Financial help if you’re affected by Coronavirus
No-one will lose their NCH tenancy because of coronavirus
We know that this is a worrying time financially for many people. We will always take a supportive approach to help people with their rent and want to offer practical help.
If you are struggling financially, we have a specialist team who can give you advice on what you can claim and what to do. Please contact us:
Call: 0115 9154920
Text: DOSH and your free message to 80800
Benefit increases due to Coronavirus
From 6 April the government is increasing the standard allowance in Universal Credit and the basic element in Working Tax Credit for one year. Both will increase by £20 per week on top of planned annual uprating. This will apply to all new and existing Universal Credit claimants and to existing Working Tax Credit claimants.
This means that for a single Universal Credit claimant (aged 25 or over), the standard allowance will increase from £317.82 to £409.89 per month.
If you're claiming benefits or asked to go to a medical assessment
People receiving benefits do not have to attend jobcentre appointments for three months, starting from Thursday 19 March.
You will continue to receive benefits as normal, but all requirements to attend the jobcentre in person are suspended.
People can still make applications for benefits online if they are eligible.
Jobcentres remain open, and will continue to support people who are not able to use phones and online, including homeless people.
If you’re already claiming Universal Credit and think you may have been affected by coronavirus, please contact your work coach as soon as possible. You can do this by:
If you are working fewer hours, the amount of Universal Credit you receive will adjust as your earnings change.
The government has postponed all face-to-face medical assessments - for example for ESA, Universal Credit or PIP. Your assessment may be carried out over the telephone or on paper.
You can find out more about getting Universal Credit if you're sick.
If you’re an employee
A new Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be set up to help pay people’s wages. Employers will be able to contact HMRC for a grant to cover most of the wages of their workforce who remain on payroll but are temporarily not working during the coronavirus outbreak. Any employer in the country- small or large, charitable or non-profit will be eligible for the scheme.
If your employer cannot cover staff costs due to COVID-19, they may be able to access support to continue paying part of your wage, to avoid redundancies.
If your employer intends to access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, they will discuss with you becoming classified as a furloughed worker. This would mean that you are kept on your employer’s payroll, rather than being laid off.
To qualify for this scheme, you should not undertake work for them while you are furloughed. This will allow your employer to claim a grant of up to 80% of your wage for all employment costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month.
You will remain employed while furloughed. Your employer could choose to fund the differences between this payment and your salary, but does not have to.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to run for at least three months from 1 March 2020, but will extend if necessary.
Please get in touch with your employer to find out more information.
If you're self-employed
If you’re a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership you will soon be able to claim a grant through the Coronavirus Self-employment Income Support Scheme. You’ll get a taxable grant which will be 80% of the average profits from the tax years.
To be eligible you have to meet the following criteria:
- have submitted your Income Tax Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19
- 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.
Please note that you cannot apply for this scheme yet. HMRC will contact you if you are eligible for the scheme and invite you to apply online.
Other help you can get
The government is also providing the following additional help for the self-employed:
- deferral of Self Assessment income tax payments due in July 2020 and VAT payments due from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020
- grants for businesses that pay little or no business rates
- increased amounts of Universal Credit
- Business Interruption Loan Scheme
If you’re a director of your own company and paid through PAYE you may be able to get support using the Job Retention Scheme.
If you're following government guidance because you have coronavirus symptoms, you'll be considered unfit for work. You'll also be considered unfit for work if you're staying at home, or 'self-isolating', because you've been in contact with someone with coronavirus.
You'll get statutory sick pay (SSP) if you're considered unfit for work and are usually entitled to it - check if you're entitled to SSP.
It's worth checking your contract - your employer might pay you more than SSP when you're sick.
If you're not sick but have been told to self-isolate and can't work from home, you should still get your contractual sick pay on top of SSP.
SSP will to cover anyone who is unable to work because they have been advised to self-isolate, and people caring for those within the same household who display coronavirus symptoms and have been told to self-isolate;
SSP will be paid from day one, removing the three day waiting period
If you’re advised to self-isolate you can get a notification by calling NHS 111 you can use this as evidence for absence from work instead of a fit note so please don’t contact your GP to get a fit note
You can also check your rights to sick pay if you get coronavirus on the ACAS website. ACAS provides free advice to employees and employers.
You can get a self-isolating note here: self isolation note.
New Universal Credit claims
If you are unable to work or your income has reduced, you may be entitled to some additional benefits.
- If you are not already getting any benefits, you may be able to claim Universal Credit - Check if you can claim Universal Credit.
- When you make a new claim for Universal Credit you can receive up to a month’s advance up front. This will include an amount towards your housing costs so remember to pay your rent.
- You should claim Universal credit online.
- If you can't apply for Universal Credit online you might be able to apply for Universal Credit over the phone from Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm. Someone else can call for you. Telephone: 0800 328 5644 or Textphone: 0800 328 1344. Calls to these numbers are free.
You can only use this option in certain situations. You might be eligible if you:
- don't have regular access to the internet
- aren't confident using a computer or smartphone
- have problems with your sight
- have a long term physical disability or mental health condition which stops you from applying online
- have a physical condition that stops you from using a computer or smartphone
- can’t read or write.
It can take a while to get through to someone. Tell the person you speak to why you can’t apply online. They’ll ask you some questions to check you’re eligible before going through the next steps of the application with you.
If you need help to claim Universal Credit you can contact the Help to Claim Service on 0800 144 8444. Advisers are available 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday.
If you need a British Sign Language interpreter, call the textphone number: 18001 0800 144 8 444. An adviser can arrange for an interpreter to translate for you over a video call.
- If you already get Housing Benefit and Working Tax Credits contact Nottingham City Council and HMRC to let them know your income has reduced as your benefit income should then increase.
- If you are getting Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), check if you can top up your income with Universal Credit.
Fuel and energy advice
Customers with pre-payment meters will receive financial help if they cannot leave the house to top up after energy suppliers reached a deal with the government.
Households with pre-payment meters have to top up at a Post Office or shop, although some suppliers allow people to top up online. Customers cannot use their gas and electricity if their pre-payment meter is not topped up but the government has said no one will be cut off during the pandemic.
If you have a pre-payment meter and are unable to leave your house you can contact your gas and electricity supplier to discuss other options.
That could mean sending someone else to top up your card at a Post Office or participating retailer. Among other options are having a pre-loaded gas or electricity card sent you in the post, or having funds added to your meter credit directly by your supplier.
Those in financial distress can request to have debt repayments and bill payments reassessed, paused or reduced if needed. No credit meters will be disconnected during the outbreak.
Advice from our Energy team
Although we are currently unable to complete home visits, we will be operating a telephone service for support with energy related or fuel debt enquiries. Please call us - Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 5pm on 07947 523 831.
Free meals if your children are off school
For those children who must stay at home and would normally receive free school meals, you can access a voucher or gift card for several major supermarkets every two weeks and you will be able to collect your voucher or gift card from your school. More details here: Meal vouchers
Child benefit for newborns
The HMRC have announced that parents of newborn's can claim child benefit without first registering child’s birth.
This new measure has been introduced to make sure that people are able to claim while register offices are closed due to coronavirus outbreak
First time parents will need to fill in Child Benefit Claim form CH2 and send it to the Child Benefit Office, and that they should add a note to the claim if they have been unable to register the birth because of COVID-19.
Parents already in receipt of child benefit can also complete the form, or they can add their newborn’s details over the phone on 0300 200 3100.