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
- Please note that this scheme closes on the 31st of October and employers will need to make any final claims on or before the 30th of November. They will not be able to submit or add to any claims after the 30th of November.
- From the 1st of October, the Government has paid employers 60% of usual wages up to a cap of £1,875 per month for the hours furloughed employees do not work. Employers continue to pay their furloughed employees at least 80% of their usual wages for the hours they do not work, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. Employers need to fund the difference between this and the CJRS grant themselves. The caps are proportional to the hours not worked. Employers will also continue to pay employer National Insurance and pension contributions from their own funds.
- Employers must keep the records that support the amount of CJRS grant they have claimed in case HMRC need to check it. Employers can now view, print or download copies of their previously submitted claims by logging onto their CJRS service on GOV.UK.
Job Support Scheme
- The Job Support Scheme (JSS) will open on the 1st of November and run for six months, until the 30th of April 2021. The Government has said that it will review the terms of the scheme in January 2021.
- There are two variations to JSS – JSS Open and JSS Closed.
- JSS Open will provide support to businesses that are open where employees are working shorter hours due to reduced demand.
- Employees will need to work at least 20% of their usual hours. Employers will continue to pay employees for the hours they work, and the UK Government will pay a contribution of 61.67% of the usual pay for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £1,541.75 per month.
- Employers will pay 5% of the usual pay for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £125 per month, and can top this up further if they choose. This means employees should receive at least two thirds of their usual pay for hours not worked.
- The caps are reduced according to the proportion of hours not worked. Employers will need to cover all employer National Insurance and pension contributions.
- JSS Closed will provide support to businesses whose premises are legally required to close as a direct result of Coronavirus restrictions set by one of the four governments of the UK. This includes premises restricted to delivery or collection-only services from their premises, and those restricted to providing food and/or drinks outdoors.
- For JSS Closed, the UK Government will fund two thirds of employees’ usual wages for time not worked, up to a maximum of £2,083.33 per month. Employers will not be required to contribute, but they can top up the Government’s contribution if they choose to. Employers will still need to cover all employer National Insurance and pension contributions.
- JSS Open will provide support to businesses that are open where employees are working shorter hours due to reduced demand.
Employers will be able to make their first JSS claim in arrears from 8 December, for pay periods ending and paid in November. We’ll let you know more about how to make a claim by the end of this month.
Employees will be able to check if their employer has made a Job Support Scheme claim on their behalf through their online Personal Tax Account.
Job Retention Bonus
- Employers will be able to claim a one-off payment of £1,000 for every eligible employee they furloughed and claimed for through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), kept continuously employed until at least 31 January 2021 and who meets the other eligibility criteria.
- Employers do not have to pay this money to their employee.
- Employers will be able to claim the bonus between the 15th of February and the 31st of March. To do this, they must have submitted PAYE information for the period up to the 5th of February 2021 on time.
- Further information on eligibility and when employers can claim can be found on GOV.UK and further guidance on the claim process will be published by the end of January 2021.
- 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.
- 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.
- Individuals with additional questions should contact DWP or HMRC directly, and contact details for the different benefits are available through the link above.
- 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 lenders have agreed to offer payment holidays of up to three months where this is needed due to coronavirus-related hardship, including for buy-to-let mortgages. On the 2nd of June 2020, the Financial Conduct Authority confirmed that borrowers can apply for an extension to any holiday already taken while extending the window for new applications to the 31st of October 2020. 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
- On 9 April, the FCA announced a series of measures intended to provide emergency support to consumers who are facing temporary cash flow problems.
- The Government is providing consumers with 0% interest on the first £500 of an arranged overdraft for three months – consumers without arranged overdrafts may request this facility.
- The Government will allow consumers either a 3-month payment holiday or to make nominal payments towards credit cards, store cards, catalogue credit and certain personal loan agreements.
- Customers should contact their lender if they are experiencing short-term cash flow problems.
- Further information is available at: https://www.fca.org.uk/consumers/coronavirus-information-personalloans-….
- Anyone holding an advance ticket will be able to refund it free of charge.
- All season ticket holders can claim a refund for time unused on their tickets.
- Ticket holders should contact their retailer for details.
- Find out how to recognise when contact from HMRC is genuine, and how to recognise phishing or bogus emails and text messages: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/genuine-hmrc-contact-and-rec…
- 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: 22/10/2020.