FAQ’s Coronavirus, Self-employment and Benefits

I am no longer working due to Coronavirus, what are my options?

· Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – The government has announced that it will subsidise 80% of wages for all employees also known as “furloughed workers”. This is to help employers retain their staff. Speak to your employer first to find out if they are part of this scheme.

· SSP – You’ll get statutory sick pay (SSP) if you’re considered unfit for work due to having coronavirus or have had to self-isolate, and earn above £118 per week (£120 from April 2020)

SSP (rate is £94.25 & £95.85 from 6 April 2020 – up to a maximum of 28 weeks) is claimed via your employer plus any entitlement to contractual sick pay (if available) will be paid from the first day of sickness absence, rather than the fourth day. This will be paid as per your usual salary payment cycles.

If you have COVID-19 or are advised to stay at home, you can get an ‘isolation note’ by visiting NHS 111 online, rather than visiting a doctor.

If you are not eligible for SSP, your employer must give you a form SSP1 explaining why, and you can make a claim for Universal Credit.

· Coronavirus Self-employment Income Support Scheme – a taxable grant will be paid to the self-employed or partnerships (trading for at least 1 year), worth 80% of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month. This will be available for three months in one lump-sum payment and will start to be paid from the beginning of June. HMRC will identify those eligible and will invite applications.

In the meantime, the self-employed can apply for ESA If you are ill or self-isolating or looking after a child who is ill or self-isolating. If you have less than £16,000 in savings and low income you may qualify for Universal Credit and Council Tax Support whilst you wait for your Self-employed Income Support Grant.

· Universal Credit – If you are not currently in receipt of any benefits and/or have been made redundant or your earnings have been reduced, you can make an online claim for Universal Credit for help with living expenses and rent. Due to Coronavirus, you will not need to go to the Jobcentre, and you can request an UC Advance payment, which is a loan payable via deductions in your monthly entitlements. (See Council Tax)

· New Style ESA: If you are yourself sick with coronavirus or are self-isolating because a member of your household is sick, you may be able to get New Style Employment and Support Allowance. People who need to claim ESA because of Coronavirus will NOT be required to produce a Fit Note. However, you can NOT claim ESA whilst still on SSP.

· New Style JSA – If you are not able to work because of the need to maintain social distancing, and/or are not able to work because you have to look after your children, you will not be treated as unwell.

If you have been working and have paid National Insurance contributions between April 2017 and April 2019, you may be able to claim New Style Jobseekers Allowance in addition to the Universal Credit.

· Council Tax Reduction – If you claim Universal Credit, you must still make a separate claim for Council Tax Reduction from the council online. If you are the only adult living in your property, remember to apply for a council tax Single Person Discount too.


I don’t want to make a claim to Universal Credit, can I just make a claim Housing Benefit because I am on Tax Credits already?

All new claims for housing costs (rent) now go through the Universal Credit system, so applying for HB is not an option for new claimants.

I am currently on benefits; do I need to report any change of circumstances?

· Housing Benefit: If you already claiming HB, report your change of circumstances to Bradford council URGENTLY and you may get more money towards your rent.

· Council Tax – Report change of circumstances to Bradford council benefits department and you may qualify for extra support.

· Universal Credit: you will need to tell them of the change of circumstances via your online journal.

Is there any support available through Manningham Housing Association?

· If you are worried about falling into arrears, please speak to our Income Team as soon as you can.

· If you require individual benefits advice, ask to speak to Faisal Khan, our Welfare Benefits & Financial Support Officer.

· You can contact the team on 01274 771144. We are here to help and support you.

Useful contacts

See what support you might get http://policyinpractice.co.uk/your-income-and-coronavirus-covid-19/ Benefit check: https://betteroffcalculator.co.uk/free What is Universal Credit: https://www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/

Universal Credit helpline: 0800 328 5644 Universal Credit – new applications: https://www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit Universal Credit – report changes: https://www.gov.uk/sign-in-universal-credit – make a note on your journal

Bradford Council Housing Benefit department: 01274 43 27 72

Bradford Council – report change of circumstances online: https://www.bradford.gov.uk/benefits/report-a-change-in-your-circumstances/tell-us-about-a-change-in-your-circumstances/ Bradford Council – Council Tax Reduction https://www.bradford.gov.uk/benefits/applying-for-benefits/housing-benefit-and-council-tax-reduction/

Tax Credits Helpline: 0345 300 3900

Citizens Advice (Bradford): 0344 245 1282

Citizen Advice UC Helpline: 0800 144 8 444

Step Change for debt advice: 0800 138 1111