensions. 

There are adjustments that can be made to help anyone experiencing difficulty using the phone, reading letters or going online to name just a few examples. Please see  this guidance  for further information. 



Face-to-face assessments are now taking place alongside existing paper-based assessments, and telephone assessments.  

On 29 March 2021, new detailed guidance was published for  claimants  and  assessment providers during the coronavirus period.


Attendance Allowance 

If you have reached State Pension Age and have a disability, you may be able to apply for financial support through the benefit, Attendance Allowance. For information about the rates and criteria to apply, see our Attendance Allowance page. Once you have applied, the Department of Work and Pensions should get in touch with you directly to advise on how to proceed with having an assessment safely, if necessary, during this period.

If your circumstances have changed (for example your condition has deteriorated and you believe you're entitled to a higher amount), you can also request a review by phone or by post. see this Attendance Allowance page for contact details.

We generally recommend that you take further advice before requesting a review as it can result in the level of your award remaining the same, increasing or in some cases it could be reduced. Contact your local advice agency to discuss your situation. You can also contact our Helpline if you have any specific queries by emailing: It helps if you mention where you are from so that our advisers can tailor their guidance for you.


Benefits review

With the effects of COVID-19 and during the cost of living crisis, it's possible that your household income might have decreased or changed, and now may be a good time to have a benefits check. For example, you may have become entitled to some financial assistance through welfare benefits. 

You could contact our Helpline to request a review at  or perhaps try out the online benefits calculator provided by the financial assistance charity,  Turn2Us  or  entitledto


Council Tax/rate relief support 

If you’re struggling to pay your Council Tax bill, you could get in touch with your local authority or local trust (in Northern Ireland) to see if they can allow you to defer payments or to see if they can offer any form of discount or support to help. 

See our main  Help with Council Tax/ rate relief page  to find out about your rights and for more ideas for saving money. 

Rate relief in Northern Ireland and COVID-19 

There are various rate support schemes in place to offer support in Northern Ireland. You can find more information  here


Debt/money worries 

(UK wide) If you are experiencing difficulties paying back loans or credit card bills, you should talk to your lender. If you agree a payment holiday with your lender, they should record these in such a way that will not impact on your credit score. See our  Help with debt page  for other useful sources of support. You can also find lots of helpful tips on our Support with living costs page.


Disability Living Allowance (DLA) 

In April 2021, DLA guidance was updated to include long covid syndrome stating, 'It is those children who have significant functional impairment at 12 weeks and do not seem to be recovering, who may have entitlement to DLA Child.' (page 742)

Contact your local advice agency to discuss your situation. You can also contact our Helpline if you have any specific queries by emailing:

In Scotland, a new benefit has replaced DLA for children called 'Child Disability Payment'. Those who are already receiving Disability Living Allowance for children in Scotland don't need to make a new application as their award will be automatically transferred. Read more at:

Contact your  local advice agency  to discuss your situation. You can also contact our Helpline if you have any specific queries by emailing:


Employment and Support Allowance (New Style) 

This is a type of benefit that you may be able to apply for if you are ill or have a disability that affects your ability to work. To find out if you are eligible, visit this page. More detailed guidance including where you have been affected by coronavirus can be found  here

New style Employment and Support Allowance is a fortnightly payment and for eligible claimants who are directly affected by COVID-19, it is payable from the first day of sickness, rather than the eighth day. 

Detailed guidance on for  claimants  and  assessment providers  has been issued to help support face-to-face assessments being carried out safely again. 

For all new claims to New Style ESA, processed from 26 April 2021, claimants will be required to have an appointment with a work coach and agree a claimant commitment before they can receive New Style ESA. 


End of life planning/bereavement 

We have brought together some guidance to help you get through difficult times and prepare for the loss of someone close to you, especially during this very difficult period when many services are not operating as before.  

Understanding that there is much to take on board, both emotionally and on a practical level, we have tried to break down our guidance by suggesting some steps to follow.  

  1. Our guidance sheds light on advance care planning, registering the death and arranging the funeral. 
  2. Our guidance can help you find out more about dealing with grief. 
  3. On the website, there is further information about Bereavement Support Payment


Hospitals - preparing and leaving 

You may have been thrown into the role of caring for someone and feel underprepared. Or perhaps the needs of someone you have cared for over time have suddenly changed. Uncertainty about what to do and how to cope can be a big source of anxiety. 

Our  planning for emergencies  page offers tips on how to relieve these worries by preparing for the unexpected, such as a sudden visit to hospital. Once there, the ward staff should help patients communicate with those they are close to by phone or video, where possible. Providing permission and related information as part of a documented plan in advance may be useful. For example, you could indicate who you would like to be kept informed as key contacts. 

Our guidance can also help you prepare for someone you care for  coming out of hospital. Knowing what questions to ask, what your rights are, and what to expect can help you both adapt and cope with any change of circumstances. See our checklist page.

Remember that use of face coverings is still mandatory in hospitals. Check the hospital's website in advance to ensure that you follow their guidance and protocols. Also see the government's  guidance on hospital discharge.  


Housing support

You may be entitled to some extra housing support if you have limited savings or are on a low income. Let your  local council  know as soon as possible or contact your local Health and Social Care  Trust  in Northern Ireland. 

If you receive Housing Benefit or Universal Credit and are finding it difficult to pay your rent, you could apply to your council for a  Discretionary Housing Payment


Other benefits (incl. legacy benefits)

Many interviews and appointments previously carried out face to face in job centres can now be conducted over the phone. However, face-to-face assessments for Work Capability Assessments for claims for the additional health amount of Universal Credit and Employment and Support Allowance and for PIP resumed from May 2021 across England.

See Employment and Support Allowance (new style) above for more information about the benefit.



If you are having difficulty with the repayments and are struggling to meet essential living costs, seek further advice. The DWP say that those who are experiencing 'real financial hardship' can request deferral of repayments by contacting the Debt Management line on 0800 916 0647. 


Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

To see if you can apply for this disability benefit, see our Personal Independence Payment page. In Scotland this has been replaced by Adult Disability Payment.



TaxAid and Tax Help for Older People can offer support for those who are struggling with tax problems and self-employed. Their helpline is available Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm: 0345 120 3779.  YouTube tutorials  are also available to help.  


Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) 

You can read more about this on the website. See our  Working and caring  section for more guidance if you are balancing work with caring. 


Universal Credit 

Find out more about the benefit and its rates on our Universal Credit page.

If you’re claiming this for the first time, you will have to wait at least five weeks for the first payment, so don’t delay making a claim. You can make a claim for an advance payment while you are waiting for your Universal Credit payment. 

Find out more about the process of applying  here.  Anyone who is unable to get online or needs additional help, can ring the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644, or the  Citizens Advice Help to Claim Service  on 0800 144 8 444. For more information, see  this page


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