The information relating to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is being updated at a rapid rate, and so, rather than keep re-writing the information on my website, here are links to reputable sources of advice.
The Government’s official advice can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response
It includes guidance for employers and businesses, stay-at-home guidance, travel advice and advice for health professionals.
Guidance on social distancing: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people/guidance-on-social-distancing-for-everyone-in-the-uk-and-protecting-older-people-and-vulnerable-adults
For health advice sheets in different languages (Albanian, Amharic, Arabic, Bengali, Dari, English, Farsi, French, Hindi, Kurdish, Malayalam, Mandarin, Pashto, Portuguese, Somali, Spanish, Tigrinya, Turkish, Urdu and Vietnamese), please click here: https://www.doctorsoftheworld.org.uk/coronavirus-information/
Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK – “a group of volunteers supporting local community groups organising mutual aid throughout the Covid-19 outbreak in the UK. We focus on providing resources and connecting people to their nearest local groups, willing volunteers and those in need.” – https://covidmutualaid.org/
Offering support from your business – Use this service to tell us how your business might be able to help with the response to coronavirus. – https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-support-from-business
Advice relating to healthcare
Government Whatsapp service: 07860064422
MIND ‘Coronavirus and your wellbeing’: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing
Advice relating to employment, businesses and benefits
ACAS – information for advice for employers and employees: https://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus
Health & Safety Executive: https://www.hse.gov.uk/news/coronavirus.htm
Information Commissioner: https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/data-protection-and-coronavirus/
Coronavirus and claiming benefits: https://www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/coronavirus/
Federation of Small Businesses: https://www.fsb.org.uk/campaign/covid19.html
Coronavirus support for employees, benefit claimants and businesses: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-support-for-employees-benefit-claimants-and-businesses
Coronavirus Financial Support for employers, self-employed and employees: https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-support/
Turn2Us – Benefits and Coronavirus: https://www.turn2us.org.uk/get-support/Benefits-and-Coronavirus-new
Workers who are on 67 per cent of their full wages can claim extra money to help out. Under the Job Support Scheme, those unable to work due to closures will be paid 67 per cent of their full monthly wage – up to a maximum of £2,100 per employee per month.
The grants will begin on 1 November – and will replace the furlough scheme which ends that day. If you are affected by this your company will arrange the 67pc payment for you. If Tier 3 restrictions affect your pay, you may be eligible to apply for Universal Credit.
Who is eligible for Universal Credit?
You may be able to get Universal Credit if:
- You’re on a low income or out of work
- You’re 18 or over (there are some exceptions if you’re 16 to 17)
- You’re under State Pension age (or your partner is)
- You and your partner have £16,000 or less in savings between you
- You live in the UK
The number of children you have does not affect your eligibility for Universal Credit, but it may affect how much you get. Use a benefits calculator (https://www.gov.uk/benefits-calculators) to check what benefits you could get if you’re not eligible for Universal Credit. Your partner’s income and savings will be taken into account, even if they are not eligible for Universal Credit.
What you’ll get
Your Universal Credit payment is made up of a standard allowance and any extra amounts that apply to you, for example if you:
•Have a disability or health condition which prevents you from working
•Need help paying your rent
How your earnings affect your payments
If you’re employed, how much Universal Credit you get will depend on your earnings. Your Universal Credit payment will reduce gradually as you earn more – for every £1 you earn your payment reduces by 63p. There’s no limit to how many hours you can work. You can earn a certain amount before your Universal Credit is reduced if you or your partner are either:
- Responsible for a child or young person
- Living with a disability or health condition (https://www.gov.uk/health-conditions-disability-universal-credit) that affects your ability to work
This is called a ‘work allowance’. Your work allowance is lower if you get help with housing costs.
How Universal Credit is paid
Universal Credit is paid once a month, usually into your bank, building society or credit union account.
Your payment can include an amount for housing, which you’ll usually need to pay to your landlord. If you’re not able to open a bank, building society or credit union account, call the Universal Credit helpline (https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit/contact-universal-credit) to arrange a different way of getting paid.
After the first payment, you’ll be paid on the same date of every month. If your payment date is on a weekend or a bank holiday you’ll usually be paid on the working day before. You’ll get a monthly statement that tells you how much Universal Credit you’re going to get.
If you’re paid once a month on the same date and nothing changes in your earnings, then your Universal Credit amount should stay the same. Your Universal Credit can be affected if you receive more than one set of wages during some assessment periods. This could happen if:
- You’re paid weekly, every 2 weeks or every 4 weeks
- Your monthly payment date changes, for example you get paid on the last working day of each month
This means your earnings might be too high for Universal Credit. You’ll be told if they are and whether you’ll need to reapply to continue to get Universal Credit.
What you need to apply
- Your bank, building society or credit union account details (call the Universal Credit helpline if you do not have one)
- An email address
- Information about your housing, for example how much rent you pay
- Details of your income, for example payslips
- Details of savings and any investments, like shares or a property that you rent out
- Details of how much you pay for childcare if you’re applying for help with childcare costs
If you do not provide the right information when you apply it might affect when you get paid or how much you get. You also have to verify your identity online. You’ll need some proof of identity for this, for example your:
- Driving licence
- Debit or credit card
Guidance for schools, childcare providers, colleges and local authorities in England on maintaining educational provision: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision
Local advice and organisations
Rochdale Borough Council: http://www.rochdale.gov.uk/health-and-wellbeing/Pages/coronavirus.aspx
Rochdale Action Together: https://www.actiontogether.org.uk/
Coronavirus hardship fund for musicians: https://www.helpmusicians.org.uk/news/latest-news/help-musicians-launches-5m-coronavirus-financial-hardship-fu
Foreign Office Travel Advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
Utility Companies and Energy Consumption
British Gas: https://www.britishgas.co.uk/covid19
Scottish Power: https://www.scottishpower.com/news/pages/covid_19_update.aspx
Shell Energy: https://www.shellenergy.co.uk/service
United Utilities: https://www.unitedutilities.com/Coronavirus-update/
National Energy Action (NEA) runs the Warm and Safe Homes Advice Service which provides help to people who are struggling with their energy bills, as well as benefit advice and claim support.
If you are struggling with energy bills, as well as benefit advice and claim support, you can complete a National Energy Action (NEA) online referral form at www.nea.org.uk/advice/wash-advice
People who need support with benefits checks and claims can also call the NEA dedicated phone number 0800 138 8218.
NEA have also created some new resources for those who may be struggling with their energy bills. These are available at https://www.nea.org.uk/advice/help-during-the-covid-19-period
Banks, Building Societies and Money
Bank of Scotland: https://www.bankofscotland.co.uk/helpcentre/coronavirus.html
Bradford and Bingley: https://www.bbg.co.uk/personal-support
Money Advice Service: https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en
Royal Bank of Scotland: https://personal.rbs.co.uk/personal/support-centre/coronavirus.html