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Coronavirus and your income

You may get other kinds of help if you are self-employed. Business Debtline can give you more information, see www.businessdebtline.org.

Help for employees

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) ended on 30 September 2021.

It was introduced to prevent the need for your employer to make you redundant. If you were enrolled on the scheme, you were classed as a furloughed worker. This meant that you were kept on your employer's payroll, rather than being laid off.

If you were furloughed, at the end of September 2021 your employer will need to decide whether they want you to return to work or whether they are going to make you redundant.

If you haven't heard from your employer, you should contact them as soon as possible.

If your employer is making you redundant, see our Coronavirus: redundancy advice section.

In work and need to self-isolate?

Coronavirus Self Isolation Payment

Self-isolation payments ended in England on 24th February 2022. However, you can claim the payment if you were instructed to self-isolate before this date and claim within 42 days.

Self-isolation payments In Wales are continuing after 24th February 2022.

If you are on a low income and are asked to self-isolate, you may receive a payment of £500 in England or £750 in Wales. In England, you would apply for a Test and Trace Support Payment and in Wales, you would apply to the self-isolation support scheme. You need to apply:

  • within 42 days of your first day of self-isolation in England; and
  • within 21 days of your last day of self-isolation, if you live in Wales.

You will need to have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace/NHS Wales, Trace Protect service and;

  • be employed and your employer can confirm you are unable to work from home, or self-employed and you can show that you are unable to run your business without social contact; and
  • claiming at least one of the following benefits: Universal Credit, Working tax credit, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Pension Credit or Housing Benefit.​

You can also claim the payment if you’re the parent or guardian of a child who has been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace/NHS Wales, Trace Protect service, and you need to take time off to look after them.

If you don’t receive one of the qualifying benefits, local authorities may still be able to make a payment to you if you are on a low income and could suffer financial hardship from not being able to work

Contact your local authority​ to make a claim. The payment won’t affect any other benefits and you can make further claims if you meet the criteria.

Statutory Sick Pay

The Government has announced changes to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for people affected by coronavirus who have to self-isolate. SSP will now be paid from the first day of sickness rather than the usual fourth day of sickness. You can claim SSP if:

  • you've been told by the NHS that you have come into contact with someone who has coronavirus or shows coronavirus symptoms;
  • you live with someone within the same household who has coronavirus or shows coronavirus symptoms; or
  • someone in your ‘support bubble’ has coronavirus or shows coronavirus symptoms.

More information can be found on the GOV.UK website.

The Government has also announced an extension to the SSP self-certification period. For any sickness absence Between 10 December 2021 and 26 January 2022 , you will not be required to provide medical evidence of sickness, such as a fit note, for the first 28 days. From 27 January 2022, the self-certification period will revert back to the usual 7 days.

During this period there will also be no need to produce a fit note to access other benefits including, but not limited to Universal Credit and Employment Support Allowance (ESA).

SSP is £96.35 per week and can be paid for up to 28 weeks. To qualify, a worker must earn at least £118 per week.

If you are not eligible to receive SSP, you can claim Universal Credit and/or new style Employment and Support Allowance.

Visit Turn2us​for more information about benefits and how to claim them.

Claim benefits

If you are unable to claim Statutory Sick Pay but coronavirus means you are too sick to work, you may be able to claim new style Employment and Support Allowance, as long as you have paid enough National Insurance contributions in the last two to three years

  • ​New style Employment and Support Allowance will now get paid from day one of your claim rather than the usual day eight
  • You can now claim new style Employment and Support Allowance online.
  • Income and savings that you or your partner have will not affect your claim.

​If you are able to work but have lost your job or work less than 16 hours per week, you may be able to claim new style Job Seekers Allowance​ as long as you have paid enough National Insurance contribution in the last two to three years.

  • ​You can get new style Jobseekers Allowance for up to six months and it will be paid every two weeks
  • Income and savings that you or your partner/spouse have will not affect your claim. 

If you aren’t able to get new style Employment and Support Allowance/new style Job Seekers allowance, or you can but need extra financial help, you will need to make a separate application for Universal Credit.

Important: Universal Credit can affect other benefits

Making a claim for Universal Credit may mean that you lose other benefits you currently get, such as tax credits. 

Once you make a Universal Credit claim, your tax credit claim will stop and you cannot go back to tax credits. Before you apply for Universal Credit, try to get advice from a benefits adviser to check if you will be better off claiming Universal Credit. You can look for a local benefits adviser on the Turn2us website.

  • ​​Universal Credit is based on your household situation so your or your partner’s income and savings may affect how much you will get.
  • If you are making a new claim for Universal Credit you do not need to call anyone. Claims can be made online​. If anything needs checking the DWP will call you back. 
  • There is a five week wait to receive your first Universal Credit payment. You can receive a month’s advance which you then pay back. 

You can use Citizens Advice Help to Claim service if you need additional support when making a Universal Credit application. Visit Turn2us for more information about benefits and how to claim them. They have a benefits calculator​ to help you find out what you may be able to claim. ​

Already claiming benefits?

If you are claiming Universal Credit or Job Seekers Allowance you may need to meet certain requirements to continue to receive the benefit. This could be job searching, periods of time at work or attending regular meetings or assessments. Due to coronavirus these requirements were temporarily suspended, however they have now restarted. Call the Jobcentre Plus if you're worried about going to an appointment in person due to coronavirus.

​If coronavirus means you are unable to carry out a task, you should phone the office paying the benefit to explain why. If you are claiming Universal Credit, inform your work coach and explain what has happened in your online journal.

Face-to-face assessments for sickness and disability benefits had been suspended, they have now restarted for some people. You should only be asked to attend a face-to face assessment if you can’t be assessed another way. This will apply if you receive Personal Independence Payments (PIP), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Industrial Injuries Disability Benefit and possibly Universal Credit.

If you have concerns about attending an assessment contact your assessment provider, using the contact details on your appointment letter. You can find more details on GOV.UK.​

The Government has also temporarily changed the way they work out Universal Credit for self-employed people on low incomes. You can contact the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644 for more information.

Help towards your rent - changes for private tenants

If you rent privately, the maximum amount of help that you can get for your rent through Housing Benefit or Universal Credit depends on several factors, such as the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rate for the area you live in and the type of accommodation that you need. LHA rates have been increased across the UK. To find the rate that applies to your area, go to the Directgov website.

To find out more about how these changes may help you, please visit Turn2us. They have a benefit calculator​ to help you find out if and how much you may be able to claim.