Welcome back – Coronavirus update, 28 March 2020

Last updated: 4.29pm, Friday 27th March 2020 by

Thanks for taking the time to visit us to see what’s happening. Things have moved on since our last update on 24 March 2020. We’re not repeating everything that has appeared here previously, so here is the latest news.

We’re still open - it’s just our London Road office that’s closed. Manage your tenancy at the touch of a button, 24 hours a day, and seven days a week! Do that through our mobile self-service app. Alternatively you can either e-mail or phone directly any of our staff. All our contact details are listed in the ‘about’ section of our web site under ‘our staff’. Unlike the app, they don’t work 24 hours a day, so please be patient. Please avoid posting letters to us in the meantime as it will take longer than normal for us to reply. Unsure who at Thenue to contact? Then either phone 0141 550 3581 or e-mail admin@thenuehousing.co.uk

We understand the effects covid-19 may be having on you, so we are trying to make your contact with us as easy as possible at this time. We have set up a system where you can text into our office for a “callback” from various teams within the organisation. (A text to us is cheaper than a phone call, and more often than not costs nothing as its part of your telephone package).

If you have a repair please text:Repair callback to 07451273112

If you have a query about housing or would like to change any of your details, i.e. phone number/email address please text; Housing callback to 07451273112

If you have a query about rents or wish to speak to your income maximisation officer please text: Rent callback to 07451273112

a staff member from one of these teams will be in touch. If you have changed your phone number recently and haven’t updated us as yet, you will still receive a callback from the requested team once you have sent the text. Otherwise if you wish to call a member of our Team, please call them on their direct line. All our numbers can be found at https://www.thenuehousing.co.uk/about-us/Our-Staff/

We understand this may be a really stressful time for you and in particular if your income is being affected due to either losing your work, your work closing down or a reduction in the hours you work. Please be assured our Income Maximisation Team are working hard to ensure we continue to provide you with a comprehensive service to give you the advice and assistance you will require during this difficult time. An increasing number of our tenants are losing their jobs, have reduced hours or are self-isolating because of the Coronavirus. We are available to help in any way we can. Our Financial Inclusion service can advise on any benefits that you may be entitled to. We will carry out a benefit check for you and assist with any benefit applications you may be entitled to. It is important that you continue to pay your rent to us. To date we have no indication from the Government that they are willing to consider financial assistance for rent ‘holidays’, but if this changes, we’ll act immediately. Getting any additional benefit that you may be entitled to can help reduce the financial burden at this time. If you are worried about paying your rent it is essential you keep your Income Maximisation Officer updated at all times. You can still contact your Income Maximisation officer. Chose one of the options from:-

Michelle: 0141-550-9568 michelle.mcdonald@thenuehousing.co.uk
Fiona: 0141-550-9562 fiona.gray@thenuehousing.co.uk
Sophie: 0141-550-9513 sophie.netherway@thenuehousing.co.uk
Nicky: 0141-550-9511 nicky.ballantyne@thenuehousing.co.uk
Iain: 0141-550-9563 iain.thomson@thenuehousing.co.uk
Kevin: 0141-550-9515 kevinmacgregor@thenuehousing.co.uk

If you are not sure who to contact then you can also email the team on incomemaximisation@thenuehousing.co.uk. Information on the ways to pay your rent can be found on our website at https://www.thenuehousing.co.uk/tenants/Rent/. If you require any further information on anything described here, you can contact our Financial Inclusion service on:
• Willie Sinclair 0141-550-9553 william.sinclair@thenuehousing.co.uk
• Ashley Frame 0141-550-9555 ashley.frame@thenuehousing.co.uk
You can also reach both these services through your Thenue App.

Jobcentres are not undertaking face to face appointments unless there are exceptional circumstances and there are no other viable options. They will contact existing customers and support new customers either by phone or via their Universal Credit Journal. It is important therefore that you check your Journal on a daily basis.

• There will be no new reviews or reassessments across all benefits for three months – this includes Universal Credit (UC), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance and the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.
• Face-to-face assessments for all sickness and disability benefits have been suspended for the next 3 months including for any new claims.
• PIP claimants, if an assessment has already taken place this will continue to be processed. If an assessment has been scheduled, claimants will be contacted by the assessment provider to discuss how this will be taken forward.

If you need to take time off work due to becoming unwell from coronavirus, you'll be entitled to your usual sick leave and sick pay. If you're self-isolating on Government advice, and would usually qualify for it, you should be entitled to statutory sick pay. Statutory sick pay currently stands at £94.25 a week – you must be employed and earn an average of at least £118 a week to be entitled to it. Here's what we know so far about the rule change:
• It will apply retrospectively from Friday 13 March. Emergency legislation needs to be passed first however, and – as of Thursday 26th March – the Department for Work and Pensions was unable to say when this would be.
• The extension in statutory sick pay relates to those self-isolating due to coronavirus. If you are off sick for any other reason, standard rules apply and statutory sick pay will kick in from day four, not day one. The Department of Health hasn't been able to confirm if the rules would also apply to those who have coronavirus and do not self-isolate.

If you are not eligible for Statutory Sick Pay, (SSP), for example if you are self-employed or earning below the Lower Earnings Limit of £118 per week – and you have coronavirus or are advised to stay at home, you can now more easily make a claim for Universal Credit or new style Employment and Support Allowance. If you are eligible for new style Employment and Support Allowance, it will now be payable from day one of sickness, if you have coronavirus or are advised to stay at home. If you are off work for any other reason, you will still have to wait the 7 days.

On Thursday of this week the UK Government announced a new scheme to help self employed workers similar to what has been offered to employees.

This “grant” will do the following
• cover 80% of monthly profits up to £2500
• It is only valid for businesses with a trading profit of less that £50k per year
• You must have submitted your Income Tax Self-Assessment tax return for the tax year

More details can be found here:

If your employer cannot cover staff costs due to the coronavirus, they may be able to access support to continue paying part of your wage, to avoid redundancies. If your employer intends to access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, they will discuss with you becoming classified as a furloughed worker. This would mean that you are kept on your employer’s payroll, rather than being laid off. To qualify for this scheme, you should not undertake work for them while you are furloughed. This will allow your employer to claim a grant of up to 80% of your wage for all employment costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. You will remain employed while furloughed. Your employer could choose to fund the differences between this payment and your salary, but does not have to. If your salary is reduced as a result of these changes, you may be eligible for support through the welfare system, including Universal Credit. Initially the Government announced they intend for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to run for at least three months from 1 March 2020, but will extend if necessary.

From April 6th this year, Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit will increase by £20 per week alongside the announced planned benefit annual increase. For example, a UC claimant aged 25 or more, will have their standard allowance increase from £317.82 per month to £409.89. This additional money will last for one year only. From June the self-employed will be able to claim 80% of their average monthly income over a 3 year period, up to a maximum of £2,500.00. If 80% of your monthly income is not high, you may be entitled to claim Universal Credit where the minimum income floor will not apply. It would be advisable to have a benefit check in this instance. The scheme will run for 3 months and backdated for 3 months but will be extended if required.

If you are more than 1 year but less than 3 and you have filed you tax return, then the average monthly income will be used for that period you have been self-employed. HMRC will contact all those self-employed who qualify for the scheme. If you have less than a year of self-employment, then you will not have access to this scheme, you will have to claim Universal Credit. The minimum income floor does not apply if you are in your first year of self-employment. If you have profits of £50,000 or more then you do not qualify for the scheme.

Question: If someone is working and they are laid off should they apply for UC online?
ANSWER: Yes, as they are not furloughed.

Question: If someone is working and their work has closed but they haven’t been laid off
and they are unsure if they are going to get full or partial wages/sick pay then
what should they do?
ANSWER: They are furloughed, so their employer has to apply for 80% of their salary.
Depending upon their salary they may qualify for some Universal Credit
especially if they have housing costs. Any salary paid by the employer will be
taken into consideration as normal with Universal Credit.

Question: If someone is working but on statutory sick pay can they apply for Universal
ANSWER: SSP is paid by the employer, if they have housing costs they would apply for UC
to get those covered.

Question: If someone who is self-employed do they have to apply for Universal Credit
ANSWER: Yes, you can make the claim on a computer or smartphone using the link
https://www.universal-credit.service.gov.uk/postcode-checker. If you require any
further information on anything described within this page, you can contact our
Financial Inclusion service on:
• Willie Sinclair 0141-550-9553 william.sinclair@thenuehousing.co.uk
• Ashley Frame 0101-550-9555 ashley.frame@thenuehousing.co.uk

Work carried out in your home, for example by tradespeople carrying out repairs and maintenance, can continue, provided that the trades-person is well and has no symptoms. It is important to ensure that Public Health guidelines, including maintaining a two metre distance from any household occupants, are followed to ensure everyone’s safety. No work will be carried out in any household which is isolating or where an individual is being shielded, unless it is to remedy a direct risk to the safety of the household, such as emergency plumbing or repairs, and where the trades-person is willing to do so. No work will be carried out by a trades-person who has coronavirus symptoms, however mild.

Emergency phone numbers for out of hours services are all posted on the 24 March 2020 update. Here at Thenue we are all trying, under the difficult circumstances to do our best for you. We will always go the extra mile. Whatever you are facing, we can’t guarantee to solve it, but we can guarantee to help. Unsure who at Thenue to contact? Then either phone 0141 550 3581 or e-mail admin@thenuehousing.co.uk. Anyone in distress, out with office hours then e-mail Charles.turner@thenuehousing.co.uk.

Stay safe