Welfare and benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic

Posted on: 27th March 2020

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

You can get £94.25 per week Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if you’re too ill to work. It’s paid by your employer for up to 28 weeks.

If you cannot work while you are self-isolating because of coronavirus (COVID-19), you could get SSP for every day you’re in isolation. You must self-isolate for at least 4 days to be eligible.

If your illness is not related to coronavirus (COVID-19), you must be eligible for SSP and have been off work sick for 4 or more days in a row (including non-working days) to get SSP.

You cannot get less than the statutory amount. You can get more if your company has a sick pay scheme (or ‘occupational scheme’) - check your employment contract.

Check if you can get statutory sick pay (SSP)

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a payment to help with your living costs. It’s paid monthly - or twice a month for some people in Scotland.

You may be able to get it if you’re on a low income or out of work.

Check if you're eligible for Universal Credit

Employment & Support Allowance (ESA)

You can apply for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if you have a disability or health condition that affects how much you can work.

ESA gives you:

  • money to help with living costs if you’re unable to work
  • support to get back into work if you’re able to

You can apply for ESA if you’re employed, self-employed or unemployed.

Check if you're eligible for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

Guidance for employees regarding financial help

If you and your employer both agree, your employer might be able to keep you on the payroll if they’re unable to operate or have no work for you to do because of coronavirus (COVID-19). This is known as being ‘on furlough’.

You could get paid 80% of your wages, up to a monthly cap of £2,500.

 Employers can apply for staff to get up to 80% pay if they can’t work

 Guidance for self-employed workers

Information on how to claim a grant through the coronavirus (COVID-19) Self-employment Income Support Scheme.

You may be able to use this scheme if you're self-employed or a member of a partnership and have lost income due to coronavirus.

Financial help if you’re self-employed

Obtaining an isolation note

If you live with someone who has symptoms of coronavirus, you can get an isolation note to send to your employer as proof you need to stay off work.

You do not need to get a note from a GP.

Get an isolation note to give to your employer

Lay-offs and short-time working

Your employer can ask you to stay at home or take unpaid leave if there’s not enough work for you.

A lay-off is if you’re off work for at least 1 working day. Short-time working is when your hours are cut.

Your rights if your hours are cut or you’re laid off

If you cannot pay your tax bill on time

Contact HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) as soon as possible if you have missed your payment. How you contact HMRC depends on what you need to pay.

What to do if you cannot pay your tax bill on time


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