Coronavirus: what you can claim if you're affected and how to apply

Coronavirus: what you can claim if you're affected and how to apply

By Nicky Burridge

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The Chancellor has set aside billions of pounds for people affected by coronavirus. How you can claim what you are entitled to.

Coronavirus: Get the latest property news and information

We take a look at the various measures the Government has put in place to help people through the coronavirus pandemic.


If you are struggling to pay your mortgage as a result of your finances being impacted by coronavirus, you can apply for a three-month payment holiday.

Interest accrued during the period will be added to the outstanding balance of your loan and can be repaid over the rest of the mortgage term.

To apply for the payment holiday, you need to contact your lender, either by telephone or online. You do not need to prove that you are in financial difficulties.

If you bought your property through the Help to Buy scheme, you can also apply for a three-month payment holiday on interest on the equity loan.

How you can claim your mortgage repayment break: we talked to homeowners who have applied successfully


If you are renting and you're worried you cannot pay your rent, there is help for you too.

Emergency legislation has been put in place to stop you from being evicted for at least three months.

To take advantage of the scheme, contact your landlord as soon as possible and explain what your situation is.

As with mortgages, you will have to make up the payments you have missed, and landlords have been instructed to work with their tenants to create a repayment plan.

Buy-to-let landlords are also able to apply for the three-month mortgage payment holiday, as long as they pass on the benefit to their tenants.

In addition, the Government has increased the local housing allowance for people who are unemployed, on low incomes or claiming certain benefits to cover at least the bottom 30% of market rents in your local area.

Coronavirus lockdown: how you will be affected and benefits you can claim


If you are not able to work due to the impact coronavirus has had on the business that employs you, the Government has agreed to step in and pay 80% of your salary, up to a maximum of £2,500 a month, as long as you are kept on the payroll.

You do not have to make a claim for the money. Instead, companies will apply directly to the Government for grants, and then pass on the cash to their employees.

While the scheme is not expected to start paying out until the end of April, payments can be backdated to 1 March.

It will initially run for three months, but the Government has said it will extend it if necessary.

Self-employed and freelancers

The Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced new measures to help you if you're self-employed.

The self-employed and freelancers can now apply for a grant worth 80% of their average monthly profits.

The money - up to a maximum of £2,500 a month - will not be paid until the start of June at the earliest, but will be backdated to March.

For now, you can claim universal credit, a benefit for people who are unable to work or who earn low incomes. People who are self-employed can claim it at a rate that is equivalent to statutory sick pay, which is currently £94.25 a week.

The minimum income floor that is used to work out entitlement to the benefit has been suspended.

The Government has also said it will delay the next set of self-assessment tax payments until January 2021 to give you more time to pay your bill.

You also have longer in which to pay VAT bills, with money due from now until the end of June deferred until April 2021.

Utility bills

If you are struggling to pay your gas, electricity or other utility bills, contact your supplier, as they have been instructed to support customers who are in financial difficulties through reducing, pausing or reassessing payments.

They have also been told to help customers who have pre-payment meters but cannot add credit to them.

Support available includes using a discretionary fund to increase customer’s credit or sending you a pre-loaded top-up card so that your supply is not interrupted.

Debt repayments

Many lenders are offering payment holidays on unsecured debt, as well as waiving late payment charges for people whose finances have been hit by coronavirus.

As with the mortgage payment holiday, if you are struggling to keep up, contact your lender as soon as possible.

Unlike the mortgage payment holiday, however, this is not a formal scheme announced by the Government, so individual lenders can make their own decision on whether or not to grant you a pause in repayments. 

You may also have to provide proof that your finances have suffered.

Increased benefits

In a bid to help those on low incomes, the Government has increased certain benefits.

The universal credit allowance is being increased by £20 a week for all new and existing claimants. 

The rise, which is in response to the pandemic and comes on top of already planned annual increases, will start  on April 6 and last for 12 months.

Those who are still eligible for the working tax credit will also see the allowance increased by £20 a week.

Read all our coronavirus-related news, advice and information.