In these unprecedented times, it can be difficult to make ends meet and see light at the end of the tunnel. This post lists details of the free support available to help employees manage their way through it.
- Jobcentre Plus
Contact JobCentre Plus for help claiming new benefits or to discuss any existing benefits
Mortgages – If you have a mortgage may want to check with your lender if they are offering payment “holidays” during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Renting – Rental tenants have some additional protection for at least three months from 26 March 2020. The Citizens Advice Bureau can provide information Citizens Advice
Refunds and freezes of nursery fees depend on individual providers, so talk directly to your nursery provider. Employees who use the Government’s tax-free childcare system can withdraw funds from their account – but there may be downsides to doing so. HMRC’s Childcare Service helpline can provide the latest guidance. Employees may pause salary-sacrifice childcare vouchers and remain in the scheme, provided they are restarted again within 52 weeks.
Details at: Childcare Service Helpline
Most train and bus operators allow season ticket refunds for unused travel time, including tickets bought through workplace loan schemes. Employers who provide such schemes need to establish and communicate how employees should repay any outstanding loan after they have obtained a ticket refund. Company car drivers can take advantage of relaxed rules around benefit-in-kind taxation if they “virtually” hand the car back to their employer (for example, by posting the keys back).
- Personal debt
The debt charity StepChange offers guidance and support on how to negotiate with creditors and prioritise repayments. StepChange Debt Charity – Free Expert Debt Advice
- Extra earnings / 2nd job
While you are furloughed through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, you may top up your earnings with other work provided by a different employer. Please speak to your employer if you are thinking of taking on a 2nd job as it may affect your availability to work.
Mental Health and Wellbeing Support
- NHS Every Mind Matters – Having good mental health helps us relax more, achieve more and enjoy our lives more. Every Mind Matters has expert advice and practical tips to help you look after your mental health and wellbeing: Every Mind Matters | One You
- Mind – When you’re living with a mental health problem, having access to the right information is vital. Go to our information pages to find out more: Mind, the mental health charity
- Able Futures – This is a free, confidential mental health and wellbeing support service to help with stress, depression and other mental health and wellbeing issues should the need arise. Staff at Able Futures will listen to you to understand any difficulties you are experiencing and create an individual plan of support where necessary .Support is available over the phone, through email and face-to-face meetings.
Call: 0800 321 3137 (8am to 10.30pm, Monday to Friday)
or visit: https://able-futures.co.uk/individuals/
- Shout is a 24/7 UK crisis text service available for times when people feel they need immediate support but don’t feel able to speak to someone.
Text Shout to 85258
Find out more at: giveusashout