The short video below will take you through the steps you need to make a claim for Universal Credit:
Are you worried about how coronavirus will affect your money?
Our Money Advice team have put together a summary to try to help you.
This information will be constantly reviewed so please check back for updates.
If you would like to talk to someone in more detail, please call 029 2046 8493 or send a WhatsApp message to 0796 662 5678 and we’ll call you back.
REMEMBER – If you are following government guidance because you have coronavirus symptoms, or if you are self-isolating because you have been in contact with someone who has symptoms, you are considered unfit for work.
The government have announced they will pay employees’ wages through the coronavirus job retention scheme, if the business is forced to temporarily close. This is available to anyone who was registered on the PAYE scheme from 28th February 2020. Your employer will have to apply online through the GOV.uk website.
If you have already lost your job, contact your employer and ask whether they will be able to reassign you as a furloughed worker.
If you have already made a claim for benefits, please contact the benefit department directly for advice.
If you are employed and need to take time off work, you should be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from the first day you are off work. You need to speak to your employer about this. If you earn at least £118 a week (£120 from April 2020) you are eligible for SSP of £94.25 per week (£95.85 from April 2020) for up to 28 weeks, paid from the first day you are off sick
This also applies if you are on zero hours contract.
If you have a problem claiming SSP you can contact the HM Revenue and Customs team on 03000 560 630
If you’ve been asked to take unpaid leave, you may be eligible for Guarantee Pay. Visit www.gov.uk/lay-offs-short-timeworking for more information.
The government have announced protection for people who are self-employed. You need to have completed a tax return for 2018/2019, so does not apply for people who became self-employed after April 2019. Visit https://www.gov.uk/government/news/chancellor-gives-support-to-millions-of-self-employed-individuals for more information.
If you are self-employed you are not eligible for SSP.
However, if you are unfit for work, you can claim New Style Employment & Support Allowance (ESA), or Universal Credit. You do not need to provide a Fit for Work note in order to claim.
To make a claim for ESA, call the Jobcentre Plus 0800 169 0350 or download an ESA1 form from www.gov.uk
The best way to apply for Universal Credit is to apply online for Universal Credit www.universal-credit.service.gov.uk. The helpline on 0800 328 5644 but there may be a long way.
If you are well, but your work has stopped due to coronavirus, you can claim Universal Credit. You (and your partner) have to have less than £16,000 in savings. The amount you are entitled to depends on your circumstances, for example, whether you have housing costs or children. Use an online benefit calculator to see how much you could get.
If you’re worried about paying your business tax, you can call the HMRC Coronavirus helpline on 0800 024 1222. The government have announced that the next Self Assessment tax return payment has been suspended until January 2021.
The basic allowance of Universal Credit has been increased by a £1,000 per year for the next 12 months. This means an increase per week of £20.00 from 6th April 2020, for all new and existing Universal Credit Claims, and Working Tax Credit.
If you are claiming UC and are unable to work you must let your work coach know. Your claimant commitment will be reviewed but you will not face sanctions if you are advised to self-isolate.
If you are staying home as a result of coronavirus will not be expected to look for work.
The Job Centre have advised that you won’t be expected to attend any face-to-face appointments. Instead they may complete telephone interviews with you.
If you are making a new claim for Universal Credit, you will be asked to complete a phone interview to complete your claim. You do not need to call the Job Centre, they will call you. You shouldn’t delay making a claim for Universal Credit, but you may be able to backdate your claim if the delay was due to coronavirus.
Working Tax Credits
If you receive Working Tax credits, and have seen your hours reduce, or have been temporarily laid off, you do not need to report this change to HMRC. However, if there is a permanent change to your working hours, you should advise HMRC as soon as possible. Visit https://www.litrg.org.uk/latest-news/news/200331-how-do-work-changes-affect-tax-credits for further information.
If you were waiting for a face-to-face medical assessment for Personal Independence Payment, Employment & Support Allowance, or Universal Credit, these have been suspended until at least the middle of June. You may have to have a phone interview instead. Your payments will not be affected.
This includes any new claims to Personal Independence Payment, Employment & Support Allowance, and Universal Credit.
There will be no new reviews or reassessments for disability benefits for three months. If your benefit was due to end, the DWP have extended end dates to ensure your money is not affected at this time.
If you receive Carer’s Allowance and you are unable to provide that care, due to yourself or the person you care from having Coronavirus or having to isolate because of it, you will continue to receive your CA payments. The DWP have also announced that providing emotional care will now count towards the 35 hours of care needed to be eligible for CA.
Access to Cardiff Council Hubs are now by appointment only. If you need to contact Cardiff Council for advice about housing and benefits, you need to call the Council’s Advice number on 029 2087 1071 to make an appointment.
The Housing Options and Homelessness Service will now be available by appointment only.
You should call on 029 2057 0750 or email Housingoptionscentre@cardiff.gov.uk to make an appointment.
Money & Bills
If you are self-isolating and have no support networks, Cardiff Council’s Advice Line can help you. Call 029 2087 1071.
Free School Meals
The Free School Meal provision is changing to a voucher from Monday 6th April. If your children are currently receiving free school meals you will be sent a downloadable voucher for use in Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Marks & Spencer and Waitrose. If you need further help please contact Cardiff Council on 029 20537250.
Banks & Building Societies & Credit Cards
Some banks, building societies and lenders have already announced what they will be doing to help people who are affected. If you’re worried about going into an overdraft or direct debits bouncing, you should contact your bank to find out what they can help with. Credit card companies are also making changes, such as waiving fees for missed payments or offering payment holidays. Many banks are also offering loan repayment holidays.
Gas & Electric
Your energy supplier may be able to send you emergency credit to top up your prepayment meter to help you if you are self-isolating. You should contact them as soon as possible.
If you have a standard credit meter, your supplier may be able to help by changing your bill due date, offering alternative payment arrangements, or removing debt charges for late payment
The energy suppliers have said that disconnection of credit meters will be completely suspended during this time.
Please see the bottom of this page for a list of energy suppliers and their contact details if you need to contact them.
If you are worried about any other bills, it is a good idea to contact your provider directly and ask what they are doing to help people. Here are few things providers have already announced –
• Sky Sports will allow customers to ‘pause’ their subscriptions.
• Gym memberships can also be frozen for a month
• Over-75 TV licence charges delayed until August
• Sky Mobile customers will get an extra 10GB data boost for free until April
• Virgin Mobile are providing unlimited minutes to mobile and landline numbers, and 10GB data boost
• Sky Talk are providing free calls to landlines until April
Useful Websites and Telephone Numbers
Turn2Us www.turn2us.org.uk Benefit calculator
Money Advice Service www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk Government resource
Citizens Advice www.citizensadvice.org.uk 03444 111 444
Age Cymru www.ageuk.org.uk/cymru 08000 223 444
Government website www.gov.uk
Universal Credit https://www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/ 0800 328 5644
Energy Supplier Contact List
Below is a list of supplier with their contact details on in case you need to contact them to discuss any account queries.
SSE– pay as you go meter help and support – 03450260677
SSE – Customer services – 03450262658
BRITISH GAS -Smart pay as you go- 03332029862
BRITISH GAS – Customer Service – 03332029802
UTILITA – 03452072000
UTILITY WAREHOUSE – 03337770777
NPOWER – 08000733000
TOTAL GAS AND POWER – 03330037874
OPUS ENERGY – 01604497154
EON – 03450520000
EDF – 03332005100(1)
ENGIE – 08009995080
SCOTTISH POWER – 08000270072
OCTOPUS ENERGY – 08081641088
OVO ENERGY – 01179303100
BULB – 03003030635