The effect of the pandemic is widespread with many people losing their jobs, receiving reduced pay or becoming unwell. Whilst the unexpected change to your household income may have left you struggling there is financial support available to help families in England.
We outline the current financial support for families suffering due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The furlough scheme is designed to prevent your employer from making you redundant. From 1 November 2020, your employer can claim 80% of your usual salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. Your employer is responsible for claiming through the scheme on your behalf and for paying you what you’re entitled to. You cannot apply for the scheme yourself.
Firstly the change in your income may mean that you qualify for a council tax reduction, especially if your income has reduced recently.
You should contact your local council to see;
- if you qualify for a council tax reduction or if you are struggling to pay whether you can make a new payment arrangement
You can find your local council on GOV.UK.
Help with your Mortgage
If you are a homeowner with a mortgage and are struggling to make your repayments, you should speak to your mortgage provider about the support that they are able to provide to you.
Payment deferrals were available for up to three months but the date to request these was by 31 October 2020, you should however still speak to your lender as Government guidance encourages lenders to support borrowers as much as possible.
If you are struggling to pay your gas, electric, water or other household bills then you should contact your supplier as soon as possible to request help.
Yorkshire Water for example provides a support scheme to reduce payments for those on a low income can find more information here
If you’re struggling with debt there are free debt advice services available nationwide to help you.
You may also be able to find help from your local Citizens Advice Bureau.
You can use the Governments childcare cost calculator to find financial support.
The ‘Trussell Trust’ can help you find a food bank in the UK
Free School Meals
You can apply for free School meals here.
Help if you become homeless
The council must usually provide emergency housing if they think you have nowhere safe to stay and that you may be in priority need.
Priority need means:
- you have children with you
- you’re pregnant
- you’re a care leaver under 21
- something else makes you vulnerable
You’re likely to be vulnerable if you’re at higher risk of serious illness from coronavirus because of underlying health conditions or your age.
Benefits and Credits
If your income has reduced or you have no income at all then you can make a claim for Universal Credit.
Universal Credit has replaced a number of other benefits including Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Housing Benefit and Tax Credits. It has grouped all of these benefits together so that you make one claim and receive one monthly payment, which includes a payment for you to meet your living costs and a payment for your housing.
Due to the benefits and credits that are covered by Universal Credit you may be entitled to receive a payment even if you are working full time, this is because you may be entitled to Tax Credits which are covered by Universal Credit.
Information on how to make a claim for Universal Credit can be found here.
You can also find more information on potential benefits that can support you and your family by using the Governments benefits calculator.
Our specialist Benefits and Credits team are also happy to help and can be contacted by email or telephone.
If you have nowhere to live or if your current accommodation is unreasonable for you to continue to live in then you may be able to make a homeless application to the Council and receive help with rehousing.
You can apply for support with housing by finding your local council here.
Our specialist Housing Team may also be able to provide you with free help and advice.
To contact any of our specialist teams for further advice and assistance you can email, [email protected], visit our website or call us on;
Sheffield: 0114 249 66 66
Barnsley: 0122 680 51 90
Rotherham: 0170 936 40 00
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