Support for Individuals
Use this service to find out what help and advice you can get from the government and other organisations. You can use it for yourself or someone else: https://www.gov.uk/find-coronavirus-support
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
- Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. eligible employees will receive 80% of their usual salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month.
- Employers and employees do not need to have benefited from the scheme before to make a claim, if they meet the eligibility criteria. Employers can check if they can claim for their employees’ wages on GOV.UK
- It’s very important that any business that decides to use CJRS for December submits their claim by 14 January 2021. If employers have already submitted their claim for December, but now need to make a change because they didn’t claim enough, they can increase the amount of their claim for December up until Thursday 28 January. Further details for this can be found on GOV.UK.
- People can be furloughed because they have caring responsibilities resulting from COVID-19.
- The Government has provided an £8 billion boost to the welfare system:
- Increased the Universal Credit standard allowance by £1,000 for the next 12 months
- Boosted Working Tax Credit by the same amount for the next 12 months.
- These measures will benefit existing and new claimants, which include the 2.5 million existing UC claimants, 1.5 million Working Tax Credit claimants, and 2.6 million new UC claimants.
- Working Tax Credit claimants whose hours temporarily drop below the requirements will continue to be treated as if they are working their normal hours until the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme closes, even if they are not using the scheme. Claimants do not need to contact HMRC about this change. HMRC will use the information it holds about the number of hours they normally work. Any other changes in income, childcare, and hours can be reported in the normal way. Claimants must tell HMRC if they or their partner lose their job, are made redundant or cease trading. Claimants should check GOV.UK to see if additional or alternative support is available based on their personal and financial circumstances.
- Parents are being urged to claim Child Benefit even if they have not yet been able to register the birth of their new-borns to ensure they don’t miss out. Normally, to claim Child Benefit, parents must first register their child’s birth. However, HMRC announced in April that during the pandemic parents could claim Child Benefit without having to register their child’s birth first. First time parents will need to fill in Child Benefit claim form CH2 found online and send it to the Child Benefit Office. If they haven’t registered the birth because of COVID-19, they should add a note with their claim to let HMRC know. If parents have already claim Child Benefit, they can complete the form or add their new-born’s details over the telephone on 0300 200 3100. They will need their National Insurance number or Child Benefit number. Child Benefit claims can only be backdated by up to three months, so it is important that new parents claim as soon as they can to receive the maximum support available. They should then make an appointment to register the birth of their new-borns as soon as they can, so that HMRC can verify their claim.
- Temporarily suspended the Universal Credit minimum income floor for 12 months – meaning self-employed people can now access, in full, Universal Credit at a rate that is equivalent to Statutory Sick Pay for employees.
- Increased the Local Housing Allowance rates for Universal Credit and housing benefit claimants, so it covers the cheapest third of local rents – that’s over 1.3 million people.
- Extended Statutory Sick Pay for those ill, self-isolating or social shielding due to Covid-19 – and made it payable from day 1, not day 4. A doctor’s note can be obtained via NHS 111.
- Acted so that those on contributory Employment and Support Allowance can now claim from day 1, not day 8.
- Relaxed the requirement for anyone to physically attend a jobcentre – meaning everything can be done by phone or online.
- More information on the different benefits available, including eligibility criteria and information on how to claim, can be found at www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/employment-and-benefits-support. The majority of benefits can be claimed online.
- All welfare measures have now been introduced. There were 2.6 million new Universal Credit claims from 16 March to the end of 12 May.
Test and Trace Payment Scheme:
- If you have symptoms of Coronavirus, you should stay at home and self-isolate immediately to stop the spread of the virus and to protect family, friends, and your community. It’s vital that you play your part and follow the rules around self-isolation.
- If you have been told to self-isolate on or after the 28th of September 2020, you’re under a legal obligation to do so, and you could be eligible for a £500 Test and Trace Support Payment if you live in England and meet all the following criteria: you have been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, either because you have tested positive for coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive; you’re employed or self-employed; you’re unable to work from home and will lose income as a result of self-isolating; you’re currently receiving at least one of the following - Universal Credit; Working Tax Credit; income-based Employment and Support Allowance; income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance; Income Support; Housing Benefit; Pension Credit.
- If you do not fulfil the above criteria for the Test and Trace Support Payment, you could be eligible for a £500 discretionary payment if you live in England and meet the following criteria: you have been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, either because you have tested positive for coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive; you are employed or self-employed; you are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result of self-isolating; you are not currently receiving Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit; you are on a low income and will face financial hardship as a result of not being able to work while you are self-isolating.
- If you’re eligible for either the Test and Trace Support Payment or discretionary payment, you will receive the £500 payment on top of any benefits and Statutory Sick Pay that you currently receive. Test and Trace Support Payments in England are administered by unitary authorities and district councils. If you live in England, you should contact your local authority to find out how to apply.
- From the 9th of July 2020 until the 31st of March 2021, we are increasing the threshold at which stamp duty applies from £125,000 to £500,000. This will mean 90 per cent of people getting on or moving up the property ladder will pay no stamp duty at all – equating to an average saving of £4,500 – while catalysing activity in the housing sector.
- A new Green Homes Grant will allow people to apply for a voucher to fund at least two-thirds of the cost of upgrading the energy performance of their homes – up to a maximum of £5,000. Low-income households will be eligible for up to 100 per cent of government funding, up to £10,000. This measure will also reduce energy bills by up to £300 a year and help to save carbon – equivalent to a flight from London to New York.
- Mortgage payment holidays will continue to be available for homeowners. Borrowers who have been impacted by Coronavirus and have not yet had a mortgage payment holiday will be entitled to a 6-month holiday and those that have already started a mortgage payment holiday will be able to top up to 6 months without this being recorded on their credit file. The FCA will announce further information on this shortly.
- The mortgage payment holiday is not automatic, and landlords would need to apply to their lender to see whether they are eligible for this support on a case by case basis. The sum owed remains and mortgages continue to accrue interest during this period. This means that a landlord will still have to repay the money they owe for the months covered by a payment holiday. Where a tenant is unable to pay their rent in full the landlord – if a mortgagor – should discuss this with their lender.
- From the 29th of August 2020, with the exception of the most serious cases, landlords are not able to start possession proceedings unless they have given their tenants six months’ notice.
- If tenants fall into financial difficulties due to a change in their employment or earnings, for example, they may qualify for Universal Credit.
- For those renters who require additional support, there is an existing £180 million of Government funding for Discretionary Housing Payments for councils to distribute to help people with rent payments in the private and social rented sectors. You should contact your local council to see if you are eligible for this support.
- Local councils in England are being given an additional £500 million to support the most vulnerable people in society meet their council tax payments over the coming year. The Government has requested that local authorities use the funding to provide all recipients of working age local council tax support a further reduction in their annual council tax bill of £150. This funding is in addition to the £3.4 billion which local authorities already spend on LCTS schemes each year, benefitting around 3.8 million people.
Support for Rough Sleepers
- The Government has committed an additional £3.2 million for local authorities to tackle rough sleepers, ensuring that we minimise the risk to those unable to self-isolate. This is on top of the £492 million already committed to address homelessness and rough sleeping in 2020/21, and the £3.2 billion support for councils during Covid-19.
- Under the £266 million 'Next Steps Accommodation Programme', councils and their local partners have been able to apply for funds to cover property costs and support new tenancies for those that have been provided with emergency accommodation during the pandemic.
- Now, thousands of vulnerable people who were housed during the pandemic will be helped to stay in accommodation this year. 274 local councils - including Wolverhampton - will share £91.5 million of government funding to ensure interim accommodation and support for the most vulnerable people, including by helping people into the private rented sector, secure interim accommodation such as supported housing, and assess the wider support these people need in order to rebuild their lives. An additional £13.5 million fund will be used to enable local authorities to tackle new or emerging challenges.
- In addition, £6 million of emergency funding has provided relief for frontline homelessness charitable organisations. Following a successful bidding process, over 130 charities across England have benefitted from that fund. Government support for homelessness and rough sleepers now stands at over half a billion pounds this year. Dame Louise Casey is spearheading a new taskforce with one overriding objective: to ensure that as many people as possible who have been brought in do not return to the streets.
- The Government has agreed measures with the energy industry to help people and businesses.
- Suppliers have frozen energy disconnections for those on regular credit meters.
- For those with prepaid meters who are unable to top up due to self-isolation, suppliers may offer postal delivery of top-up credit or automated addition to accounts.
- Energy firms are also offering forbearance to vulnerable customers on a voluntary basis.
- The Government has also agreed measures with the UK’s major telecommunications providers to support vulnerable consumers.
- Ofwat is working with the water industry to support households struggling to pay water bills.
- Consumers are encouraged to contact their providers as soon as possible.
- We know that some people are struggling with their finances during this difficult time, which is why we want to make sure people can access the help and support they need to manage their debts and get their finances back on track.
- That is why an extra £37.8 million support package will be available to debt advice providers this year (20-21) so they can continue to provide essential services to help more people who are struggling with their finances due to coronavirus. This extra funding comes on top of the unprecedented package we have put in place to support individuals, businesses and the economy through the coronavirus outbreak.
Support for Consumers
- Payment holidays continue to be available for consumer credit products such as personal loans and car finance. As with mortgages, borrowers impacted by Coronavirus who have not yet taken a payment holiday on that product will be able to top up to 6 months without this being recorded on their credit file. Borrowers with high-cost short-term credit products such as payday loans will continue to be entitled to a maximum month payment holiday. The FCA will announce further information on this shortly.
- Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland will receive a funding boost of up to £15 million to help them deal with increased demand for advice and information from the public during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- This funding will help them to continue to deliver their services remotely as well as ensuring their online content reflects the most up to date advice. It will allow them to increase their capacity so they can continue to deliver advice on a range of issues, such as if a person cannot pay their bills due to Coronavirus, or how they can protect themselves from or report a coronavirus-related scam. Contact Citizens Advice Wolverhampton here (external website).
Page Last Updated: 05/11/2020.