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COVID-19 Money and Financial Support

 

We understand this is a difficult time for you. You’re thinking about your health and your family. On top of this, you may be worrying about money and paying the bills. We’ve created this FAQ guide to help you. Information is changing quickly, so we’ll regularly update this guide.

Apologies, we are still working on this page

I have lost my job
You may need to claim benefits as you would if you lost their job in “normal” circumstances. However, the government has just introduced a “job retention scheme” to help prevent people losing their jobs as a result of Coronavirus. If you have already lost your job due to Coronavirus, there might be some scope to “reverse” the redundancy and utilise the job retention scheme instead.

 

You should contact your former employer about this in the first instance. If you need help understanding what benefits you may be entitled to, call our Financial Inclusion team on 0208 768 7925 or email them at Jherbert@hexagon.org.uk .

If you want help finding a new job, talk to our Employment team on 0208 768 7915 or email mcallender@hexagon.org.uk

 

My hours have been reduced

Our understanding is that employees in your position will not be eligible for support from the retention scheme (although it is a good idea to check as things are changing all the time). However, your reduced income might mean that you are now entitled to claim benefits, or are eligible for an increase in benefits you already claim. Remember that benefits are not just for people who are unemployed.

 

To get an idea of what you might be entitled to, you can use a benefit calculator such as the one at https://www.betteroffcalculator.co.uk/free (this is actually a basic version of the calculator our own teams use, but others are available as well).

 

Alternatively (or if you would like some information after you run a calculation), you can contact our Financial Inclusion team on 0208 768 7925 or by email at Jherbert@hexagon.org.uk  Although it might take a bit longer than usual to respond to queries, we are still here to help. Also, if you want help with finding a new job, you can talk to our Employment team on 0208 768 7915 or by email mcallender@hexagon.org.uk.

 

 

I am self employed, how do I access the self employed income support scheme?

Full information about the Self Employed Income Support Scheme can be found here.(link to Gov document here on self employment and COVID income support scheme)

To help make things simpler, we have done a quick summary below

 

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 2018-2019
  • traded in the tax year 2019-20
  • are trading when you apply, or would be except for COVID-19
  • intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020-21
  • have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19.

More information on the scheme

The scheme is expected to be operational from early June, but those with self employed profits of more than £50,000 will not be eligible for any assistance. Also, to be eligible for the scheme, it is expected that more than half of your income will need to come from self-employment. If this is the case, help would not be available to replace income lost by self-employed “side-lines” undertaken alongside an employed job.

If your income has reduced (or indeed gone completely) due to the virus, but you don’t qualify for the scheme, it is likely that you will be able to make a claim for benefits. To get an idea of what you might be entitled to, you can use a benefit calculator such as the one at https://www.betterofcalculator.co.uk/free  (this is actually a basic version of the calculator our own teams use, and others are available as well). Alternatively (or if you would just like some help having run a calculation), you can contact our financial inclusion team on 0208 768 7925 or by email at Jherbert@hexagon.org.uk

 

Can I still make a claim for Universal Credit if I have COVID-19?

Yes, on the gov.uk website it states:

‘Don’t delay making your Universal Credit claim, even if you think you may be affected by coronavirus.
You can apply for Universal Credit online, or if you’re unable to do so online you can call on 0800 328 5644.’

You’d normally be asked to attend an appointment at the Job Centre. But we’ve been advised that the Job Centres are now closed. All Universal Credit communication should be online or by phone.

Please don’t worry, your claim will be processed. For anyone making a new claim for Universal Credit, advances are available and these can be claimed online or by phone.

As things are changing quickly, please also check the latest information on the gov.uk website.

 

 

I’m a shared owner and struggling to cope financially

We are aware that shared owners are a group who can be hit particularly hard by current events, and we are keen to help if we can. If you have lost all or some of your income, the information elsewhere in other sections of this briefing can give you some information about how to manage this (you would go to the section that best reflects how your income has been affected)

 

Beyond that, remember that being a shared owner does not stop you applying for benefits if you qualify based on your income. And depending on your circumstances, the amount you can earn while still getting some support can be higher than you might think. In most areas (including the rent part of your housing costs), you can access support through the benefits system based on your circumstances in the same way as someone who rents a home with us.

 

In respect of Mortgage interest, you can (if you qualify) get help from the Support for Mortgage Interest scheme . This is a loan to cover your interest payments on your Mortgage, but it does not have to be paid back until you sell or transfer your home, and you will not be made to sell your home to pay the loan. More information on this can be found at https://www.gov.uk/support-for-mortgage-interest .

 

If you are struggling generally, and want some advice, our financial inclusion team remains available to help on 0208 768 7925 or by email at Jherbert@hexagon.org.uk

 

What’s Happening to Universal Credit Sanctions?

New legislation came into effect on 30 March that stops sanctions being given to Universal Credit claimants who are not looking for work. This will last for three months.

From the information we’ve received, it appears that fixed-term sanctions already in place will still continue. We’ll provide an update and a link to the Government’s advice as soon as we know more.

 

 

 

I’m employed but I am unwell or having to self isolate. What does this mean for my money?

If you’re well enough, your employer may allow you to work from home, if so your wages won’t be affected. However, if you’re at home and unable to work you could lose your salary.
Depending on your employer and the contract you’re on, you may get sick pay. If not, you can claim statutory sick pay. The government has useful information on this.

Claiming Sickpay

If you cannot work due to coronavirus, you’re eligible for Statutory Sick Pay from day one. This applies from 13 March 2020

 

Statutory Sick Pay will be paid to anyone staying at home (self-isolating) on government advice, not just those who are infected with coronavirus

 

If you need to provide evidence to your employer that you need to stay at home due to coronavirus, you can get it from the NHS 111 Online. You don’t need a fit note from your doctor.

 

Claiming Extra Support

If you‘re already getting help from your local authority for Housing Benefit or Council Tax support, let them know of your change to your income. The fastest way to do this is on their website.
If you don’t currently get support with Council Tax reduction (help towards paying your council tax) then contact your local authority website to see how you can get help.

If you’re in work, claiming Universal Credit (UC), and are staying at home on Government advice, you should report this in the usual way via your online journal. If this means you’re working fewer hours, the amount of Universal Credit you receive will adjust as your earnings change.

If you aren’t getting help with housing costs, it’s worth seeing if you’re entitled to Universal Credit.  You can find out what you’re entitled to.

 

I need to make a new claim for Universal Credit claim and have no idea where to start

Contact us now, we can support you and prevent you getting into debt at the beginning of your claim.

 

You can apply for Universal Credit (UC) online. If you need to make an appointment, call the number you’re given when you submit your claim, and explain the situation. Jobcentre Plus staff are ready to support you if you’re required to stay at home.

 

If you need to claim because of coronavirus, you won’t be required to produce a Fit Note. If you’re affected by coronavirus you’ll be able to apply for UC and can receive up to a month’s advance upfront without physically attending a jobcentre.

Universal Credit helpline:

Telephone: 0800 328 5644 (choose option 2)

Textphone: 0800 328 1344 (choose option 2)

NGT text relay (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 328 5644

 

 

I need to make a benefit claim, can Hexagon help me?

Of course! We’re here to help.
Please contact your Revenue Officer in the first instance and we’ll guide you through what you are able to do. We can also connect you to the Financial Inclusion Team for specialist advice.

Apart from benefits what other financial support is available?

Our Financial Inclusion Team has access to a range of resources that might be able to help you.  You may be able to save money on your utility bills and other outgoings, access welfare grants, food banks or other support.

If you’d like us to help you with any of this, please contact us email jherbert@hexagon.org.uk or tel 020 8768 7925

 

I’m employed but the business has closed due to COVID-19. What does this mean for my income?

Please speak to your employer to make sure they’ve applied to be part of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

 

UK workers of any employer who is placed on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme can keep their job, with the government paying up to 80% of a worker’s wages, up to a total of £2,500 per worker each month.

 

These will be backdated to 1st March and will be initially open for 3 months, to be extended if necessary.

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