Prisoners released early due to coronavirus outbreak
Across the UK, provisions are in place which allow for the early release of some prisoners during the coronavirus outbreak.
In Scotland, the legal mechanism for doing this means that, if a person is released early from prison due to the coronavirus outbreak, they will no longer count as a ‘prisoner’ for benefit purposes and should be able to claim the appropriate benefit if they need to do so.
In England and Wales, the legal mechanism for releasing prisoners early during the coronavirus outbreak means they will be released ‘on temporary licence’. Normally, when a person is released on temporary licence they still count as a prisoner for means-tested benefits and this will usually mean that they are not entitled to these benefits. The rules have been changed temporarily to mean that a person who is released on temporary licence no longer counts as a prisoner and is no longer excluded from universal credit, housing benefit, income support, jobseeker’s allowance, employment and support allowance or pension credit. This means that they will be able to claim the appropriate means-tested benefit/s in their own right or, alternatively, be included in someone else’s benefit claim.These rules are in place from 8 April 2020.
For more information on prisoners and benefits, see the following CPAG factsheets.