Help and financial support while you're self-isolating
- Staying at home (self-isolating) can be difficult, but it's important to stop coronavirus (COVID-19) spreading to other people.
- Help and support is available while you're at home.
Help with everyday tasks from an NHS volunteer
NHS Volunteer Responders can help with things like:
- collecting shopping
- collecting medicines and prescriptions
- phone calls if you want to chat to someone
- Call 0808 196 3646 (8am to 8pm, everyday) to arrange help from a volunteer.
Financial support if you cannot work
- Tell your employer if you cannot work while you're self-isolating.
- They should tell you if you're covered by their sick leave or special leave policy.
- If you cannot get sick pay from your employer, you might be able to get Statutory Sick Pay or another type of financial support.
- If you're on a low income and you're asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, you may be able to get a £500 Test and Trace Support Payment.
Click here for more information - https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-and-treatment/help-and-financial-support-while-youre-self-isolating/
Coronavirus – check what benefits you can get.
You might be able to claim benefits or get more money on your current benefits if your work has been affected by coronavirus.
- This might be because you:
- are earning less than usual - including if you’re self-employed
- have lost your job or been made redundant
- have stopped being self-employed
- If you’re not a UK citizen, you might still be able to claim benefits - check the rules for the benefit you want to apply for.
- Each benefit has different rules - what you can claim depends on your situation and if you’ve claimed benefits before.
If you’re already claiming benefits
Universal Credit is gradually replacing these benefits:
- Housing Benefit
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)
- Child Tax Credit
- Working Tax Credit
- Income Support
- You can usually stay on one of these benefits unless something about your situation has changed - this is called a ‘change of circumstance’. Not every change of circumstance means you need to claim Universal Credit.
- If you claim Universal Credit you won't be able to go back to the benefit you were on before. Check if you need to move from other benefits to Universal Credit.
- There might also be changes to how you manage your benefits or how much you can get. Check if the government has made any changes to benefits.
If you're struggling to pay your bills
- You can check what help you can get if you can't pay your bills. This includes things like your mortgage, energy bills, council tax or court fines.
- If you're struggling to pay for food, find out how to get help from a food bank. If you have children, check if they can get free school meals.
- You might be able to get other benefits - for example, if you’re a carer or have a long-term health condition. If you’re not sure which benefits to apply for, you can talk to an adviser.
If you’re ill or you’re following guidance to self-isolate please DON'T go to the Jobcentre Plus.
Tell the Jobcentre Plus you’re ill or self-isolating by:
- calling the office paying your benefit
- updating your online journal if you get Universal Credit
You won’t have to search for work or do work-related activity.
Help for renters – you'll be protected from eviction in the coming months
If you'll struggle to pay rent during the coronavirus outbreak you should speak to your landlord as soon as possible to let them know your situation and work out a repayment plan.
It's also worth checking whether you're receiving all the financial help with housing you're entitled to, which could come from benefits such as universal credit.
The Government has also now announced that landlords won't be able to start eviction proceedings for at least the next three months, protecting private and social tenants (and private landlords can be given a three-month payment holiday on their buy-to-let mortgages if their tenants are experiencing financial difficulties due to coronavirus). It's introducing emergency legislation for this, though it's not yet clear when this will come into force.
Beyond this three-month point, you'll be expected to work with your landlord to establish an affordable repayment plan which takes your circumstances into account.
The Government has also said that existing protocols for social landlords dealing with rent arrears will be extended to include private landlords too, to "support engagement" between landlords and tenants and help them solve disputes. It will ask landlords to be compassionate and allow tenants to stay in their homes wherever possible – while associations representing local government and housing associations have already said that no social renter should be evicted due to coronavirus.
Help for mortgages
If keeping up with your bills and food on the table may be a challenge, speak to your bank. On Tuesday 17 March, banks agreed with the Chancellor that they will offer 'forbearance' (tolerance and help) on mortgages.
This means they all should offer those struggling a three-month 'holiday', allowing customers a temporary break from having to make mortgage payments during this time. (Though it's worth noting this is a voluntary agreement with banks – it isn't compulsory for them to offer mortgage holidays.)
If you are going to apply for a mortgage holiday, it's best to do it online where possible, as phone lines are likely to have huge backlogs.
Help for the self employed
The Chancellor confirmed that self-employed people across the UK will be able to get an amount equivalent to 80% of their income, based on their average monthly profits – again, up to a maximum of £2,500 a month.
Grants will start to be paid at the beginning of June, as a taxable lump sum covering March, April and May. And while the scheme's initially to cover these three months, the Chancellor has said it may be extended.
Those eligible will be contacted directly by HM Revenue & Customs – the Government hasn't said when this'll be, only that it will happen "once the scheme is operational". At that point you'll be asked to fill in an online form, and the grant will then be paid directly into your bank account.