Coronavirus: Support for Individuals

Last updated 23rd March 2020. For the latest medical advice, visit NHS.uk/Coronavirus.

If you are self-isolating at home, please read the guidance from the government on how to keep you and your family safe throughout. The full advice can be viewed here 

The below contains the latest financial support measures announced by the government for individuals, along with some resources to support you as you social distance. This includes educational services, tools to keep in touch with friends and family, and services to keep you active and look after your mental health. 

To support people affected by Coronavirus:

 

Financial Support

I am committed to doing everything in my power can to keep Burnley, and our people, healthy and financially secure. The Government is also committed to giving every British citizen the tools they need to get through this by supporting jobs, incomes, businesses and crucially our vulnerable loved ones who are most at risk.

Statutory Sick Pay

This will be available for people diagnosed with COVID-19 from day 1 with no requirement to gain a doctors sick note. Instead an alternative to the sick note is available by contacting NHS 111 which can be used by if your employer requires evidence. You can contact the NHS 111 Coronavirus service by going to 111.nhs.uk/covid-19/ or calling the NHS 111 phoneline.

Universal Credit

Those not eligible for SSP, or those earning below the Lower Earnings Limit of £118 per week, can make a claim for Universal Credit or Contributory Employment and Support Allowance more easily, which will be paid from day 1. 

People will be able to claim Universal Credit and access advance payments upfront without the current requirement to attend a Job Centre if they are advised to self-isolate. 

For the duration of the outbreak, the requirements of the Universal Credit Minimum Income Floor will be temporarily relaxed for those with Coronavirus, or those self-isolating, ensuring self-employed claimants will receive support. 

Mortgage and Rent Payments

If, as a result of COVID-19, you are unable to make your mortgage or rent payments you should speak to your lender or landlord. This will most likely be the case where you have had to self-isolate for a 14 day period and been paid SSP, or are no longer receiving an income as a result of being made redundant or having been self-employed.

High street banks have agreed to offer 3 month mortgage payment holidays, supporting those in financial difficult who cannot pay their mortgage as a result. This has also been extended to landlords who can take the 3 month holiday on their Buy To Let mortgage so that tenants have the same protection.

The Government will also be ensuring that no evictions can take place of tenants who are financially impacted by COVID-19.

 

Health & Wellbeing At Home

 

A key part of staying well whilst self-isolating is to look after your own mental health. As such, the below contains some helpful information on things you can do whilst at home. 

Every Mind Matters (NHS Mental Health Advice)

Whether you are self-isolating, social distancing or are anxious about COVID-19 and the impact it might have, it is really important that you look after your mental health and give yourself time to think. The NHS has pulled together a range of resources and information on this, all of which can be viewed here

One of the world's leading mindfulness apps - Headspace - has also created a range of free support during this time. This can all be accessed on the Headspace website here

Keeping in Touch

Whilst we may not be able to see our friends and family in person at this time, we should still make sure we make time to speak to each other. There are a range of tools that you can use to do this, from Apple FaceTime and Google Duo, to WhatsApp Video Calls. 

If you want to arrange a group call, with lots of family members or friends, tools such as Houseparty or Skype can be a great way of doing so. 

Resources for Parents

In response to school closures across the UK, the National Literacy Trust has launched a free online zone for parents seeking ideas and guidance for activities that will engage their children at home, whilst also benefiting their reading, writing and language development.

https://literacytrust.org.uk/family-zone/

Open University

There are a number of free Open University resources that could be of use to you and your family. These are:

OpenLearn

OpenLearn is the OU’s free to use learning platform with over 15,000 hours of online courses and content available to all.  Around 10 million people visit this site every year. 

With over 950 short courses (varying from 1-1000 hours of study), learners can explore a vast array of subjects, get inspiration, build skills and confidence and earn recognition if they wish (via badged open courses), all for free.  Added to that there are thousands of articles, quizzes and interactive games. 

Specifically on Coronavirus, the OU has a dedicated page which contains information links to UK government advice as well as a dedicated section on supporting mental health and free courses on infectious disease . This will be kept updated, with new content being developed aimed at the elderly (over 70s) on staying well in the event of needing to self-isolate. 

For more information: https://www.open.edu/openlearn/

FutureLearn

FutureLearn, founded by the OU in 2012, is now Europe’s largest social learning platform delivering short massive open online courses (known as MOOCs) as well as a range of other learning options such as microcredentials to help people up-skill and re-skill and fully online degrees.  It partners with over a quarter of the world’s top universities as well as a range of organisations such as the British Council and Health Education England.  For more information: https://www.futurelearn.com/

It has launched a Free online course on understanding and preventing the spread of coronavirus “COVID-19: Tackling the Novel Coronavirus ” from experts at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, a renowned institute of public health. Designed to help learners better understand the epidemic and how to prevent its spread, the course is an accessible and practical resource for anyone from medical experts to members of the general public.

The course is currently open for enrolment and begins on 23 March. To date over 46,000 learners from almost 200 different countries have signed up for the course in just under a month (44 % of these are based in the UK).

BBC

On 16th March the BBC and Government announced that there would be a delay in TV licence fee changes for the over-75s until August in light of the coronavirus situation. As a result, all over-75s continue to be eligible for a free TV licence. 

Throughout this period, the BBC will continue to provide world-class news reporting and information to allow all of us to stay updated with the latest advice and guidance. It will do this through a number of measures, including:

  • Broadcasting a weekly prime-time Coronavirus special on Wednesdays on BBC One, and move Question Time to 8pm on Thursdays, with call-in audiences and remote guests.
  • Recording a daily edition of the Coronavirus podcast, and film it where possible for News channel use in the UK and abroad.
  • Bringing listeners the most up-to-date information on Coronavirus around the clock through BBC Radio 5 Live. 5 Live will be answering listeners’ questions with regular phone-ins.
  • Delaying the planned closure of the Red Button text news and information service.
  • Using The One Show as a consumer programme show for all aspects of the crisis. This will include health and well-being advice, keeping fit and healthy eating tips, as well as links to other BBC output that can help and support.
  • In BBC One daytime, Health Check UK Live will directly address the concerns of viewers who are in isolation, offering tips on how to keep healthy and happy at home.
  • Making BBC Homepage the BBC’s bulletin board supplying clear information – the answers to all the key questions, with public information, health advice and recipes.
  • Launching a virtual church service on Sunday mornings across local radio in England, led initially by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The BBC is also looking at how it can support additional educational output whilst schools are closed.

TV Licence Fee for over 75s

On 16th March 2020, the government and the BBC also announced that changes to the Licence Fee for over-75's has been delayed until August. Further information can be found here.

 

To support public services: 

  • A £5 billion Coronavirus Response fund for
    • The NHS to treat Coronavirus patients, including maintaining staffing levels.
    • Local Authority actions to support social care services and vulnerable people. 
    • Ensuring funding is available to other public services so that they are prepared and protected.
  • £40 million of new funding for the National Institute for Health Research and the Department for Health to enable further rapid research into Coronavirus - this follows the £91 million that the government has already pledged to the international response.

 

See Also

Coronavirus

To volunteer to help those who are most vulnerable or self-isolating please click here. 

Information about coronavirus - COVID-19