In response to COVID-19, the government introduced:
- Furlough scheme (also known as job retention scheme)
- Increased Universal Credit (UC) by £20 per week.
These measures will end in September, meaning your income may reduce. Below is information about what you should think about now to ensure you can pay your rent.
- You may not be able to go back to your old job, so you might have to find alternative employment.
- If you lose your job, you could claim UC – you should do this as soon as possible. This can help to pay for your rent.
- Remember that UC will not replace your wages, but it can help for daily living costs.
- UC is means tested. So, when deciding your award, your income will be looked at and anyone else’s income who lives with you.
- If yours or your spouses’ earnings are high, you may only qualify for a small amount of UC or none.
- If you do claim for UC, your first payment can take five weeks, so it is a good idea to start paying a bit more towards your arrears now to stop you from getting into debt later.
Check out the benefits calculator to see what you may get.
On Universal Credit?
- Your award will reduce by £20 per week in September, so you should think about how you will manage without the extra payment.
- You may not be able to pay for some of the things you have been paying for in the last year. You should plan now by looking at your income and expenditure (budget planning) to make sure you can still pay for essential things such as rent, council tax, water, and energy supplies.
- If you are in rent arrears, and your rent is paid to us directly, the amount towards your arrears will reduce as your UC award is based on your current earnings. This means your debt with us will reduce more slowly.
It is important that you get advice about this now so you can prepare ahead for September. This will help you make sure you can pay you rent and other bills on time. Over the next few weeks, we may call or visit you about this.
You can also call your Customer Relations Manager for advice.
For further guidance, visit:
- Citizens Advice Dudley & Wolverhampton - 0300 330 9044
- Citizens Advice Sandwell & Walsall - 0800 144 8848
- Step Change Debt Charity - 0800 138 1111
- Welfare Rights at your local council