The chancellor announced his first package to support employment in the coronavirus crisis on 20 March. Since then many more self-employed people have been asking us for help with Universal Credit.
We expect this to continue after the special self-employment announcement on 26 March*.
For many self-employed people with profits below £50,000 the support is welcome. For others there’s a problem. Their income has dried up, they have bills to pay and they can’t expect their first support payment until June.
Universal credit may be the answer.
Last week’s package increased the level of universal credit, but not everyone is eligible. If you have savings or other family income, you may not be. Our advisers can help with the rules and the application process.
Under present arrangements new applicants for universal credit receive their first payment after 5 weeks. If they have no resources, they can apply for an advance payment immediately. They will repay this through monthly deductions when their benefit is in full payment.
Other kinds of help
The chancellor has also said that local councils, banks, insurance companies, utility suppliers, landlords and others should allow people affected by the crisis more time to pay their rent, mortgage, premium or outstanding bills. A small number of people in special need may apply for help from the Surrey Crisis Fund, run by Surrey County Council.
Again, our advisers can help. Check out 5 Ways to contact us about these arrangements (or any other problem).
* Claim a grant through the coronavirus (COVID-19) Self-employment Income Support Scheme, Government Guidance, 26/03/20 ** Coronavirus - What it means for you Citizens Advice Online, 27/03/20 (continually updated)