Covid-19 Measures for individuals

Blog Posts

Daniel McAllister | 19th March 2020

Covid-19 Measures for individuals

We have pulled together a round-up of the key Coronavirus announcements so far for individuals including useful links to government sites.

Mortgage holidays

For people who find themselves in financial difficulties because of coronavirus, mortgage lenders will offer at least a three-month mortgage holiday.

Statutory sick pay (SSP)

SSP is currently paid at the rate of £94.25 a week, rising to £95.85 from April. It is now available to employees from day one, instead of day four, for those who are suffering from the virus or who have been advised to self-isolate. So far there has been no change in the minimum earnings threshold for SSP (£118 a week currently, rising to £120 a week in 2020/21).

Individuals ineligible for SSP

Self-employed and gig economy workers generally do not qualify for SSP. Instead they may be entitled to Contributory Employment and Support Allowance (ESA – a basic £73.10 a week for those 25 and over, rising to £74.35 in 2020/21).

Covid-19 sufferers and self-isolators will be able to claim the benefit from day one instead of day eight. The minimum income floor in Universal Credit (UC) has been temporarily removed to ensure that time off work because of sickness is reflected in benefits,.

Hardship Fund

The Chancellor announced in the Budget a £500 million Hardship Fund, which would be distributed to Local Authorities so that they could support the vulnerable.

Outstanding debts

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 COVID-19, 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

Additional support

On 17 March the Chancellor announced that he was developing “new forms of employment support to help protect people’s jobs and incomes”. More information should emerge in the coming days.

 

Government guidance for employees is here.