We know that this is a difficult time for so many people who have been affected by the impact of Coronavirus. There are lots of schemes and benefits available to help.
- Furlough scheme extended until end September 2021
The furlough scheme has been extended until the end of September 2021
You DON'T need to have been furloughed before to take part. However you do need to have been on your employer's PAYE payroll on 30 October to be eligible. And, if you were made redundant or left your job since 23 September, you could be rehired and furloughed.
- For any furlough claims up until 30 April 2021 you need to have been on your employer's PAYE payroll on, or before, 30 October 2020 to be eligible.
- For any furlough claims from 1 May 2021 until the end of September 2021 you need to have been on your employer's PAYE payroll on 2 March 2021 to be eligible.
- One-off £500 payment for eligible working households receiving tax credits
The Government have introduced a new one-off £500 payment for working households receiving tax credits.
This payment is to provide extra support as the temporary increase in Working Tax Credit (WTC), introduced at the start of the pandemic, ended on 5 April 2021.
You may be eligible if, on 2 March 2021, you were receiving either:
- Working Tax Credit (WTC)
- Child Tax Credit and were eligible for WTC but did not get a payment because their income is too high to get WTC payments
Eligible households will be notified by HMRC and should automatically receive their payment by 23 April.
PLEASE be vigilant about scams, which may mimic HMRC messages.
- Universal Credit and employment benefits
If you experience financial difficulties as a result of Coronavirus please get in touch.
We are here to help so we can all get through this together.
Benefits you may be entitled to
If you have lost your job or are working reduced hours you may be able to claim:
- Universal Credit
- New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance (New Style JSA)
- New Style Employment and Support Allowance (New Style ESA)
- Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
New Style JSA and New Style ESA can be claimed on their own or at the same time as Universal Credit, so it may be a good idea to apply for Universal Credit anyway, particularly if you pay rent or have children to support.
Please note that depending on your circumstances it may not always be the best option to claim Universal Credit and we would urge you to get advice before making a claim.
Benefits checker and calculator
The government have launched a new benefits checking tool to help people get a quick idea of what financial support they may be able to claim.
It takes a few minutes and doesn’t require detailed information, nor does it process or store personal data. It is an easy first step for anyone who is unsure whether they want to start a claim.
You can use other online benefits calculators to find out what benefits you might be entitled to.
- Working from home FOR EVEN ONE DAY during coronavirus?
If your employer requires you to work at home during the 2021/22 tax year (6 April 2021 to 5 April 2022), EVEN FOR ONE DAY you could be eligible to claim tax relief on £6 per week – that’s worth £1.20 to you a week.
And, if you haven't already, you can still claim for a full years relied for the 2019/2020 tax year. Again your employer only needs to have requested you to work from home for one day in the year!
- Self-employment grants extended again
Self employment grants
The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) has been extended again, with another additional grant, making five grants in total.
Crucially, for the first time since the scheme launched, the SEISS scope now includes 2019/20 tax returns.
For all the grants you need to have been adversely affected by coronavirus during the period the grant is running for.
- Are you or your child self-isolating and you can't work from home?
The government has announced a £500 Test and Trace Support payment for people claiming qualifying benefits or working tax credit, who are required to self-isolate to avoid coronavirus transmission.
It's limited to people unable to work from home during isolation and you can claim up to 42 days after the first day of your self-isolation period.
Since 8 March 2021, if you're the parent or guardian of a child who has been told to self-isolate, so cannot attend school, and you're required to stay at home to look after them, you could be eligible for the support payment.
The payment will be administered by local authorities and you will need to apply to them.
Contact your local authority to find out if you’re eligible and how to apply.
- Free school meals and food parcels
School meals should be available free of charge to:
- all infant pupils
- pupils who meet the benefits-related free school meals eligibility criteria
If children entitled to benefits-related free school meals are self-isolating at home, schools should work with their school catering team or food provider to provide good quality lunch parcels. This will ensure that eligible pupils continue to be supported for the short period where they are unable to attend school.
- Expired driving licences extended by 11 months
Photocard licences that expire between 1 February and 31 December 2020 have been extended for 11 months from the date of expiry. The temporary extension is automatic, and drivers do not need to do anything.