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Shielding/Vulnerable to Covid-19

If you're shielding or vulnerable to Covid-19, find out what help might be available to you

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Work

The shielding programme is ending. From 1 August 2020 (England, Scotland and Northern Ireland) or 16 August (Wales), you won’t be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) as someone who was advised to shield. 

If you have been getting SSP or were furloughed while shielding, you should speak to your employer. Ask them whether they need you back in the office and, if so, what measures they have taken to make it safe.

If you feel safe to go back to work and your employer wants you back, then you can go back.

If you don’t feel safe to go back to work, you should get advice from your union, if you’re a member, or from an employment adviser about your options.

Local lockdowns

If you live in an area which is subject to a local lockdown and you have received a new letter warning you to shield, you will be able to get Statutory Sick Pay if you cannot work from home.

Benefits 

If I don’t go back to my job, can I get benefits?

If you leave your job voluntarily without a good reason, your benefits can sometimes be reduced at the beginning of your claim. This is called a sanction.

There is no one definition of what a ‘good reason’. When deciding this, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) should take into account your health, any impact of the job on your physical and mental health, and your caring responsibilities.

If you do get sanctioned for leaving your job, you might be able to challenge this. You should get advice.

If I don’t go back to my job, what benefits can I claim?

You might be able to claim Universal Credit if your household savings and income are low. You can check whether you can claim and how much you’d get using our Benefits Calculator.

If you have been making national insurance contributions in the last two years, you might be able to claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). To claim Employment and Support Allowance, you will need a fit note from your doctor saying you’re not well enough to work. You might be able to claim Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) but you will be expected to look for work.

Will I have to go into the jobcentre if I claim benefits?

If you make a claim for benefits, you might have to go for a meeting at the jobcentre.

If you are already getting tax credits, income-related Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA), income based Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Income Support or Housing Benefit, and you're not comfortable to go to an appointment at the jobcentre, you should get advice before making a claim for Universal Credit.

Related information

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a benefit for people aged 16 – pension age that helps with the additional costs of living with a disability.

Attendance Allowance is a benefit for people aged over pension age that helps with the additional costs of living with a disability.

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is a benefit for people aged under 16 that helps with the additional costs of living with a disability.

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) is a benefit for people whose illness means they can’t work and who have paid national insurance contributions in the past 2 years.

Universal Credit is a benefit which tops up people’s incomes to help them have enough to afford their basic needs.

Grants

To find out what help may be available from grant giving charities, you can use the Turn2us Grants Search

Turn2us Grants Search

Advice and Support

Turn2us is unable to offer advice on individual situations. To find an adviser in your area to discuss your situation with you can use our Find an Adviser tool.

Find out what your employer should be doing to make sure your workplace is safe

Search for Grants

Search for a grant

Look for funds that might be able to give you a grant and/or other types of help.

Use the Grants Search tool