Are you experiencing financial hardship?
- Money advice and help >
If you are worrying about money, this step-by-step guide can help you to find the support you need.
- Self Isolation Support Grants >
These £500 grants are available to people on a low income who are experiencing financial hardship through being asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Protect. Eligibility was widened from 7th December 2020 to include parents of children who are required to care for children who must self isolate and anyone who may be eligible for universal Credit before they self isolated, but who did not apply for it. Eligibility has been widened from 16th February to include unpaid carers who are required to care for someone over 16 who must self-isolate and anyone who has a low income (as specified by Scottish Government). You can check if you are eligible for a grant here on the Scottish Government website
- Emergency Grants >
Grants are available through the Scottish Welfare Fund for anyone on low income, or whose income has been negatively affected by the Coronavirus pandemic, to help with daily living expenses such as food and bills, fuel (help with gas and electricity bills/meters) or heating costs, emergency travel expenses, and for anyone fleeing domestic violence or facing exceptional pressures caused by loss of income or employment.
- Help with paying your rent >
If you are having difficulty paying your rent, you can apply for help through Discretionary Housing Payments
- Flexible Food Fund >
If you are on a low income, have no savings and need support with the cost of food or fuel costs then the Argyll and Bute Flexible Food Fund may be able to support you
- Free schools meals and school clothing grants >
Free school meals and a £100 school grant are available to households on low income, and you can apply online if you do not already receive these. The Scottish Government has also confirmed that free school meals will continue over school holiday periods.
- Money Advice service >
Argyll and Bute Advice Services is dedicated to helping anyone who has money worries and to provide advice and assistance on welfare benefits.
- Welfare Rights service >
The Welfare Rights team are here to provide information and advice on all aspects of welfare benefits.
- Advice services >
Our advice services pages directs you to a variety of resources to help with money, budgeting, debts, benefits and homelessness.
Have you been made redundant or laid off?.
- You may be entitled to the new benefit Universal Credit. This will cover your living costs and your rent.
- How much you will get depends on your circumstances, i.e. whether you have children, your partners income, or any other income and savings you have.
- Make a claim online at: www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit or phone 0800 328 5644.
- You normally need to attend an appointment at the jobcentre to provide proof of ID and proof of rent and any income or savings.
- Claiming as a jobseeker usually means looking for work and signing on, but follow the advice provided by the DWP/your work coach as Government advice about social distancing may change in the future.
- If you have worked without too many gaps for the last 2 or 3 years, you are likely to have enough NI contributions to qualify for contributions-based (new Style) Jobseeker’s Allowance. You can make a claim for this by phone: 0800 055 6688. You may also qualify for a top-up of Universal Credit, for example for your rent (unless you already claim housing benefit).
Are you self-isolating or ill due to COVID-19 (or caring for someone who is?)
Case1:if you are employed
- Claim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from your employer. You will be paid from Day1. Your employer may also provide additional contractual sick pay.
- Phone NHS 111 for a fit note (instead of your GP) to give to your employer.
- Once SSP comes to an end after 28 weeks (not before), see Case2
Case2: If you have been laid off
- If you have enough NI contributions, you may be able to claim contributions, you may be able to claim contributory (new style) Employment Support Allowance (ESA). You can make a claim by phoning 0800 055 6688 or online at https://www.gov.uk/employment-support-allowance/how-to-claim.
- If you don’t have enough NI contributions or if you also have rent costs, claim Universal Credit. Apply online www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit or phone 0800 328 5644.
You won’t have to attend any appointments at the JobCentre to start your claim, and won’t have to attend any medicals to prove you are unfit for work if you are affected by the coronavirus.
Are you waiting for a medical for ESA/PIP?
All face to face assessments for sickness and disability benefits have been suspended with effect from 17 March 2020.
You will be notified by the DWP about any alternative arrangements which may involve either telephone or paper based assessments.
If you claimed ESA because you are affected by the coronavirus because you have symptoms or are self isolating (or need to care someone who is), you won't have to attend any medical to prove you are unfit for work.
You can get a fit note from NHS 111.
Are you Self-Employed?
Some help may be available through the Self-employment Income Support Scheme, or other options if you are not eligible for this. Please visit our Information for Businesses page to find out more.
Help and advice on heating and energy bills
Many of us will be spending more time at home over the next few weeks – and while your top priority will be keeping yourself and your family safe, you might be worried about the effect this will have on your energy bills. Home Energy Scotland is funded by the Scottish Government and here to help.
Home Energy Scotland advisors can help with any questions you may have around staying warm and saving energy whilst self-isolating, working from home, or getting to grips with home-schooling duties. The team has the latest information from energy suppliers who have agreed emergency measures to make sure vulnerable people and those with prepayment meters do not get cut off during the coronavirus outbreak. Advisors can also help with practical advice and energy saving tips to help ease pressure on household finances.
Home Energy Scotland’s advice service is free and impartial, and they are committed to keeping people across Scotland warm and in control of their energy use and spend. If you are, or someone you know is worried about energy bills, contact a friendly advisor free on 0808 808 2282, Monday – Friday 8am – 8pm and Saturday 9am – 5pm.
Support for Private Landlords
The Scottish Government PRS Landlord (non-business) Covid-19 Loan Scheme is now available for applications https://news.gov.scot/news/aid-for-private-rental-landlords. This is a short-term emergency interest free loan, available to landlords who have 5 or less rental properties and will fund lost rental income from a single property. Landlords should still, of course, engage with their tenants as detailed in the guidance https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-landlord-and-letting-agent-faqs/.
Further information on the loan, including the application form, can be found here: https://covidlandlordloan.est.org.uk/
Enquiries can be sent to the Scottish Government at email@example.com