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Money Advice – Coronavirus Update

Updated Wednesday 6th May 2020 10:00 

Update

  • HMRC confirms that people not working their normal hours because of coronavirus will retain entitlement to their usual tax credits. Claimants do not need to contact HMRC as they will be treated as working their normal hours until the Job Retention Scheme and Self-Employment Income Support Scheme close. 
  • HMRC has started contacting claimants who may be eligible for the COVID-19 Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) which is due to open for applications on 13 May 2020.Those eligible will receive money by 25 May 2020 or within six working days of completing their claim.  
  • Disability benefit awards are to be automatically extended by six months if due for reassessment in the next three months. DWP Minister also advises Select Committee that the Department is ‘adopting a very sympathetic, claimant supportive view’ when undertaking paper-based reviews.

  • New-style (contribution based) Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) can now be claimed online.

This is a very worrying time if you are self-employed, unable to go to work or concerned about your future income. CHS has a team of Money Matters Advisors who can help you to understand what support may be available. Questions you have may include:

  • I have been laid off
  • I have lost working hours
  • I have no money for food
  • I am self-employed and work has dried up
  • I don’t know which benefits I can claim

Our Money Matters Advisors are not doing any home visits at the moment, but they are available Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm by phone, text or email to answer your questions.

If you are a CHS customer email the Money Matters team at moneyadvice@chsgroup.org.uk.   When you e-mail please include your name, phone number and a brief idea of what you need to ask about. We will usually be able to phone or mail you the same day and will do our best to help you through this difficult time.   

Some help already available:

  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme allows employers to designate you as a ‘furloughed worker’ if they are unable to allow you to work and 80% of your wages can be reclaimed from the government up to £2500 per month.
  • If you are self-employed you can ask the government for cash grant of 80% of your average profits (up to £2500 per month). The average income would be calculated based on your average income over 3 years, using your tax return. You would need to have filed a tax return for 2018-19 at least; if you are more recently self-employed you may not qualify and may need to apply for Universal Credit. See https://www.gov.uk/government/news/chancellor-gives-support-to-millions-of-self-employed-individuals
  • Employees who have COVID-19 or who are self-isolating in line with government advice will be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from the first day off work if not covered by an employer’s scheme. Rules about ‘fit’ notes will be relaxed for COVID-19 related absence.
  • New Style (contributory) Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) will be payable for people who have COVID-19 or are self-isolating from the first day of sickness, instead of having to wait until the eight day.
  • People who are directly affected by COVID-19 or self-isolating will be able to claim Universal Credit (UC) without having to attend a Jobcentre if they can’t qualify for enough SSP or ESA to live on, as Universal Credit can help you pay your rent.
  • People receiving benefits do not have to attend Jobcentre interviews for 3 months starting 19th March, although Jobcentres remain open to support you if you aren’t able to use phones or go online.
  • From 6th April the standard allowance in Universal Credit and the basic element in Working Tax Credit will increase by an extra £20 per week. For a single person the monthly UC will therefore increase from £317.82 to £409.89 per month.
  • All Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Universal Credit (UC) Medical Assessments have been put on hold for 3 months.  All reviews of existing disability benefits have also been put on hold for 3 months

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