Information on financial support for patients and their families | Latest updates

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Information on financial support for patients and their families

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We know Covid-19 has made things difficult and confusing for many. In this article our Individual Placement and Support Team (IPS) have put together some guidance for our NHFT patients and their families surrounding finance which we hope helps.

If you have questions or concerns around employment, financial worries, or information on benefits, our IPS employment advisors are here to help during this time.

You can contact the IPS advisors between 8am to 6pm daily, or arrange a call back outside of these times, via the Mental Health Integrated Response Hub number 0300 330 1011.

If you are seeking mental health support the Mental Health Integrated Response Hub is manned 24/7.

 

COVID-19 and Statutory Sick Pay

If you are self-isolating due to yourself or a member of your household being unwell with COVID-19 symptoms, you are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if you earn at least £118 per week. SSP will now be paid from the first day of sickness, and you can get a sick note by calling visiting NHS 111 online by clicking here.

If you are self-employed or earn less than £118 per week, you can make a claim for Universal Credit (see below).

Some employers offer more generous sickness pay so make sure to check your contract or with your manager.

 

On Furlough

If your employer has had to close, or if there is no work for you to do, they may choose to put you “on furlough”, where you can receive 80% of your wages up to maximum of £2500 per month, through the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Employers may choose to top up the remaining 20%

Employers can also furlough people who are shielding due to their health conditions, or people who have caring responsibilities at home which mean they cannot work – if you fall into these groups you can negotiate with your employer to furlough you.

If your salary is reduced, you may be eligible for Universal Credit for support with living or housing costs.

If your employer tries to make you redundant, you should ask them to place you on furlough instead

Information available here.

 

Unemployed

The Job Retention scheme should stop most people from losing their jobs. However, if you are still made unemployed, there are two things you can do:

  • Apply for benefits to help you with living and housing costs. Check your eligibility using a benefits calculator before applying online (see below).
  • Apply for a new job – many sectors are seeing an increase in recruitment due to the crisis, including supermarkets, delivery and healthcare (see below).

You can contact the IPS advisors between 8am to 6pm daily, or arrange a call back outside of these times, via the Mental Health Integrated Response Hub number 0300 330 1011 for guidance on both of these.

 

Self-Employment

If you are self-employed and have lost income due to COVID-19, the government has announced support similar to the furlough scheme and will pay 80% of your trading profits up to £2500 per month. The scheme is not finalised yet and you should make a claim for universal credit in the meantime. Details will be updated on the government website here

Information on universal credit for self-employed people is available here.

If you employ others, you can read about the furlough scheme from an employers’ perspective here.

 

 Already claiming benefits

Up-to-date changes to benefits system are available here.

Some key changes include:

  • Job centres are mostly closed to the public. They advise to use online applications wherever possible, and to telephone them only if necessary. All  job centre appointments have been cancelled for 3 months from 19th March.
  • Universal credit claimants should communicate with the job centre through their online journal. Ensure that any changes in earnings are reported through the journal as this will change entitlement
  • Universal credit and working tax credit have increased by £20 per week.
  • All reviews and reassessments for benefits including Employment & Support Allowance (ESA), Universal Credit, and Personal Independence Payment (PIP) have been suspended for three months from 24th March.

 

Making a new claim for benefits

If you have lost your job, or have reduced earnings, you should check your eligibility for using an online benefits calculator:

Turn 2 Us - benefits calculator

Entitled to - benefits calculator

Most new benefits claims are for Universal Credit. However, some people who have been consistently employed over the last few years may receive New Style Job Seekers Allowance, or New Style Employment and Allowance if they have a disability or health condition as well.  Those people may also need to make a claim for universal credit for housing costs. Using a calculator can help to explain this.

Make new Universal Credit claims online. The system is straightforward and can be done on a smartphone. However, claims can be made over the phone if you have no digital skills at 0800 328 5644.

If you need help to claim, you can also call Citizen’s Advice on 0800 144 8444.

If you need to claim Universal Credit or ESA because of coronavirus, you will not be required to produce a fit note.

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.

Up-to-date advice on making a new claim for benefits is available here.

 

Housing

Up to date information on housing matters is available here.

  • Most mortgage providers in the UK have announced a three-month mortgage holiday. You should speak to your mortgage provider if you are going to have difficulty paying your mortgage due to coronavirus. Mortgage lenders have also agreed a 3 month suspension of any repossession.
  • For those renting, there is no equivalent holiday. Speak to your landlord if you are struggling to pay your rent due to coronavirus, and they may agree to a delay or a reduction. All evictions have been halted until at least the end of June.
  • For those receiving Universal Credit or Housing Benefit for housing costs in private rented accommodation, the amount paid towards this has increased.

 

Debt

If you are struggling with debt, you can access help through the links on this website

Many creditors are making changes to help those struggling with the impact of COVID-19. Information is available here.

 

Struggling in employment

If you are having problems at work, or finding work difficult, you can call the Integrated Hub number for further support.

If you are struggling at work due to a mental health condition, the Access to Work Mental Health Support Service may be able to help. They can be contacted here.

 

Finding new employment

Many sectors are recruiting staff at present, including healthcare, social care, delivery, warehouse and supermarkets. Check these popular job boards for vacancies:

CV Library 

Indeed 

NHS Jobs 

You can also check with local employment agencies or directly on the websites of companies.

You can contact the IPS advisors between 8am to 6pm daily, or arrange a call back outside of these times, via the Mental Health Integrated Response Hub number 0300 330 1011 for further guidance if you are looking for a job.

 

Useful places for advice

ACAS – advice for when you are employed. Useful section specifically about COVID-19

Citizen Advice Bureau, Central and East Northamptonshire – provides advice on a wide variety of issues - 03444 111 444

Community Law – benefits and legal advice:
Phone: 01604 621038
Email:  enquiries@communitylawservice.org.uk

 

You can contact the IPS advisors between 8am to 6pm daily, or arrange a call back outside of these times, via the Mental Health Integrated Response Hub number 0300 330 1011 for further guidance if you are looking for a job.

 

 

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