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are you worried about money?

We’re here to help

If you have any concerns about managing your money, please contact us. Our financial inclusion team are specially trained to offer expert money guidance and have helped hundreds of customers to manage their money well and deal with debt.

 

We understand that you may be worried about the impact this may have on your finances. Please see below the latest information from the government for people in work, and those claiming benefits.

Updated 3rd April

 

Sick pay

You can get £94.25 per week Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if you’re too ill to work. It’s paid by your employer for up to 28 weeks.

If you are staying at home because of COVID-19 you can now claim SSP. This includes individuals who are caring for people in the same household and therefore have been advised to do a household quarantine.

To check your sick pay entitlement, you should talk to your employer, and visit the Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) page for more information.

 

SSP start date

We are legislating for SSP to be paid from day 1, rather than day 4, of your absence from work if you are absent from work due to sickness or need to stay at home due to COVID-19. Once the legislation has been passed, this will apply retrospectively from 13 March. You should talk to your employer if you are eligible for SSP and need to claim.

 

Proof of sickness

If you have COVID-19 or are advised to stay at home, you can get an ‘isolation note’ by visiting NHS 111 online, rather than visiting a doctor. For COVID-19 cases this replaces the usual need to provide a ‘fit note’ (sometimes called a ‘sick note’) after 7 days of sickness absence.

 

If you’re self-employed or not eligible for SSP

If you are not eligible for SSP – for example if you are self-employed or earning below the Lower Earnings Limit of £118 per week – and you have COVID-19 or are advised to stay at home, you can now more easily make a claim for Universal Credit or new style Employment and Support Allowance.

If you are eligible for new style Employment and Support Allowance, it will now be payable from day 1 of sickness, rather than day 8, if you have COVID-19 or are advised to stay at home.

 

Furloughed workers

If you and your employer both agree, your employer might be able to keep you on the payroll if they’re unable to operate or have no work for you to do because of coronavirus (COVID-19). This is known as being ‘on furlough’.

You could get paid 80% of your wages, up to a monthly cap of £2,500.

If your salary is reduced as a result of these changes, you may be eligible for support through the welfare system, including Universal Credit.

Check if you could be covered by the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

 

Claiming benefits

Whether you are currently in or out of work, if you are on a low income and affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19, you will be able to access the full range of the welfare system, including Universal Credit.

From 6 April we are increasing the standard allowance in Universal Credit and the basic element in Working Tax Credit for 1 year. Both will increase by £20 per week on top of planned annual uprating. This will apply to all new and existing Universal Credit claimants and to existing Working Tax Credit claimants.

 

If you have COVID-19 or are staying at home

You are now able to claim Universal Credit, and if required can access advance payments upfront without needing to attend a jobcentre.

 

If you are self-employed

You are able to claim Universal Credit, providing you meet the usual eligibility criteria.

To support you with the economic impact of the outbreak, and allow you to follow government guidance on self-isolation and social distancing, from 6 April the requirements of the Minimum Income Floor will be temporarily relaxed. This change will apply to all Universal Credit claimants and will last for the duration of the outbreak.

New claimants will not need to attend the jobcentre to demonstrate gainful self-employment.

 

Support for rent costs

You should check your eligibility for Universal Credit, which is available for people in and out of work. Support for rental costs will be paid through Universal Credit.

From April, we are increasing Local Housing Allowance rates to the 30th percentile of market rents. This applies to all private renters who are new or existing Universal Credit housing element claimants and to existing Housing Benefit claimants.

 

For people already claiming support

Special arrangements will be in place for people in receipt of benefits who cannot attend reassessments or jobcentre appointments because they are required to stay at home or are infected by coronavirus.

The arrangements are:

  • disabled and sick claimants who cannot attend a reassessment for Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit will continue to receive their payments while their assessment is rearranged
  • people who need to claim ESA or Universal Credit because of coronavirus will not be required to produce a fit note
  • when claimants tell the DWP in good time that they are staying at home or that they have been diagnosed with coronavirus, they will not be sanctioned – they will review their conditionality requirements in their claimant commitment, to ensure they are reasonable
  • claimants who are staying at home as a result of coronavirus will have their mandatory work search and work availability requirements removed to account for a period of sickness

 

For people who need to make a new claim for financial support

We understand people who are required to stay at home or are infected by coronavirus may need financial support, and quickly.

The arrangements are: 

  • 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 7 waiting days for ESA for new claimants will not apply if they are suffering from coronavirus or are required to stay at home – so it will be payable from day one

 

more information about the financial support that the government is making available can be found here:

click here for information about statutory sick pay  

click here for information about claiming universal credit

click here for information about employment support allowance 

click here for information if you are self employed 

click here to get a self isolation note for your employer 

click here for information about your rights if your hours are cut or you are laid off 

click here for information about what to do if your children usually get free school meals 

click here for information about support for businesses 

 

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