INFORMATION FOR INDIVIDUALS regarding further benefits

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    INFORMATION FOR INDIVIDUALS regarding further benefits :

    If you think you are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), please read the following information:
    You can get £94.25 per week Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if you’re too ill to work. It’s paid by your employer for up to 28 weeks. If you are self-isolating because of COVID-19: From 13 March, you can now claim SSP. This includes individuals who are caring for people self-isolating in the same household and therefore have been advised to do a household quarantine. To check your sick pay entitlement, you should talk to your employer, and visit https://www.gov.uk/statutory-sick-pay for more information.
    • When does SSP apply? The government is legislating for SSP to be paid from day 1, rather than day 4, of your absence from work if you are absent from work due to sickness or need to self-isolate caused by COVID-19. Once the legislation has been passed, this will apply retrospectively from 13 March. You should talk to your employer if you are eligible for SSP and need to claim.
    • Do I need a sick note? From Friday 20 March onwards, those who have COVID-19 or are advised to self-isolate will be able to obtain an “isolation note” by visiting NHS 111 online and completing an online form, rather than visiting a doctor. For COVID-19 cases this replaces the usual need to provide a “fit note” after seven days of sickness absence. Isolation notes will also be accepted by Jobcentre Plus as evidence of your inability to attend.
    If you think you may need financial support from your Local Authority in England, you may be entitled to support from the £500 million Hardship Fund:
    • Most of this funding will be used to provide more Council Tax relief, either through existing Local Council Tax Support schemes, or through similar measures.
    • The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) will set out more detail on this funding, including allocations, shortly.
    • If you have any questions, please contact your Local Authority. If you are experiencing financial difficulties meeting your mortgage repayments because of COVID-19, you may be entitled to a mortgage or rental holiday for 3 months. This includes if you are a landlord whose tenants are experiencing financial difficulties because of COVID-19. If you are a tenant experiencing financial difficulties because of COVID-19, the government will ensure you do not face the threat of eviction for at least 3 months:
    • The government has agreed with mortgage lenders that they will offer repayment holidays of 3 months to households in financial difficulty due to COVID-19.
    • This will also apply to landlords whose tenants are experiencing financial difficulties because of COVID-19.
    • The offer of a payment holiday can be made available to customers who are up to date with payments and not already in arrears.
    • Customers who are concerned about their current financial situation should contact their lender at the earliest possible opportunity to discuss if this is a suitable option for them.
    • Emergency legislation will be taken forward so that landlords will not be able to start proceedings to evict tenants for at least a 3 month period. This applies to private and social renters.
    • At the end of this period, landlords and tenants will be expected to work together to establish an affordable repayment plan, taking into account tenants’ individual circumstances. If you are experiencing difficulties paying back personal loans or credit card bills as a result of COVID-19, you should read the following information:
    • The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) called on lenders to use flexibility built into their rules to support consumers, taking into account customers’ individual circumstances. Many major lenders have already made statements to this effect.
    • If you are experiencing difficulties paying back loans or credit card bills because of COVID19, you should talk to your lender.
    • If you agree a payment holiday with your lender, they should record these in such a way that will not impact on your credit score.

    What you can claim after finishing work depends on your National Insurance record.
    You may be able to claim contribution-based (or ‘new-style’) jobseeker’s allowance if you have paid enough National Insurance contributions. However, if you haven’t paid enough contributions or you need extra support in addition to contribution-based jobseeker’s allowance then the main system of support for people making new claims is universal credit (UC). Universal credit is a means-tested benefit and is a non-contributory benefit – meaning it doesn’t matter whether you have paid National Insurance contributions.
    Universal credit is gradually replacing six other means-tested benefits and payments: working tax credit; child tax credit; income support; income-based jobseeker’s allowance; income-related employment and support allowance; and housing benefit. We refer to these below as ‘legacy benefits’.
    Do I have to be out of work to claim universal credit?
    No, you don’t have to be out of work to claim universal credit. Many people claim universal credit while they are working and there is no upper limit to the number of hours you can work, although your earnings will usually reduce the amount of your award and sometimes they will reduce it to nil.

    How does universal credit work?
    Universal credit is a monthly benefit, calculated and paid in arrears, which means that the amount you get is worked out on your circumstances and the income you have received in the previous month. The previous month is called the ‘assessment period’ and it runs for a calendar month from the date you make your claim (although there are some special rules if you make your claim at the end of a month – on the 29th, 30th or 31st). For example, if a claim for universal credit is made on 17 October, the assessment period will be 17 October to 16 November and your circumstances and income received during that period will be used to set your universal credit award for that month.
    Does it matter when I claim after I finish work?
    The date you make your claim is important – it sets the start of your entitlement to universal credit and it also sets the monthly assessment period.
    The importance of exactly when to claim is likely to be different for different people. You may need to make your claim as soon as possible, to get things rolling and get access to financial support. But if you have just finished working and are waiting for your final wage payment, claiming straightaway might mean you receive no universal credit or a reduced amount of universal credit for your first assessment period, as explained below.
    How does my final pay/wages affect my first universal credit award?
    Your final payment from your employer might include other payments such as some accrued holiday pay or pay in lieu of notice. These amounts are also treated as earned income for universal credit, as well as your last wage/salary payment.
    Redundancy pay is treated as capital for universal credit purposes so will only affect your award if such a payment takes your savings (capital) over £6,000.
    If you think you will receive your last pay/wages after you have claimed universal credit and this therefore falls into your first universal credit assessment period, you need to remember that it could reduce your expected universal credit award substantially – even to nil.
    How long does it take to get universal credit?
    In theory, it should take approximately five weeks from the date you claim universal credit to your first payment – that is the assessment period of one month, and one week for processing. The latest information from DWP shows they pay in the region of over 80% of new claims on time.

    It can take a little longer as you may need to attend an identity interview (many people don’t manage to complete the identity check in the online claim process) and you will usually need to attend a universal credit interview with a DWP job coach to agree your claimant commitment and discuss any other aspects of your claim.
    This has been changed to telephone interviews/ internet appointments for the foreseeable future due to the Coronavirus spread.