For the latest medical advice, visit NHS.uk/Coronavirus.
Statutory Sick Pay
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) and Benefit Measures were announced to ensure you are not penalised for doing the right thing in self-isolating. These change have already come into effect and will:
- Extend Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) to those who are self-isolating in line with Government health guidance.
- Adjust the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Universal Credit (UC) rules to ensure you are entitled to money from day 1, and those who are self-employed are supported, including in the gig-economy, to receive welfare payments for periods of self-isolation.
This change helps to provide certainty that (if eligible) you are entitled to receive Statutory Sick Pay if you are following government advice in relation to coronavirus. This includes if you are self isolating as a precautionary measure without symptoms.
If you are on a zero hour contract, you may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay. This will depend how many hours you have worked regularly and income received, but you should contact your employer directly to find out more.
For more details on Statutory Sick Pay, click here.
Employment and Support Allowance
If you are affected by Coronavirus, you will be able to access the benefit system without the need for medical evidence or to attend a work capability assessment. The seven waiting days for Employment and Support Allowance for new claims will not apply. It will be payable from day one.
If you are affected by Coronavirus, work search and work availability requirements within Universal Credit are switched off. They will also provide access to other support within Universal Credit, such as a work allowance and childcare support for if you have a partner who is still able to work. If you are self-employed, you will also not have a Minimum Income Floor (an assumed level of income) applied for a period of time within Universal Credit.
The Government are increasing the Universal Credit standard allowance, for the next 12 months, by £1,000 a year.
Working Tax Credit
The Government are increasing working tax credit by £1,000 a year for the next 12 months.
Following the new national restrictions, mortgage holiday has been extended to reassure homeowners- people will not have to pay a penny towards their mortgage while they get back on their feet.
Borrowers who have been impacted by coronavirus and have not yet had a mortgage payment holiday will be entitled to a six month holiday, and those that have already started a mortgage payment holiday will be able to top up to six months without this being recorded on their credit file.
The Government have introduced emergency legislation to protect tenants in social and private accommodation from an eviction process being started.
They have also extended the three month mortgage payment holiday to landlords whose tenants are experiencing financial difficulties due to coronavirus. These measures will protect all renters and private landlords ensuring everyone gets the support they needs at this very difficult time.
Local Housing Allowance will increase to cover at least 30 per cent of market rents in local areas.
The energy price cap has been extended until the end of 2021, saving people up to £100.
Customers with pre-payment meters who may not be able to add credit can speak to their supplier about options to keep them supplied. This will benefit over 4 million customers and could include nominating a third party for credit top ups, having a discretionary fund added to their credit, or being sent a pre-loaded top up card so that their supply is not interrupted.
More broadly, any energy customer in financial distress will also be supported by their supplier, which could include debt repayments and bill payments being reassessed, reduced or paused where necessary, while disconnection of credit meters will be completely suspended.
The Financial Conduct Authority called on firms to use the flexibility built into their rules to support consumers, taking into account customers’ individual circumstances.
Many major lenders have already made statements to this effect. It is very important that anyone having difficulty paying back personal loans or credit as a result of COVID-19 talks to their lender.
Where payment holidays as a result of COVID-19 are agreed with a lender, they are expected to record these in such a way that will not impact on people’s credit score.
The Government are temporarily scrapping stamp duty on all homes under £500,000 to catalyse the housing market and boost confidence – helping to drive growth and create jobs.
From 9 July 2020 until 30 June 2021, the Government 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.
You can find out more about Government measures for support here.