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Applying for extra support during the Coronavirus pandemic

Applying for extra support during the pandemic

2020 has brought on a lot of uncertainty to everyone across the world. Financially things have changed for a lot of people, with lockdown, furlough and shielding being introduced along with redundancies being made. These are all temporary and there is support available. Our Navigators have put together some information to help you navigate through the support you may be eligible for.

I have been furloughed…

Your employer can use the government Coronavirus Job Retention scheme to pay you. You need to be paid through PAYE and on the payroll on or before 19 March 2020. Your employer will need to inform the government you have been furloughed and you will be paid 80% of your normal pay. You can read more on how furlough may impact you on the Citizen’s Advice Website.

I am self-employed

You may be able to claim contribution based or new-style Employment Support Allowance (ESA) if you are self-isolating. This is based on your National Insurance contributions for 2 tax years (2017-2018, 2018-2019). For a step-by-step process of applying for ESA, you can visit the Citizen’s Advice Website.

Can I get Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)?

This may be relevant to you if you have to self-isolate because you or someone you live with has sysmptoms of coronavirus. To be eligible for SSP you need to:

  • Be an employee
  • Earn more than £118 a week
  • Be sick for four full days or more in a row (including non-working days)
  • Follow your employer’s rules for getting sick pay

You can check your rights to sick pay on the ACAS website.

I have never claimed benefits

If you have not claimed benefits before you may be eligible to apply for one of the following:

Universal Credit (UC)

You can apply for UC online, using a simple step-by-step process. You will need to do an identity check and use your online UC journal to work with your job coach.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

This is the new Disability Allowance. You start your claim after a short phone interview by calling 0800 917 2222. The Department of Work and Pension (DWP) will then send you a PIP application form that asks for information about how your health condition/disability affects you. You must send the form back to the DWP before the date allocated on the front of the form.

The job-centre has suspended most face-to-face meetings and assessments until June 2020. Some assessments may be held over the phone, it is important to keep up-to-date following your application to ensure you have provided all of the information requested.

Visit the GOV.UK website to find out more information on PIP.

To check what benefits you may be eligible for, you can use the Benefits Calculator on the GOV.UK website.

I am struggling to pay my bills

You may be struggling to pay your rent, Council Tax, mortgage and energy bills. While it is important that you do not ignore your bills, some bills may cause you more problems if they are left unpaid. These are priority debts. You can check if you have priority debts on the Citizen’s Advice Website.

For further support with your specific problem, you can visit the Citizen’s Advice website and talk to a debt adviser.

Experiencing some of the issues mentioned here?

Navigators offer practical support with a range of issues and support you to access specialist advice, information and other services. Refer to the service on our website.

This story was originally published in the Spring/Summer 2020 Community Living Well magazine. It has been edited for website purposes. Subscribe today to receive mental health and wellbeing tips straight to your inbox, four times a year!

Refer to the Community Living Well service here.

Author: Michelle Jackson
Posted on: 30th June 2020

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