Below is a summary of the key updates relating to Coronavirus over the past week. You can also read our guide on how to get help if you've been impacted financially by coronavirus, or chat to an adviser through our webchat from 8:30am-6pm Mon-Thurs, 8:30am-3:30pm Fri.

Sector survey 

We are keen to understand the early impact of the coronavirus situation on the advice sector as well as ascertaining what support we can offer at this time.

We’ve put together a short survey which is aimed at anyone working as an adviser or an advice manager and should take only a few minutes to complete. Thanks in advance for your input. 

Recovery of benefits overpayments suspended 

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has announced that it will temporarily pause the recovery of benefit overpayments, for three months. This applies to all benefit-related overpayments including universal credit, social fund loans, and tax credit debts; however, the recovery of universal credit advances will continue. Local authorities will also halt referrals of housing benefit overpayments.

This suspension applies to those repaying by a direct reduction from ongoing benefits as well as those repaying through Direct Earnings Attachments. Most of these payments will be suspended automatically, but those repaying through a bank standing order, bank giro credit, or online banking should contact their bank to cancel the arrangement.

Changes to Accountant in Bankruptcy policies 

The Accountant in Bankruptcy (AiB) has relaxed its evidence requirements for individuals going through the bankruptcy process in acknowledgement of the difficulties the coronavirus situation brings. Details of new evidence requirements are available here.

The AiB has also introduced other flexible measures to the process, including accepting electronic signatures on application documents. The individual can either create the electronic signature themselves, or can instruct their money adviser to submit the relevant form electronically with their consent.

Boost in universal credit capacity 

The DWP has announced that it is taking urgent action to boost capacity to help process the huge rise in universal credit claims as a result of coronavirus. 10,000 staff have already been moved to the frontline and the service is recruiting more.

Use our confidential benefits calculator to check if you are eligible for any benefits or support during this time.