As you well know, we are living an unprecedented event, the likes of which none of us have seen in our lifetimes. Coronavirus (Covid-19) has swept through the United Kingdom and the world like a firestorm, infecting residents and forcing us indoors and locked down. Whilst essential to curbing the spread of the virus, lockdown means the scary prospect of reduced income for most of us.
If you are one of the thousands in the UK who suddenly find yourself in a very different financial situation than a month ago, regularly check back to the Oakam blog for tips on managing your financial health during coronavirus.
To discourage mass redundancies, the UK government unveiled a substantial financial aid package aimed at helping employees who companies can no longer afford to pay due to coronavirus but want to keep on the payroll (also known as “furloughed” employees). In this case, the government will provide a significant portion of their salaries – 80% or up to £2,500 per month – during the coronavirus crisis.
If you find yourself furloughed, here are five steps to take immediately.
These are confusing, fast-evolving circumstances. Don’t assume that your employer has received clear instructions for how to properly furlough employees. Whether you work for a large corporation or a small business make sure to confirm your company has correctly changed your working status with HMRC in order to not hold up any benefits owed to you.
Here, the government website lays out steps that businesses must take in order to access support from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme:
Just because you are on furlough doesn’t mean you’re ineligible for other types of assistance. There are a variety of scenarios – like needing support to pay rent – that can make you eligible for additional aid, particularly during this health and economic crisis.
If you are low income and affected by coronavirus – whether through illness or financial downturn – check your eligibility to Universal Credit and to Working Tax Credit claimants.
Universal Credit is a relatively new, broad term replacing six legacy benefits:
Important: If you have coronavirus and are staying home, you are now able to claim Universal Credit. If needed, you can access advance payments upfront without attending a jobcentre.
Now is the time to take stock of your recurring subscriptions, unused vouchers, and any purchases that you are unable to use due to coronavirus. In many cases, you are eligible for a refund, credit note, service pause, and/or rebooking. Reach out to issuing firms to see what they are doing to accommodate customers during the coronavirus outbreak.
If you’re on furlough and know now that your reduced income won’t cover bills for the coming month, don’t wait. Reach out now to speak to utility companies, loan servicers, mortgage providers, and others. During this time of crisis, many companies are working with customers to find payment solutions that best suit both parties.
If you are unable to pay a bill, waiting and doing nothing risks negatively impacting your credit standing.
For Oakam customers impacted by coronavirus, let us know today by logging into the Oakam app and taking our short Coronavirus Customer Impact Assessment survey.
The survey can also be found here
For more information on what Oakam is doing to support customers through coronavirus, check our Coronavirus landing page