Our client works part-time for a hospitality firm. She is in rent arrears. Her application for housing benefit was turned down but she has universal credit.
The lockdown has affected her in unexpected ways.
Her situation shows clearly:
She had checked that her employment with the firm met all the furlough criteria; so she was very disappointed when they told her their application had been rejected. They couldn’t furlough her but instead made her a one-off payment equivalent to less than 2 weeks’ wages. This wasn’t expected but would still affect her universal credit.
Our client wants to keep her job and is uncertain how to proceed.
She wonders if HMRC has in fact accepted the employer’s application. The furlough scheme is supposed to decide on applications within 6 days. Could the firm be paying itself rather than the client? Or appealing the rejection it says it has received?
Following a discussion with our adviser, including close reading of official guidance, the client decided to tell her employer about the difficulty with her benefit payment. She had to explain the situation to the DWP and needed more information about why, with her employment record, she had not been furloughed.
A difficult situation. If there are strong grounds for suspicion of misuse of government support, employees or others can report to HMRC.