EXTRA support will be in place to help workers, businesses and benefit claimants affected by coronavirus.

The Department for Work and Pensions is making temporary arrangements to support those impacted by coronavirus.

These will be made for people in receipt of benefits who cannot attend reassessments or jobcentre appointments because they are required to stay at home or are infected.

People who cannot work due to coronavirus and are eligible for Statutory Sick Pay will get it from day one. This applies retrospectively from March 13.

The sick pay will be payable to people staying at home on Government advice, not just those who are infected, from 13 March. Employers are urged to use their discretion about what evidence, if any, they ask for.

If employees need to provide evidence to their employer that they need to stay at home due to coronavirus, they will be able to get it from the NHS 111 Online instead of having to get a Fit Note from their doctor. This is currently under development and will be made available soon.

Self-employed claimants on Universal Credit will not have a Minimum Income Floor (an assumed level of income) applied for a period of time while affected.

Employers with fewer than 250 employees will be able to reclaim statutory sick pay for employees unable to work, for up to two weeks per employee.

Disabled and sick claimants who cannot attend a reassessment for Personal Independence Payment, Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit will still receive payments while their assessment is rearranged.

People who need to claim ESA or Universal Credit because of coronavirus will not have to produce a Fit Note.

"When claimants tell us in good time that they are staying at home or that they have been diagnosed with coronavirus, they will not be sanctioned," said a DWP spokeswoman.

Claimants staying at home due to coronavirus will have their work search and availability requirements removed to account for a period of sickness.

"We understand people who are required to stay at home or are infected by coronavirus may need financial support, and quickly. Those affected by coronavirus will be able to apply for Universal Credit and can receive up to a month’s advance up front without physically attending a jobcentre."

The seven waiting days for ESA for new claimants with coronavirus or required to stay at home will not apply, so it will be payable from day one.

Face-to-face assessments for all sickness and disability benefits will be suspended for three months to protect them from risk of exposure.

Other support is at www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-employees-employers-and-businesses

The suspension of face-to-face assessments also covers new claims to those benefits. Anyone who has a face-to-face assessment appointment scheduled from Tuesday 17 March onwards does not need to attend and will be contacted to discuss next steps and alternative arrangements, which could involve either telephone or paper-based assessments.