Coronavirus - managing your rent payments


Useful information about managing your rent payments during the coronavirus outbreak.

It’s important that you continue to pay your rent as we rely on this income to fund vital services, such as our mental health schemes, our care homes for older or vulnerable people, and essential repairs and maintenance. We do realise, however, that residents are being affected, especially if you're self-isolating and not able to work. Depending on what your circumstances are, you can find lots of useful information here. The most important thing is that we don't want you to panic - if you're worried, please get in touch as soon as you can so we can discuss your circumstances and offer you all the advice and support we can to get through this uncertain time. You can contact us on 0300 123 9966 or ask@onehousing.co.uk.

General employment and benefits advice

If you are affected by coronavirus or its effect on the economy, there is a wide range of support available. Visit these pages for information about the changes the government has brought in to support people who are already claiming benefits, need to claim benefits, or are at risk of losing their job as a result of coronavirus.

Universal Credit

The number of people claiming Universal Credit has increased significantly since lockdown began. If you haven't claimed before, you can find lots of information on the Universal Credit website. The Chancellor announced that the Universal Credit standard allowance is increasing for the next 12 months, by £1,000 a year. And the Working Tax Credit basic element by the same amount as well.

If you receive Universal Credit and you have a Jobcentre appointment but are staying at home on Government advice, or have been diagnosed with coronavirus, you will not be sanctioned if you tell the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) in good time. You must inform the DWP by updating your online journal or calling the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644. You can find out more information including any updates or changes in guidance on the Universal Credit website.

BSL interpreters providing free video relay service for Universal Credit claimants

Universal Credit claimants can now access British Sign Language interpreters as part of a free video relay service. The service can be used to help make a new claim or for those already claiming Universal Credit and is part of a package of measures put in place to provide quicker and easier access to benefits during the Coronavirus outbreak. The Video Relay Service (VRS), allows users to make BSL interpreted video calls via their tablet, smartphone, computer or laptop. A professional interpreter then relays the call in English to a member of DWP staff. You can find out more here.

I claim Working Tax Credits

Working Tax Credit payments will be increased by £1,045 to £3,040 per year from 6 April 2020 until 5 April 2021. The amount you will benefit from will depend on your circumstances, including your level of household income. But the increase could mean up to an extra £20 each week. If you claim Working Tax Credits, you don't have to take any action or contact HMRC - the increase in your payments will start from 6 April 2020. in your payments will start from 6 April 2020.

I work full/part time and am self-isolating

Depending on your employment contract and type of work, your income may be affected if you need to self-isolate as a result of the coronavirus. The Government has announced they have made changes to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) to ensure people in work can take the necessary time off to stay at home if they are suffering from coronavirus or to prevent its spread. They also announced they have made changes to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) to ensure people in work can take the necessary time off to stay at home if they are suffering from coronavirus or to prevent its spread.

This includes:

  • people who cannot work due to coronavirus and are eligible for Statutory Sick Pay will get it from day one, rather than from the fourth day of their illness.
  • Statutory Sick Pay will be payable to people who are staying at home on government advice, not just those who are infected.
  • if employees need to provide evidence to their employer that they need to stay at home due to coronavirus, they will be able to get it from the NHS 111 Online instead of having to get a fit note from their doctor – this is currently under development and will be made available soon.

SSP is paid at a rate of £94.25 per week. For more information including details about applying for Contribution Based Employment and Support Allowance (CBESA) visit the Government website.

I’ve been furloughed

Employers not in a position to pay their staff costs themselves can make a claim via the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). Under the scheme employers can claim a grant covering 80% of the wages for a furloughed employee, subject to a cap of £2,500 a month. This is claimed by the employers and distributed to staff, so you will not need to do anything yourself. In September furlough was scaled back, with employers having to pick up 10% of the cost, and from October they are having to pay 20% of their staff’s wages. The current furlough scheme ends on 31st October, after which a new financial support package will cover two-thirds of the wages for employees of businesses forced to close by virus restrictions. For the latest information on furlough entitlements, please visit the government website.

Furloughed workers planning to take paid parental or adoption leave will be entitled to pay based on their usual earnings rather than a furloughed pay rate. Entitlement to Statutory Maternity Pay, as well as the other forms of Parental or Adoption Pay, are currently calculated through someone’s average earnings over an 8-week assessment period. For Maternity Allowance, entitlement and the rate payable is also determined by looking at average earnings over a 13 week period. The statutory instrument laid in Parliament today will ensure workers whose period of family-related pay begins on or after 25 April will be assessed on their usual, full pay. More information is available here.

People who are working reduced hours due to coronavirus or those being furloughed by their employer will not have their tax credits payments affected if they are still employed or self-employed. These customers do not need to contact HMRC about this change and they'll be be treated as working their normal hours until the Job Retention Scheme and Self-Employment Income Support Scheme close, even if they are not using either scheme.

I'm self-employed

The Government has made changes to how Universal Credit supports self-employed claimants. Self-employed claimants on Universal Credit who are required to stay at home or are ill as a result of coronavirus will not have a Minimum Income Floor (an assumed level of income) applied for a period of time while affected. For more information see the Government website.

Self-assessment tax payments have been delayed - if you were due to pay a second instalment by 31 July, you will now not have to do so until January 2021.

You can apply for an income support grant of up to £7,500 and, if you're eligible, money will be paid into your account six days later.

I’m on a zero-hours contract and have been sent home

The pledge to meet 80% of wages applies to everyone who is on PAYE – that is, taxed before they are paid. It is not clear what figure the 80% will be based on. The chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has said that it will probably involve some kind of smoothing of earnings – that is to say it could be based on an average of recent weeks’ pay so you are not out of pocket if your last week’s wages were much lower than the previous week’s.

I've become unemployed due to coronavirus

It was announced in the 2020 budget that the minimum income floor (for those that are SE there is an assumed minimum income) will be temporarily relaxed. This is to ensure you receive some support which will include both the personal and housing element of Universal Credit. If you are affected by coronavirus you will be able to apply for Universal Credit and can receive up to a month’s advance upfront without physically attending a Jobcentre. For more information visit: https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit

I’m well but need to look after someone else

Employees are entitled to time off to look after dependants in an emergency – this includes a partner or parent as well as children. The time off is unlimited but employers are not obliged to pay you for this. Speak to your employer to find out its policy. If it does not pay, it may agree to let you use holiday or rearrange your working day to limit the financial impact.