What financial support has been available during Covid-19?
Statutory sick pay
From 13 March, employees have been able to claim statutory sick pay (SSP) if they’re too ill to work or they’re self-isolating because of COVID-19 symptoms. This includes anyone in the household who is looking after people who are self-isolating and are doing a household quarantine.
With SSP, you can get up to £94.25 a week. It can be paid by your employer for up to 28 weeks and will start on day 1 of you being unable to work, rather than the usual day 4. From 20 March, people have been able to get an isolation note instead of a doctor's note by going to NHS 111 online and filling out a form.
For more information, check out GOV.uk.
For many people, the mortgage is the biggest monthly outgoing. So if you have been experiencing difficulties trying to make these repayments because of COVID-19, you may be able to take a ‘mortgage holiday’ for three months. This basically means your repayments will be paused during that time, but you will have to pay the same amount eventually.
Mortgage lenders have agreed with the government to offer these repayment holidays to any household facing financial hardship because of the current times. The best thing you can do is to contact your lender to find out a solution that works for you.
Landlords can also make use of a mortgage holiday if their tenants are having money worries too.
There’s additional reassurance for tenants, as the government has confirmed that you will not face the threat of eviction for at least three months if you’re having financial difficulties.
The job retention scheme
You may have heard of friends or family being furloughed, or perhaps you’ve been furloughed yourself. The scheme ensures businesses do not have to face tough decisions about losing staff. They’ve been able to claim back up to 80% a furloughed employee’s wages, with a cap of £2,500 a month.
If you’ve been placed on the job retention scheme, you’ll have been asked to sign a form by your employer – but you don’t have to do anything else. You’ll still be paid by them. If the £2,500 cap is less than your usual pay, some employers have been making up the 20% difference. But they’re not required to do this.
Recently the scheme has been extended to the end of October 2020, but companies will have to start contributing towards the 80%. At the time of writing, this is for staff that begin to return part-time.
Support for the self-employed
Currently, the coronavirus support package for the UK’s self-employed workers is a taxable grant based on previous monthly earnings over the last three years. You could get up to 80% of earnings and the grant is paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months. It is capped at £7,500 altogether. To qualify, you also have to have earnings of less than £50,000 a year.
Check your eligibility with GOV.uk.