Second Round of Lockdown: Your Money Questions Answered

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England are approaching a lockdown of at least a month, Wales and Northern Ireland are still suffering a breaker and Scotland faces a difficult five-tier system.

It might be chaos, but your financial situation doesn’t need to join the general panic. Here’s the new information you need to navigate these turbulent waters.

Am I eligible for the extended leave?

One of the biggest criticisms of how the government handled the financial fallout from a second lockdown is how long it waited to announce the leave or retention program extension.

The extension coming literally hours before it was replaced by the less generous Employment Assistance Program (JSS) for thousands of people whose bosses had already officially terminated their contracts in anticipation of the end of the program will now face unemployment in a terrible job market. .

However, anyone who was still employed on October 30 – even if they had received notice but had not yet officially left – can switch to the new extended leave scheme, the Chancellor confirmed this week.

Now ready to operate until the new lockdown ends on December 2, leave details for employees and businesses are expected to remain broadly the same.

Any type of business can apply as long as you use the UK PAYE system and have a bank account. It is up to employers, rather than employees, to organize the assistance.

The government will pay 80% of a worker’s salary on leave up to a maximum of £ 2,500 per month when that staff member cannot do their job due to the pandemic.

Employers will continue to be responsible for national insurance and pension contributions – a cost of around 5 percent for an employee on an average wage.

With the clock reset, the plan is now available for November claims for employees who joined companies after March 19 and for companies that have not yet made a claim against the plan.

When it does end, the leave scheme will be replaced by the JSS, which could guarantee a minimum of 67% of an employee’s salary for companies that have been forced to close and 73% for companies where an employee has. worked at least 20 percent of their usual hours.

I’m self-employed. What help is there for me now?

Finally giving in to pressure on the limited Self-Employed Income Assistance (SEISS) scheme proposed in the first wave, the Chancellor announced on Monday that SEISS grants would now be calculated on the basis of 80 percent of average profits. of companies over the past year rather more than 40 percent – up to a maximum of £ 3,750. This makes it possible to align the assistance for the self-employed with the system for maintaining employment.

But the new deal will only be open from the end of November to cover that month, with some assumptions but no promise of further help if the lockdown continues.

The regime as it currently stands will also continue to ignore up to 2.9 million freelancers, entrepreneurs and new self-employed workers with few business records, critics warn.

To date, the government’s response has been to highlight the £ 20 improvement in weekly universal credit support and tax credits, although the Department for Work and Pensions has been urged to improve it further to help to fight against the pandemic crisis.

How much financial help is there if I catch the virus?

There does not appear to be a planned change in the amount of statutory sickness benefits available to sick people, with the government simply emphasizing that it is available from the first day of illness.

However, there is, in theory, up to £ 500 available for low-income people who are asked to self-isolate by the NHS Test and Trace team – but not if they are only asked to do so by the ‘NHS Covid-19 application. You are also required by law to self-isolate for 10 days if you receive a positive test result. (Members of an affected household must self-isolate for 14 days.)

From the end of September, to coincide with self-isolation becoming a legal obligation with a fine for non-compliance, local authorities should make the payment as long as beneficiaries are employed or self-employed, cannot work from home and are currently receiving certain benefits.

Payment is made in addition to any statutory sickness benefits or benefits you receive.

I’m afraid to pay my debts now. What happens with the payment “holidays”?

Mortgage payment pauses and other payment deferral options that should have ended on Saturday must be extended, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) confirmed on Monday.

Anyone in difficulty to deal with a mortgage, a credit card or a personal loan can request an interruption of their repayments up to a total of six months, including those who have already benefited from a deferral of payment of three months.

The rules will also apply to people who repay other forms of debt, including rent to acquire and buy-now and on-payment contracts.

Those with short-term loans, such as payday loans, can request a deferral of their payments for one month.

Financial experts caution against using the term “public holiday” when it comes to these breaks in debt repayments, as interest continues to accrue during the deferral period, thus increasing the cost. global.

Anyone considering requesting a new payment deferral or extending an existing payment should only do so if it is really necessary and lenders are encouraged to look for other solutions for consumers as well.

I’m supposed to move out soon. Will I still be able?

With an ongoing housing market boom and house prices rising nearly 6% despite dismal economic data, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has confirmed that moves by buyers and tenants can take place during this lockdown.

Moving companies and real estate agencies can continue to trade as long as they adhere to Covid’s safety guidelines.

I have tickets for an event next week. Will I get my money back?

If you and your next event are in England, it’s highly unlikely to happen. This includes private events involving more than one household such as weddings as well as larger public arrangements such as sporting events.

If you are in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland some restrictions are set to change in the coming days, so check your government’s plans.

Across the UK, however, if you have purchased tickets from the event organizer and they have now canceled you should receive a refund although this is unlikely to include the cost of reservation or delivery. Contact them if you haven’t heard from them.

If you bought tickets from a third party, your protections are not so clear. As above, contact them if they don’t beat you.

If the event is postponed rather than canceled, keep all physical, electronic or other documents. If you can’t make the rearranged date contact the organizer for a refund, but again if you made plans through a secondary seller you may have difficulty.

Always wait for the organizer to cancel under the current circumstances rather than doing it on your end as this could make you responsible for the full cost.

What about our next vacation?

Anyone currently on vacation can complete their scheduled break before returning home. But if you haven’t left yet, you won’t be able to.

Many people still haven’t been reimbursed for flights and vacations canceled during the first lockdown, but if your accommodation, flights, and associated plans are canceled due to the coronavirus, you should get a refund.

According to Which ?, the new foreclosure announcement is not expected to have a significant impact on the insurance policies themselves. This can however lead to disaster situations that would have been covered in the last lockdown, but this time around it is not. This time, in other words, the disruption due to Covid-19 was a known risk when you made your plans assuming they were made after March.

“After the pandemic began in March, the policies on sale for these types of insurance have become much more restrictive in the coverage they will make available with respect to Covid 19 – especially when it comes to ‘government action,’ he added. said the spokesperson.

“Whenever you organize your coverage or event, you should carefully check your individual policy, you should also explore additional protections for canceled services, such as provider reimbursement policies and payment card protections.”

Decentralized nations in the UK are facing the Covid-19 virus, social distancing measures and mitigating the financial impact on consumers in different ways, so it is essential to check with regional and local authorities to more details and tips before taking any important action.

This information was correct at the time of writing.

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