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Support for people and families

Last Updated 5:02pm, 3 December 2020


Introduction

Information about coronavirus is available in different formats and languages, including easy read, BSL and for people who are not online.

Financial help in your local area

District councils in Devon are providing small emergency grants to people in financial hardship as a result of COVID-19:

Financial support is also available to low income households in Plymouth and Torbay.

Support for employees

The government has produced guidance around the financial support available for workers

The Money Saving Expert website also has some useful advice on your rights as an employee.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – extension (widely known as the Furlough Scheme) was introduced earlier this year, allowing employers to put staff ‘on furlough’ (temporary leave), whilst claiming a grant of up to 80% of their wages.

This scheme was due to end on 31 October, but has now been extended until the end of March 2021.

See the guidance on the extension to the Furlough Scheme for more details.

Financial support if you're on a low income and need to self isolate

Self-isolation is one of the most powerful tools for controlling the transmission of Covid-19. The government have now launched a Test and Trace Support payment of £500 so that those on low incomes are able to self-isolate without worry about their finances.

Just under 4 million people who are in receipt of benefits in England will be eligible for this payment, which will be available to those who are required to self-isolate from 28 September.

Local Authorities will be working quickly to set up these self-isolation support schemes which are expected to be in place by 12 October. Those who start to self-isolate from 28 September will receive backdated payments once the scheme is set up in their Local Authority.

Sick pay

If you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) tell your employer immediately. They should tell you if you’re covered by their sick leave policy. After the first 7 days of absence, they may also ask you for an isolation note to show you cannot work because of coronavirus. You can get an isolation note from NHS 111 online.

If you cannot get sick pay from your employer, you could get Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for every day you’re in isolation. You must self isolate for at least 4 days to be eligible.

If someone you live with has symptoms of coronavirus

You must stay at home if someone you live with has symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). This is sometimes known as ‘self-isolating’. You should work from home if you can. If you cannot work from home tell your employer that a member of your household has symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) and that you must self-isolate. They should tell you if you’re covered by their sick leave or special leave policy.

If you cannot get sick pay from your employer, you might be able to get Statutory Sick Pay from day one of self-isolation.

If you lose your job

Financial support

Apply online for Universal Credit to get financial support if you’ve lost your job.

You might also be able to:

Further information on what to do if you were employed but have lost your job

Redundancy

Redundancy is a form of dismissal from your job. It happens when employers need to reduce their workforce.

See the government’s Redundancy: your rights webpage for more information.

Looking for other work

Find full or part-time jobs in using the Find a job service.

Job opportunities in Devon

The care sector currently has an urgent requirement for workers – the latest vacancies in this sector can be viewed on Proud to Care Devon.

For other employment opportunities, have a look at the Heart of the South West Virtual Career Fairs.

Support if you are self-employed

There are a number of measures and schemes available to support businesses such as grant funding, business rate relief and loans.

Full details can be found on the government guidance for the self employment income support scheme grant extension

If you run a business or are self-employed and are concerned about paying your tax due to coronavirus, you can call HMRC’s helpline for help and advice: 0800 024 1222.

The Money Saving Expert website also has some useful information if you’re self employed.

 

Self Employment Income Support Scheme

The Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) supports self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) whose income has been negatively impacted by COVID-19.

This scheme has also now been extended to a third grant to support businesses affected by the second national lockdown in England, due to start on November 5.

See the government’s update on the increased support for self-employed individuals for more details.

Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBLIS)

The Business Interruption Loan Scheme helps small and medium-sized businesses to access loans and other kinds of finance up to £5 million. The government guarantees 80% of the finance to the lender and pays interest and any fees for the first 12 months.

Bounce Back Loan Scheme

The Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) enables smaller businesses to access finance more quickly during the coronavirus outbreak

Support for businesses in Devon

Local businesses (those in the Devon County Council, Plymouth or Torbay areas) can access free business support and advice from the Heart of the South West Growth Hub.

Other financial help

In the interim, self-employed people may still be eligible for other government support including:

Further information on all support available and how to access these schemes

Food support for individuals and families in need

Food banks and community larders

There are a number of foodbanks and community larders in Devon that provide emergency food and support to individuals and families. Find what food suport is available near you on the Pinpoint Devon website

The Community Insights Team at Devon Community Foundation is available to advise and assist with accessing food banks. Email insights@devoncf.com or call 07923 230969. They have also provided some information about community projects in Devon.

Healthy Start Vouchers – free food and vitamin vouchers

Healthy Start is a programme to help families with young children get free food vouchers to spend on milk, plain fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables and infant formula milk. You can also get free vitamins for under 4’s (vit A, C and D) and vitamins if you are pregnant (folic acid and vit C & D).

If you have children under 4 or are pregnant, and you or your family receive qualifying benefits you may be eligible – you can quickly find out on the Healthy Start website

Applying is easy, you can print off an application form from the Healthy Start website and post it to the Healthy Start office. Once you are registered, food vouchers are posted to you every 4 weeks and vitamin coupons every 8 weeks.

To make things easier at the moment, vitamins are being posted to families. Please ask your midwife or Children’s Centre for more information, or text your health visitor on 07520 631721.

Applying for free school meals in Devon

You may be eligible for free school meals if your family receives one of the following qualifying benefits:

  • Universal Credit (provided you have an annual net earned income of no more than £7,400, as assessed by earnings from up to three of your most recent assessment periods).
  • Income Support (IS).
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance (IBJSA).
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (IRESA).
  • The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit.
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.
  • Child Tax Credit (provided you’re not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and have an annual gross income as assessed by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, that does not exceed £16,190).

If you think you might be eligible for Free School Meals, you can apply through the Devon Citizens Portal. This is the quickest and easiest way to apply and will result in you getting an instant decision. Alternatively, you can call the Education Helpline on 0345 155 1019 to request a paper copy of the form.

Free school meals holiday voucher scheme

During the December school holidays, families of primary, secondary and sixth form college pupils who currently receive free school meals will automatically sent supermarket vouchers we’re providing using the COVID Winter Grant Scheme to buy food over the festive period.

Eligible pre-school aged children in Devon County Council maintained nurseries (including academies) will also receive the vouchers if they usually attend sessions before and after lunch. Private, governor run and charity run settings are not funded for free school meals.

Find out more about the holiday voucher scheme


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