In the recent Budget announcement on 11th March, the Government announced a number of changes to benefits to support people through the coronavirus pandemic.
Here's a roundup of the main points:
- Statutory Sick Pay:
- entitlement to be paid from the first day of sickness absence, rather than from the fourth day, for people who have coronavirus or who have to self‑isolate
- temporarily extended to cover individuals who are unable to work because they have been advised to self-isolate or people caring for those within the same household who display coronavirus symptoms and have been told to self-isolate.
- Contributory (New Style) ESA will be available from day one rather than day eight for those affected by the coronavirus or self-isolating.
- People will be able to claim Universal Credit and access advance payments without the current requirement to attend the jobcentre.
- Minimum Income Floor for Universal Credit to be suspended temporarily during the coronavirus outbreak to help those who are self-employed.
- £500 million of new grant funding to local authorities to help to support 'economically vulnerable people and households' in their local area. The Government expects most of this money to be used to provide more Council Tax relief.
- Small and medium businesses with fewer than 250 employees will get help to cope with the extra cost of paying Statutory Sick Pay for 14 days.
- HMRC has set up a dedicated COVID-19 helpline to help the self-employed in financial distress due to tax liabilities, to agree a Time to Pay Arrangement.
If you have any concerns about paying your rent due to coronavirus:
- First check https://www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/coronavirus/ to ensure you are claiming for the benefits that you may now be entitled to, since the recent Budget announcement. This page will be updated regularly.
- If you still have concerns about paying your rent please speak to our customer support team on 01225 715 715 who can then put you in touch with your account manager. They can then advise you based on your individual circumstances.