Support for people affected by COVID-19

Support for people affected by COVID-19

Last updated (08/11/2021)

For many people with lupus there is a lot of anxiety about financial well-being and the ability to put food on the table and pay the bills and/or mortgage. We’re also aware that some people may not have sufficient support from their family, friends and neighbours.

This article will continue to be updated with amendments. If you’re aware of any support that we haven’t currently included, please contact us.


Essential Support

NHS Volunteer Responders Scheme
The NHS Volunteer Responders scheme is able to offer the following support:

  • Community Response Volunteer: collecting shopping, medication or other essential supplies and delivering them to your home.
  • Check in and Chat Volunteer: short-term telephone support to help ease loneliness.
  • Community Response Plus Volunteer: a volunteer to collect and deliver shopping, medication or other essential supplies for patients with cognitive impairments and or significant vulnerabilities.


The scheme is now accepting self-referrals from people who have been advised to shield and are most at risk of COVID-19. You can ask volunteers for short-term help by calling 0808 196 3646 between 8am and 8pm or click HERE.


Turn2Us Funds
The Turn2us Grant Funds have been set up to support people who have lost their income as a result of COVID-19 and to meet their immediate basic household expenses. They are able to provide direct financial assistance to support those in need.

To learn more and apply online, click HERE.


Search for Grants
Many other charitable organisations offer non-repayable grants to help individuals on low incomes. Most of these will have particular rules about who is eligible which may be based on location, age, gender, employment or health conditions. To search for any grants you can apply for, use the Grant Search tool provided by Turn2Us, HERE.


Money Navigator Tool
The coronavirus lockdown measures are relaxing but they’ve affected millions of people. What this means for your finances will be very personal to you. The Money Navigator Tool from Money Advice Service gives you action plans based on your own situation. Access this service HERE. In just 30 seconds you can know:

  • The money issues you need to tackle first
  • How to stay on top of bills and payments
  • What extra help and support you’re entitled to
  • Where you can get free advice for debt, housing or redundancy


Food Banks
If you need a food bank’s help because you have no money for food, please contact your local food bank. You can find their contact details by clicking HERE and then putting your postcode into the food bank finder map provided.


Local Council Information
Your local council should be able to provide you with local updates and information on their community schemes. This can be found on their websites, Facebook and Twitter accounts. To find your local council and all their information please click HERE.


Social Support
LUPUS UK Telephone Contacts
We have trained volunteers, called Contacts, who either have lupus themselves or have a family member with the disease. You can chat with our Contacts over the telephone. They are not medically trained but are there to offer both emotional and general support and signpost you to someone who can advise you. The telephone service is confidential, and you can disclose as much as you wish. The support service is free apart from the cost of the call.
To request details of your local contact CLICK HERE


HealthUnlocked Online Forum
The community is available for free to anybody affected by lupus to get information, support and advice from other people who are similarly affected. We welcome people with any form of lupus (SLE, discoid lupus, drug-induced lupus, cutaneous lupus etc.) as well as those with associated conditions such as mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD) and undifferentiated connective tissue disease (UCTD).
The community discusses a wide range of topics including; diagnosis, symptoms, medical appointments, medications and support available. To join the forum CLICK HERE


Financial Support

The government has temporarily suspended face-to-face assessments for people claiming disability and sickness benefits. During this time, telephone or paper based assessments may be used.

This change affects existing claimants of Personal Independence Payments (PIP), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Universal Credit. The suspension of face-to-face assessments also covers new claims.

If you are unsure whether you may be eligible for any benefits, you can use an online benefit calculator at

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
You may be able to get New-style Employment and Support Allowance:
– If you are a self-employed person remaining at home, but not working on government advice.
– If you are an employee remaining at home, but not working  on government advice and earning less than £118pp.

You will get this from day-one of your self-isolation. New-style Employment and Support Allowance is based on your National Insurance contribution record. People who need to claim ESA because of coronavirus will not have to produce a fit note.

To claim New Style ESA, you first need to fill out a claim form. You can download the claim form HERE. Alternatively you can call 0800 328 5644 and ask for a form to be posted for you.

Once completed, you will need to phone 0800 328 5644 and book an appointment at your local Jobcentre to submit your form – If you have a fever or a cough please follow the government guidance around coronavirus and do not go to the Jobcentre.

Universal Credit
You could get Universal Credit on the basis of remaining at home on government advice:
– If you don’t qualify for Statutory Sick Pay or Employment and Support Allowance or
– You need additional help on top of SSP or New-style ESA.

There is at least a five-week wait before you get Universal Credit, but you can get help from day one through a Universal Credit Advance Payment.  Advance payments have to be paid back out of your Universal Credit payments and must be paid back within 12 months.

Universal Credit is claimed online. To apply please click HERE.

People who need to claim Universal Credit because of coronavirus will not have to produce a fit note.

Council Tax Reduction
If you already receive a council tax reduction and are working age, your local council should give you an extra £150 off your bill for 2020-2021. You don’t need to do anything – your local council will send you a new bill.

If your council tax bill is already less than £150, you won’t have to pay anything for the coming tax year, 2020-2021.

If you don’t already receive a council tax reduction, you might qualify if your income has dropped or if you started claiming benefits recently. You should check your local council’s rules to see if you qualify for a council tax reduction.

If you don’t think you qualify, it’s still worth asking your local council if you can get a council tax reduction. You can find your local council HERE.


Further Reading

Citizens Advice – If you can’t pay your bills because of coronavirus

Money Saving Expert – Coronavirus Finance & Bills Help



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