Covid-19 - Basic Advice on Rent and Benefits - East Ren Champs Board

Covid-19 – Basic Advice on Rent and Benefits

Covid-19 Basic Advice on Rent and Benefits

Gas, electricity and pre-paid meters

Gas and electricity suppliers have agreed an emergency package of measures to ensure vulnerable people do not get cut off amid a virus outbreak. Suppliers have contingency plans in place to ensure a continuous service to homes.

More than four million people who are on prepayment meters will receive help if they cannot get out to top up. If you are struggling with your utility bill or to top up your meter you should contact your supplier and discuss your needs.

You can get your suppliers phone number and see the supports on offer here:

You may be entitled to statutory sick pay from day one

If you need to take time off work due to becoming unwell from coronavirus, you’ll be entitled to your usual sick leave and sick pay.

If you’re self-isolating on Government advice you should be entitled to statutory sick pay

The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) says it’s “good practice” for your employer to pay your usual contractual sick pay as outlined in your contract of employment.

Statutory sick pay currently stands at £94.25 a week – you must be employed and earn an average of at least £118 a week to be entitled to it

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New to claiming claiming benefits?

If you’re not claiming any benefits you might be entitled to claim employment and support allowance (ESA) or universal credit to top up your income. Some changes are being made to these benefits in response to COVID-19:

  • Contribution-based employment and support allowance (ESA) benefit will become available to claim from the first day of sickness rather than the eighth. This is for people directly affected by coronavirus or self-isolating according to Government advice, or who are caring for a child who’s ill or been told to self-isolate.

You can get up to £73/week – the amount won’t be affected by either you or your partner’s savings or income, though if you get a private pension worth more than £85/week it’ll be reduced.

You’re typically eligible for contribution-based ESA if you’re self-employed or employed but unable to work, and have at least two years of national insurance contributions.

To apply, you can either:

– Call Jobcentre Plus to apply by phone
– Download and print the ESA1 form and send or take it to your local Jobcentre Plus

Paying your rent

If you’ll struggle to pay rent during the coronavirus outbreak you should speak to your landlord as soon as possible to let them know your situation and work out a repayment plan.

It’s also worth checking whether you’re receiving all the financial help with housing you’re entitled to, which could be from benefits such as universal credit. You can check your benefit entitlement at or

The Government has announced that landlords won’t be able to start eviction proceedings for at least the next six months. Emergency legislation is being introduced, though it’s not yet clear when this will come into force. Beyond this six months, you’ll be expected to work with your landlord to establish an affordable repayment plan that takes your circumstances into account

Help with Mortgage

How are lenders helping their mortgage customers?

Details from

Lender Waiving fees for missed payments? Offering reduced payments? Offering mortgage holidays? Impact of mortgage holiday? When can you apply for mortgage holidays?
Bank of Scotland Yes Yet to respond Yes TBC TBC
Barclays N/A – Barclays does not charge for late payments. No Yes Increased mortgage term TBC
First Direct No No Yes for loans, no for mortgages N/A N/A
Halifax Yes Yet to respond Yes TBC TBC
Lloyds Yes Yet to respond Yes TBC TBC
Nationwide Yet to respond Yet to respond Only for mortgages Increased monthly payments Immediately (unless direct debit already in process)
NatWest No No Yes, for up to 3mths Increased monthly payments TBC
RBS No No Yes, for up to 3mths Increased monthly payments TBC
Santander Yet to respond Yes Yes Flexible Immediately (though 5 days’ notice is best)