Benefit Update: changes to ESA and PIP claims due to Covid 19

From 17 March 2020 until 17 June 2020 there will be no face-to-face assessments for ESA (Employment Support Allowance) or PIP (Personal Independence Payment). The assessment provider should contact claimants to explain what will happen next and the assessment will either be paper based, or carried out over the phone.

Until 24 June 2020 no reviews will be carried out for ESA or PIP.  So, if your condition deteriorates and you are in the Work Related Activity Group and think you should be in the Support Group (ESA claimants) or you think you are entitled to a higher rate (PIP claimants), it is very important that you request a review to ensure you receive the maximum arrears when the situation returns to normal.

When you claim ESA you will be entitled from the first day of sickness i.e. there are no waiting days.  You will be treated as having Limited Capability for Work (LCW) and will not have to submit fit notes or undergo a Work Capability Assessment (WCA).  

If your PIP is due to expire in the next 3 months you will continue to be paid at your current rate for a period up to another 6 months. For further information or assistance, contact our welfare benefits team on 0141 763 0511

Glasgow North East voluntary group provides support

If you are unable to get out and about as you may be shielding or vulnerable, a voluntary group called ‘Covid-19 Support Glasgow North East’ may be able to help you with things like:

  • Grocery deliveries
  • Medication collection and delivery
  • Dog walking
  • a friendly supportive chat
  • help using online tools

The team of volunteers is available 9am – 9pm, seven days a week, and can be reached as follows:

Phone: 0141 474 6617 (9am-9pm)
Email: COVID19GlasgowHelp@gmail.com
Twitter: @GlasNESupport

National helpline for those at greatest risk of Covid-19 with no other support

A helpline has opened for those at high risk of coronavirus who don’t have existing support or internet access.

If you’re 70+, pregnant, a disabled person, receive the flu jab for medical reasons, or access mental health services, you can call:

📞 0800 111 4000 (9am – 5pm)

Coronavirus – Helpline for those without support

A helpline has opened for those at high risk of #coronavirus who don’t have existing support or internet access.If you’re 70+, pregnant, a disabled person, receive the flu jab for medical reasons, or access mental health services, you can call:📞 0800 111 4000 (9am – 5pm)

Posted by The Scottish Government on Tuesday, 14 April 2020

Citizens Advice Scotland still offering advice and support

You can still access CAS services and advice online via their website, and you can also call their new helpline number for support over the phone. In particular, if you are worried about not working and paying the bills, you can access information on their website here: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/scotland/debt-and-money/if-you-cant-pay-your-bills-because-of-coronavirus/

DWP advises new claimants ‘don’t call us – we’ll call you’

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is experiencing extremely busy phone lines – please do not call them about your claim, they will call you if needed. Make your claim and any updates to your claim online via your journal, and the DWP will call you as soon as they can if they need to verify your application. The number they call from may appear as 0800, or private/withheld, but to satisfy yourself that the call is genuine, DWP staff will:

– contact the customer via their Universal Credit Journal advising that DWP will be calling soon

– provide the customer with the last three digits of their unique Universal Credit account code/number

– provide the customer with the last three digits/letters of their postcode.

Please avoid calling DWP and use your online journal instead where possible, as they are trying to free up capacity to be able to call claimants.

More information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/…/don-t-call-us-we-ll-call-you

Glasgow Helps Community Hub Launched

A new helpline for people in Glasgow seeking support during the Covid-19 crisis has been launched by public and voluntary sector partners.  The helpline is for members of the public seeking help, such as food delivery or mental health support, and for charities who need support with offering a service to communities. 

The helpline is a partnership between Glasgow Council for the Voluntary Sector (GCVS), Volunteer Glasgow, Glasgow City Council and Glasgow Health and Social Care Partnership.  Calls will be answered by staff from all these bodies, and from the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service.

The helpline has three main aims;

  • Helping people in need: Putting those who need help and support, in touch with a charity or community group in their area
  • Volunteers: Connecting people who want to volunteer with organisations and groups that are looking for extra help 
  • Advice for charities and community organisations:Providing expert advice on the practical issues they face during the Covid-19 crisis, such as advice on HR, using digital methods of communication and accessing funding.

Contacting the Helpline

The new helpline has been set up to act as a single point of contact for anyone seeking or offering help. The helpline is currently open Monday to Friday, 9 am – 5 pm and can be contacted by:

Telephone0141 345 0543
E-mail:       helpline@gcvs.org.uk
Twitter:      @GlasgowCVS

Energy advice and assistance during coronavirus crisis

If you would like advice or help with an energy issue in an Association property, please call our reception on 763 0511.  

The current crisis may mean that some of you are worried about energy supply and bills.  To assist you, we have put together some useful advice, including details of how to contact the big energy suppliers and how to access information about your supplier. 

The government has agreed new emergency measures with the energy industry to protect the energy supply of those most in need during the disruption caused by COVID-19.    

Customers with pre-payment meters who may not be able to add credit can speak to their supplier about options to keep them supplied. This will benefit over 4 million customers.  This could include nominating a third party for credit top ups, having a discretionary fund added to their credit, or being sent a pre-loaded top up card so that their supply is not interrupted.  

During these challenging times, energy suppliers are advising Pay As You Go customers to top up their meters with more credit than usual, if possible.  If you are having to self-isolate, the suppliers are asking that a family or friend top up for you, alternatively, you can contact your supplier if there is no one that can assist you.   

In general, any energy customer in financial distress will also be supported by their supplier, which could include debt repayments and bill payments being reassessed, reduced or paused where necessary, while disconnection of credit meters will be completely suspended. 

All suppliers are asking customers to register for an online account if they don’t already have one, and to visit their website for non-urgent issues.  You are advised to only contact your supplier by phone if there is an emergency e.g. a loss of supply or you are struggling financially.  You can contact your supplier using the details below: 

Energy supplier  PAYG customers Off supply   Credit customers Emergencies Please visit website for non-emergency queries 
Scottish Power  0141 652 5550 0800 027 0072 https://community.scottishpower.co.uk/t5/Extra-Help/Coronavirus-COVID-19-information-for-ScottishPower-customers/ta-p/15029#pp2 
Scottish Gas   0333 202 9802 0333 202 9802 https://www.britishgas.co.uk/covid19 
SSE  0345 026 2658 Option 1, option 2 0345 026 2658 Option 2 Option 2 https://sse.co.uk/help/coronavirus-questions-and-answers  
Eon  0345 301 5955 0345 302 4304  https://www.eonenergy.com/coronavirus-update.html  
EDF  0333 200 5100 0333 200 5100 https://www.edfenergy.com/coronavirus-advice  
Npower  0330 100 3000 0330 100 3000 https://www.npower.com/help-and-support/coronavirus/  
Utilita   0330 333 7442 0330 333 7442 https://utilita.co.uk/help/covid-19  

GHeat are a group of energy advisors that can offer energy advice to anyone living in Glasgow, contact them on 0800 092 9002 or visit g-heat.org.uk. 

Home Energy Scotland are impartial energy advice centre for anyone living in Scotland, for assistance please call 0808 808 2282 or visit www.energysavingtrust.org.uk.  

Money Saving Expert is also a very useful resource for energy bill advice and other financial information and advice. You can access the advice here https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/news/2020/03/uk-coronavirus-help-and-your-rights/

Environmental Services to resume on Monday 6th April

In the interests of public health and hygiene, we have reviewed our earlier decision to temporarily put a stop to our environmental services and these will resume from Monday 6th April, with some important changes to how the services will be delivered.  We feel that during these challenging times, it is important that we continue to disinfect our common areas to try and help reduce the spread of coronavirus.  It is also important that our common areas and environment are kept clean and clear of refuse in order to prevent fire hazard and to control pests.

Our environmental services include close cleaning, back-court maintenance and bulk pull-out and grass-cutting/landscaping.  These services will resume according to the usual timetables, as far as possible.   Needless to say, the health and safety of our staff and residents is of paramount importance and we have assessed the risks associated with this work and taken steps to minimise the risk of cross contamination between staff members and residents during service delivery. Upkeep’s staff will carry out their duties in accordance with industry best practice for health and safety and Government guidance, with all staff provided with appropriate Personal Protective Equipment and strict social distancing rules adhered to at all times. The extra health and safety measures taken include the following:

  • Staff will arrive on-site separately and will follow staggered start times to prevent any cross contamination.  Staff will work on the same street for safety reasons but will adhere to rules for social distancing.
  • During close cleaning, the first operative will press all buzzers to advise residents that they are cleaning the close, reminding them to stay within their homes as far as possible while cleaning takes place.
  • Signs will be placed at close entrances to advise that close cleaning is in progress and that access is prohibited during this time.
  • Cleaning will focus on the cleaning and disinfection of areas such as bannisters and intercoms to help restrict the spread of the virus.
  • Residents are asked not to engage with our staff in any circumstances during these operations.

We understand that some residents may have questions or concerns about our environmental services resuming, please do not hesitate to contact the Association on 763 0511 to discuss.  We will continue to monitor and review our environmental services as the current situation develops, and we would welcome your feedback on our services during these difficult times, so please do get in touch to share your views.  

We are here to help our residents

Association staff have been busy contacting older tenants and others that we know are in the ‘at risk’ category for Coronavirus. We want to make sure that everybody has somebody to help out – for food or medicine supplies or even just a friendly chat to keep spirits up. If you or anybody you know could do with some help at the present time, please give us a call. Although our office is shut, staff are working from home and there’s plenty we are still able to do to help. Call us on 763 0511 or email sha@shettleston.co.uk

Emergency Food Parcels

Easterhouse based community organisation, FARE, can supply emergency food packages to Shettleston residents who are in need due to illness/self isolation and have no other way of getting supplies and also to those experiencing serious financial difficulties in these difficult times. You can contact them on 771 9151.