Information and schemes
If you need to self isolate or cannot attend work due to coronavirus – Guidance for employers and workers on work absences due to coronavirus (COVID-19).
You should work from home unless it is impossible for you to do so.
However certain jobs will require people to travel to their place of work – for instance work in construction or manufacturing or delivering front line services. See the full guidance on going to work here.
Whether you are currently in or out of work, if you are on a low income and affected by the economic impacts of Coronavirus (COVID-19), you will be able to access the full range of the welfare system, including Universal Credit.
From 6 April the Universal Credit and the basic element in Working Tax Credit will increase by £20 per week on top of planned annual uprating, for just one year. This will apply to all new and existing Universal Credit claimants and to existing Working Tax Credit claimants.
If you have Coronavirus (COVID-19) or are staying at home, you are now able to claim Universal Credit by applying online, and if required can access advance payments upfront without needing to attend a job centre. More details are here on how to claim Universal Credit
Support for rent costs
Support for rental costs will be paid through Universal Credit. From April, the government are increasing Local Housing Allowance rates to the 30th percentile of market rents. This applies to all private renters who are new or existing Universal Credit housing element claimants and to existing Housing Benefit claimants. You can check your eligibility for Universal Credit
What to do if you have symptoms
If you have symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home and do not leave your house for 7 days from when the symptoms started. If you live with others and you are the first to have symptoms of Coronavirus, then all other household members who remain well must not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill.
See the stay at home guidance for more information.
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
If you are staying at home because of sickness or quarantine due to Coronavirus (COVID-19), you can now claim SSP. This includes individuals who are caring for people in the same household and therefore must also undertake a household quarantine. To check your sick pay entitlement or to make a claim, you should talk to your employer, or visit the Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) page for more information.
Proof of sickness
If you have Coronavirus (COVID-19) or are advised to stay at home, you can get an ‘isolation note’ by visiting NHS 111 online, rather than visiting a doctor. This replaces the ‘fit note’ (sick note) needed after 7 days of sickness absence.
If you are not eligible for SSP
If you are not eligible for SSP – for example earning below £118 per week – and you have Coronavirus (COVID-19) or are advised to stay at home, you can now make a claim for Universal Credit or new style Employment and Support Allowance.
Employment and Support Allowance, is payable from day 1 of sickness if you have Coronavirus (COVID-19) or are advised to stay at home.
National Careers Service
Provides free, professional and impartial advice on getting a new job, changing careers, training, education and the labour market; support which is available to anyone aged 18 and over and living in England. To access the service, phone 0800 100 900.
Free online skills training
Adults, including furloughed workers at home due to the coronavirus lockdown, are being offered free online courses in digital skills. The training is focused on improving skills for online jobs in the expectation more people will be working remotely. The Skills Toolkit, launched by the Department for Education is a collection of training resources to help those in lockdown to acquire jobs skills for when more businesses reopen:
- The Open University is providing courses on basic maths and how to write computer code
- Futurelearn is offering courses in digital skills and producing online content
- Google has a course in digital marketing
- Digital-inclusion charity the Good Things Foundation has resources to help people get started online
The charity Mind provide advice on how to support your mental wellbeing during this difficult period. The Mind website includes practical advice on coping with staying at home and updates on how the new coronavirus laws could affect your rights. There is also useful information for any young person who is currently struggling.
Contact the debt charity Step Change to get expert debt advice and fee-free debt management to help you tackle your debts.
You can find out more on their website or phone 0800 138 1111
Step Up Somerset
Step Up Somerset is a one-stop-shop website which provides support for individuals who are job hunting, seeking training in new industries or working to strengthen their skills. It provides details of employment and skills services and resources.
If you find yourself at risk of or being made redundant you can find a full range of support including help with reskilling, financial assistance and wellbeing information.
For anyone without internet access, further one-to-one help can also be provided via a single phone helpline on 0300 790 6275