JobCentres remain open for job seekers during coronavirus outbreak

PUBLISHED: 17:42 23 March 2020 | UPDATED: 17:42 23 March 2020

Both Wisbech and Ely JobCentres are open, but customers are advised to make claims online.

Both Wisbech and Ely JobCentres are open, but customers are advised to make claims online.

Archant

To reduce footfall in Wisbech and Ely JobCentres, catch up interviews are taking place by phone where possible and initial claims can be submitted on the Department of Work and Pensions website.

Both JobCentres also have strict social distancing measures which are in line with Government guidelines to protect staff and customers.

A DWP spokesman said appointments are being prioritised for new claims.

It comes as DWP has introduced a range of extra support and measures to help workers, including those who claim benefits and employees affected by the coronavirus.

At the moment, those who are affected by coronavirus and need financial support quickly will be able to apply for Universal Credit online to receive a month’s advance up front without visiting JobCentre.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: “We understand people who are required to stay at home and or are infected by coronavirus may need financial support, and quickly.

“Those affected will be able to apply for Universal Credit and can receive up to a month’s advance up front without physically attending a job centre.

“If you believe that you may have been infected, or have been in close contact with someone who has, please do not delay in making a claim to Universal Credit. You should stay at home and apply at the earliest opportunity.”

The guidance is being updated regularly, but also includes additional key points.

• Disabled and sick claimants who already receive benefits and are unable to attend appointments or reassessments for their benefits will continue to receive payments while their assessment is arranged.

• Anyone who needs to claim benefits because they have been unwell with coronavirus will not need to produce a Fit Note which is usually required.

• Claimants will not be penalised if they provide the DWP with advance warning that they have been diagnosed with coronavirus. Those job hunting will have the time they’ve been unwell taken into account.

While the Government is set to pay 80pc of salaries of staff who are kept on by employers following Friday’s closure of all pubs and cafes, talks are ongoing about whether any support can be offered to the self-employed.

Guidance for businesses and employees on coronavirus is available on the DWP website.

- Have you had to claim because of the coronavirus outbreak? Share your experience with louise.hepburn@archant.co.uk

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