Lost your job due to coronavirus? Here’s where to get help

There are ways to get financial support if you've lost your job or are suddenly out of work. We've rounded up some key resources here.

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Losing your job is a shock, there’s no doubt about it. But know that you’re not alone and that there is support out there for you.

We’ve put together a list of ways that you can get help, in the hope that it’ll make these tough times a little easier. We’re updating the information as quickly as we can, but as policies can change fast, please check directly with government sources or your provider before acting.

Take advantage of Universal Credit

If you’re out of work or on a reduced income because your employer has temporarily or permanently closed, you can apply for Universal Credit. With many businesses being forced to shut under government instruction, some may be unable to pay their staff. In this case, under the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, employees who are furloughed will have 80% of their wage funded by the government from 20th April 2020. The government plans to pay employers directly who will then distribute wages accordingly.

If you are self-employed and cannot work because your means of income has been affected by lockdowns and social distancing measures or you’ve become ill due to coronavirus, you can apply for a grant that will cover 80% of your average monthly profits up to £2,500, which will come into effect in June 2020. If you receive support from this scheme, you can continue to work, if possible. In the meantime, between now and June 2020 you can apply for Universal Credit.

Am I eligible for support if I have savings?

Yes. However, it depends on how much you have in the bank. Those who have over a certain threshold may not be eligible for Universal Credit.

Am I eligible if my partner is still working?

This will depend on your joint income. There are different criteria for evaluating relationships and welfare payments. This can influence the size of the payments you receive, and the amount could fall to nothing if your partner’s income is high enough.

See if you’re eligible for resources from the government’s stimulus package

The government is stepping up to protect residents who are out of work due to the coronavirus outbreak. While the exact resources you might qualify for will depend on your situation, you may be eligible for Universal Credit or Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). There are also mortgage holidays and an eviction ban to those who are most affected by the coronavirus.

Are you out of a job because you’re sick or caring for someone who is sick?

If you’re out of work because you caught COVID-19, have to self-isolate or need to care for a loved one, there are ways to get financial support. You may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). If you are eligible, your employer will pay you £94.25 per week for up to 28 weeks if you are too ill to work. If you don’t qualify for SSP then you can apply for Universal Credit.

Keep communication open with your employer

If you’re out of work because your employer has temporarily or permanently closed, stay in touch with them. To get the Job Seekers Allowance, you’re typically required to pick up any hours offered and continue to look for work. You should also ask about any sick leave policies or work-from-home options that may be available to you during quarantine or self-isolation.

Make a workers compensation claim

If you catch coronavirus (COVID-19) as a result of your work, you may be entitled to workers compensation. While you’ll need to prove that your job played a significant role in you falling sick, it could help ease the financial burden.

This may be difficult for some jobs but if you can demonstrate a clear link, there is a chance you could receive financial help.

For example, your job may have involved travel to an area with a known outbreak, you might have been forced to interact with people who contracted coronavirus, or you may have held responsibilities that contravened the government’s recommendations.

Each claim will be considered on a case-by-case basis, but there is certainly a possibility that workers compensation could help many impacted workers.

Get free support and advice from specialist charities

If you’re struggling to pay your bills, you can get free advice from debt charities such as StepChange. These charities specialise in reviewing your income and spending with you, to help you create a budget. They can also help you find ways to pay off or write off your debts.

Consider quick income methods to keep you afloat

There are side-hustle options out there that can allow you to make some money without a lot of qualifications. If you’re concerned about coming in contact with other people, focus on things you can do online:

  • Do surveys for marketing companies
  • Do user testing on websites
  • Write content for businesses
  • Consider using apps to track your money and maximise savings

Contact your insurer

If you’re worried about your outgoings and want to limit your spending for a while, your insurer could help. Insurance companies will typically pause premiums in times of financial hardship, without enforcing a break in cover. Give your insurer a heads up if you think you might be out of a job soon and see if there’s assistance available.

If you have a life insurance policy and you’re concerned that your policy may not cover you if you’re one of the unfortunate people who die as a result of COVID-19, contact your insurer. Your policy should pay out, but every provider is different, so it’s worth calling your insurer to clarify this.

Do you have income protection insurance?

You may be able to claim on your income protection insurance if you meet your policy’s requirements, for example, holding your policy for a certain period of time or being out of work for a certain length of time.

Contact your insurance company immediately to find out if you would be covered in the event you lost your job. The insurer will be able to walk you through the process if you are eligible to make a claim.

Contact your bank or lender

Many lenders will also offer help if you’re facing financial hardship. You may be able to take a mortgage repayment holiday or pause payments on your personal loan or credit card.

Contact your bank and other lenders to see if they are willing to defer payments, waive interest, lower overdraft fees or offer other programs to help you while you’re unemployed due to COVID-19.

Contact your utility provider

Call your provider and ask to speak to a hardship officer. The officer may help you work out a plan to pay your bills in smaller instalments, or apply emergency utility vouchers. These vouchers can help you meet minimum payments. A number of utility providers are offering payment extension or payment plans to help you get on top of your payments.

Bottom line

Losing out on work because of COVID-19 is something that millions of Brits are facing together, but there are resources available to help. To stay up to date on the latest news, check out our guide to the coronavirus.

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