COVID-19: A guide to your income and benefits

Could you be entitled to benefits?

If you’ve been affected by coronavirus, you might be able to claim benefits or get more money on your current benefits if:

  • You have coronavirus, or you’re following guidance to stay at home
  • You’ve lost your job
  • You’re self-employed and can’t work
  • You can’t work because your workplace has closed.

There have been some changes to the way Department for Work and Pensions operates to make it easier for you to continue receiving payments during this time:

For people already claiming support

  • The Department for Work and Pensions has suspended all face to face Job Centre appointments for three months and benefit payments will continue as normal
  • People who need to claim Statutory Sick Pay, Employment Support Allowance or Universal Credit are not required to produce a fit for work note.

For people who need to make a new claim for financial support

  • The seven day waiting period for new Employment Support Allowance claims no longer applies and this benefit will be payable from day one
  • People are not required to produce a fit for work note for all new claims.


We have put together some scenarios that may apply to your situation to advise where you can go for help to find out what you could be entitled to.

We understand this is a really difficult situation for some of our customers. Our team are on hand to help you with this and make sure you get the support you need.

If you are directly affected, you might be able to pay less for a while. Although you will still have to pay the balance at a later date, we will set a sensible repayment agreement with you and we can assure you this situation will not affect your tenancy.

If you need our help, call our team on 0345 065 5656 or email us at so we can discuss your circumstances and help with any concerns you have about paying your rent.

If you can’t pay your rent or service charge because you normally go out to pay it, and you’re currently in isolation, call the team on 0345 065 5656.

  • To make a new claim for benefits means you will need to apply for Universal Credit, so you will need to make an appointment for your new claim interview. This interview will take place by telephone with a work coach. You will be given the number to call to book this appointment when you have submitted your claim
  • If you’re already claiming Universal Credit and think you may have been affected by coronavirus, please contact your work coach as soon as possible. You can do this using your online journal
  • The Understanding Universal Credit website provides information about coronavirus and claiming benefits and will continue to be updated. Please check this page regularly for updates on the arrangements the Department for Work and Pensions is making to support those who are affected by coronavirus.
  • The government has created a scheme to allow you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next three months. This may be extended if needed
  • You cannot apply for this scheme yet, HMRC will contact you if you are eligible for the scheme and invite you to apply online
  • Once HMRC has received your claim and you are eligible for the grant, you’ll be contacted to tell you how much you will get and the payment details.

Other support you can get includes:

If you’re a director of your own company and paid through PAYE you may be able to get support using the Job Retention Scheme.

  • If you’re on a zero hours contract, help depends on how your contract is structured and the government hasn’t issued specific advice yet
  • If you’re paid through payroll, you could be eligible for help as a furloughed employee (more to be confirmed)
  • Otherwise, you may be due self-employment help (we need to wait for an update on this too), but definitely check out Universal Credit.
  • If you lost your job due to the coronavirus furlough may be available for you
  • Before furlough support was available, people were laid off by employers who couldn’t afford to keep their staff on
  • If this happened to you, we encourage you to speak to your employer and ask them to take you back on to furlough you.
  1. Full-time employed single person living in a two bedroom home, advised to self-isolate with no paid sick leave.

You need to apply for Statutory Sick Pay (£94.24 per week up to 28 weeks) and can make a claim for Universal Credit to help with housing costs, but will be deducted bedroom tax. You can also make an application for a Discretionary Housing Payment

  1. A working age couple laid off part-time work temporarily, living with two children in two bedroom home, in receipt of tax credits and Housing Benefit.

Your employer is entitled to a grant that will mean they can pay you at least 80% of your normal wages (under £2,500), you are classed as working so tax credits will continue as normal.

  1. Self-employed person with no work coming in due to the coronavirus, renting a one bedroom flat with no savings.

You need to make a new claim for Universal Credit, where you will receive standard allowance and housing costs. You can apply for an advance payment, however this is repayable over 12 months from your ongoing award.

  1. Single parent living in a two bedroom home with two children, in part-time work but advised to self-isolate with no paid sick leave.

You’ll need to update your Universal Credit journal, or if claiming legacy benefits, update your tax credit and Housing Benefit claim with your up to date income. If you’re not in receipt of benefits, you can make a new claim for Universal Credit and may be able to claim Statutory Sick Pay if earning an average of at least £118 per week.

Take the worry away with direct debit

More of our customers are choosing to move to our direct debit option for paying rent because it’s simple, convenient and can make life easier at this time when we’ve all been told to stay at home. Contact us and we’ll call you back to set this up over the phone.

Contacting us

Our service centre is currently dealing with emergency repair requests. Please email us at with your name, address and phone number and we will call you back. Alternatively, you can speak to us though live chat.

Useful websites

Universal Credit

Citizens Advice Bureau

Shelter Housing Advice

Useful telephone numbers

Job Centre Plus 0800 169 0190

Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council 01642 774 774

Scarborough Borough Council 01723 232 323