Financial support during the coronavirus crisis

We’ve rounded up the links to financial support that might be available to you during this time of uncertainty due to the  coronavirus pandemic.

The GOV.UK website is being updated regularly with all of the latest updates and guidance.

Do contact the team at Metabolic Support UK on contact@metabolicsupportuk.org if you would like any further support. We are here to help.

Statutory Sick Pay
You may be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay(SSP) if you are ill from coronavirus (COVID-19) or if you are self-isolating. For each day that you are in isolation, you must self-isolate for at least four days to be eligible. The rate is £94.25 per week for 28 weeks. You will need to inform your employer to receive the payment. See here for more information.

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

Universal Credit is a payment to help with your living costs. It’s paid monthly – or twice a month for some people in Scotland.

You may be able to get it if you’re on a low income or out of work.

You will need to have less than £16,000 in savings to be eligible. Your Universal Credit payment is made up of a standard allowance and any extra amounts that apply to you, depending on your number of children, disabilities or rental costs. For more information, see here.

Jobseeker’s Allowance
If you have found yourself out of work, you will need to apply for Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA).

There are three different types of Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA):

  • “New style” JSA
  • Contribution based JSA
  • Income based JSA

The type that you receive depends on your circumstances, the National Insurance contributions that you have made, your savings and any other benefits that you receive. At present, you need to apply online and will receive a telephone interview to assess your eligibility and the type that you may receive. For more information, see here.

Self-Employed Financial Help
If you’re self-employed and have had to stop working because of the coronavirus pandemic, the government have put together a package for you to receive a grant.

This scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for up to six months. You can apply if you’re a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership and you:

  • Have submitted your Income Tax Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19,
  • Traded in the tax year 2019-20,
  • Are trading when you apply, or would be if not for COVID-19,
  • Intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020-21,
  • Have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19.

HMRC will contact you if you are eligible for the scheme and invite you to apply online. See here for more information.

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

From April, the government 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.

As well as Universal Credit housing help, new guidelines state that court cases for house evictions won’t be heard until 23rd August in England and Wales, and landlords can get help too. Landlords will have to give all renters three months’ notice if they intend to seek possession (i.e. serve notice that they want to end the tenancy). This means that the landlord can’t apply to start the court process until after this period. In Scotland, private and social landlords will have to give an increased six months’ notice before taking steps to evict a tenant. In Northern Ireland, landlords must give tenants 12 weeks’ notice prior to eviction but courts are not hearing eviction court cases until after the coronavirus crisis. All housing possessions have now been suspended for 90 days. For more support with your rental costs, see the links below:

Furloughed Employee
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 the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This is known as being “on furlough”.

Your employer could pay 80% of your wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme up to a monthly cap of £2,500.

You’ll still be paid by your employer and pay taxes from your income. You cannot undertake work for your employer while on furlough. See here to check your eligibility.

Furloughed Employees’ Pension
For furloughed workers, the government will continue to cover the minimum basic matching pension contributions, so it should continue. For more information, see here.

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
You can apply for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if you have a disability or health condition that affects how much you can work.

ESA gives you:

  • Money to help with living costs if you’re unable to work,
  • Support to get back into work if you can.

You can apply for ESA if you’re employed, self-employed or unemployed, and if you get Incapacity Benefit or Severe Disablement Allowance, you might be moved to ESA if you’ve been claiming Incapacity Benefit or Severe Disablement Allowance.

For more information on ESA, see here.

MOTs due from 30.03.2020
Your car, van or motorcycle’s MOT expiry date will be extended by six months if it’s due on or after 30th March 2020 – but you must keep your vehicle safe to drive.

Mortgage Payment Holiday
Some banks and building societies are offering a three month mortgage payment holiday with some lenders extending mortgage payment holidays beyond three months for those who are struggling. See here for more detailed information on what individual lenders are offering and how to apply.

Contactless Payments
From 1st April 2020, the limit on contactless payments has increased to £45.

Overdraft Buffer
Banks can offer customers a £500 interest free overdraft for three months and no customers need pay more of their overdraft off than previously. Please contact your own bank for more details and to request an overdraft if you do not already have one.

Energy Suppliers and Bills
All energy disconnections are suspended for all providers and British Gas has removed its late payment charge.

Topping up prepaid energy may be difficult if self-isolating, but some firms will help.

The government and energy suppliers have agreed to new emergency measures to help prepayment customers who are unable to top up during the pandemic, including posting cards loaded with emergency credit to those who are self-isolating, adding discretionary credit to your meter, and allowing you to nominate someone to top up for you. Contact your individual energy supplier for more details.

Council Tax
Some councils are letting you defer your April and May payments until later in the year. Speak to your Local Authority if you are having difficulty in making your payments.

Water Bills
If you’re struggling to pay your water bills, many providers are offering support. Please contact your water provider to see what help they can offer you.

Sky Sports and BT Sport
Whilst subscriptions and payments for Sky Sports and BT Sport could have been paused for April and May, many payments re-started in June due to the football, golf and snooker re-starting mid-June. You can claim 50% off your June BT Sport payment here, as the sport re-started mid-June. Certain Sky Sports payments will not have been re-started if you have opted to pay for a certain sports package where the sports that you have opted to watch haven’t re-started yet.

Citizens Advice
Citizens Advice are still operating a telephone and online service. Find your nearest office and details of how to contact them here.

Credit Card and Loan Payments
You can ask for a six month payment holiday for credit card and loan payments if your income has been affected by coronavirus. For more information, please see here.

Car Finance Payments
You can now apply for a payment holiday from car finance payments for three months. For more information on this, please see here.

Broadband Bills
Many broadband providers are offering help if you’re struggling to pay your broadband bills. Please contact your provider directly if you need any support with paying your broadband bill. Broadband providers have also been instructed not to disconnect anyone’s connection at this time even if you’re struggling with payments.

For further support, please contact us on contact@metabolicsupportuk.org or 0845 241 2173.