Martin Lewis and his team of money-saving experts regularly post updates on all of the changes through his website, television appearances, social media, and weekly newsletter.
The founder of MoneySavingExpert.com recently conducted a Twitter poll to ask his subscribers how they thought the coronavirus crisis would affect them financially.
Over 77,000 responded and 39% said their situation would get worse, 36% said there would be no change and 25% were optimistic that the lockup would improve their finances.
“Although the coronavirus united the nation to support the NHS, it has led to a clear division on the financial impact,” Martin wrote in this week’s newsletter.
“While the economy is expected to shrink by a third in the quarter, the number of people who have experienced extreme hardship unfortunately does not need to be explained. Yet the fact that one in four people will see an improvement probably occurs; for many people who are still working, locked up at home, their income is stable and their expenses considerably reduced. It even lets some start saving for the first time, “he added.
Coronavirus in Scotland
In the last issue of the newsletter, Martin drew up a new list of 19 “keys to know” which, according to him, aim to “guarantee, whatever your situation, that you are equipped with all the new information discovered” by us and announced by the government, so you can support yourself and your family as best you can. “
Due to the rapid nature of the Covid-19 epidemic, Martin and his team have four regularly updated guides that are worth checking out for more detailed information.
19 new “to know” coronaviruses from Martin Lewis
1. Self-employed? If you have savings set aside to pay taxes, there is no need to reduce your universal credit – Universal credit disbursements are reduced if you have savings (or technical capital). The drop starts at £ 6,000 in savings and at £ 16,000 you can’t claim.
2. Advice on the coronavirus of the director of the limited company / video on the wiggling room – those who work through small public companies of which they are directors (as many companies ask them) already know that there is very little public support available, because dividend payments are not covered. I’ll explain it in my 10-minute help video on coronavirus, a small, limited company – watch it here.
3. Now lock in cheap energy because prices are three-year low, but oil prices are going up – save £ 350 + / year. In recent weeks, the coronavirus collapse means that oil prices have bottomed out for 17 years, but on Sunday, Russia, the United States, Saudi Arabia et al. Have agreed to massively reduce production, to increase the price. While this is only one component of our domestic energy prices, it is important.
Martin recommends using this energy club link to compare specifically inexpensive fixed rates that lock current rates.
4. The employer refuses the leave because he does not have the money for wages in the meantime? You can accept late payment. The state will cover the salaries of employees on leave from March to May.
Businesses should be able to request this money around April 20 and hopefully receive it a few days later.
Many people pointed out to Martin that their company was so short of cash to pay now that they would not leave but would rather offer unpaid leave / layoffs – many asked if their company could delay their wages.
The British government has told the financial journalist that it is a business between the employer and the employee, but you and your employer can agree that they can pay a little later, although this is best done through a formal agreement .
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5. You can now request that the first £ 500 of your authorized overdraft be interest – free for three months – the regulator’s emergency measures, the Financial Conduct Authority, took effect on April 14.
The changes include:
The first £ 500 of authorized overdrafts may be interest free for three months (for overdrafts under £ 500, the total balance will be 0%).
Those with accounts that have an overdraft facility can request one of these 0% overdrafts, subject to a credit rating.
Some banks do more and automatically grant all overdrawn customers an interest free overdraft of £ 500 – see the full list here.
6. Providers of cards and personal loans must now, upon request, grant three-month leaves to those in difficulty. – FCA emergency measures, which came into force on April 14, also oblige banks to grant those who suffer from coronavirus who request payment holidays of up to three months on personal loans, cards and store credit and catalog debits.
7. If you are self-employed, you must submit any already late 2018/19 tax return before Thursday, April 23 to be eligible for assistance. – In early June, the self-employed income support scheme will pay three months of subsidies representing up to 80% of the profits of the self-employed, capped at £ 2,500 / month. To be eligible, you must have filed a 2018/19 income tax return.
8. Probable auto financing announcement this week – FCA should offer a freeze on payments just like mortgages, credit cards and personal loans for three months of vacation.
9. Parents whose income has dropped? Are you eligible for the child benefit? Family allowances are worth £ 21.05 / week for children under 16, £ 35 / week for two.
If no one in the household earns more than £ 50,000 / year, you owe everything, above what you earn less, until at £ 60,000 / year, you pay nothing (and yes, these are crackers that two parents earning £ 49,999 get it, but the one who makes £ 60,000 doesn’t).
Those earning around or just above these limits who have been on leave, laid off, or on leave without pay can now claim – you can also backdate requests up to three months.
10. Fallen through the gaps, unsupported? Fifteen days ago, Martin wrote about “nine things the Chancellor could change to help people’s blog”, and he now understands his responses to five of them.
He pointed out some problems:
Dividends from public limited companies are not covered
New employees after February 28 cannot be put on leave
No help for the self-employed who started a business last year
No help if companies refuse to leave, but make layoffs instead
“I am constantly asked for news of change on these and other gaps. So I have to be clear – unless there are minor clarifications on the directions, there are none. And the strong signal I am getting from key sources is that there will be none, certainly not unless, as it is not expected, the lockout extends beyond the financial limit of 3 months ”, he writes in the newsletter.
“Of course, this is not a reason to stop campaigning for change (MSE and I do it too), but it is a reason to plan your finances that things will not change, to ask universal credit if you haven’t already done so and do what you can. I am sorry to endure this unwanted news, “he added.
11. Is the employer not sure to put you on leave? Last week, Martin wrote a cheat sheet for the coronavirus retention program – 12 simple pieces of information for employees and small businesses. This is a simple way to prepare if you are trying to persuade employers to put you on leave.
Putting on leave sometimes implies that both parties accept a contractual modification. The job specialist ACAS has accelerated the drafting of its model letter of dismissal for employers so that MSE can include it – making it an easy legal way to get in touch with someone.
“One of the biggest holes is that of those who changed jobs after February 28, which means that their new employer cannot get them. In last week’s email, I explained that I changed the official guidelines to confirm that companies can re-hire staff who left voluntarily after February 28.
“Of course, most former employers will say no, but don’t let pride keep you from asking,” said Martin.
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12. Revenues dropped due to suspension, layoff, business difficulties? Make a budget. With millions of people facing sudden income shocks, it is essential to try to budget and plan for spending. Even though income is only 20% lower, as it is for many people on leave, it is a big change in your discretionary spending.
13. Register newborns for family allowance without registering their birth – normally, you must come in person to register a birth before obtaining family allowances. Just tell the HMRC when you request that you were unable to register your baby’s birth due to a coronavirus. See the full help for kids who are asking for step-by-step help here.
14. Can I apply for universal credit if I want to receive payment from the self-employment income support plan? Yes. In a nutshell, apply for the universal credit now, then when you receive payment from the self-employment income support plan, it is considered income, so your universal credit will decrease.
15. Earnings in overtime, bonuses and possibly sales commissions are taken into account for the payment of the leave – with the leave, your work is suspended and the State covers 80% of your salary, up to a maximum of £ 2,500 / month.
The definition of salary is “regular conventional salary”, which includes base salary, compulsory commission and overtime worked.
“Previously we thought the sales commission didn’t count, now it seems (although we are waiting for an official response, so this is yet to be confirmed until next week) if it is in your contract, for example , you get 10% of every sale, it’s covered, “said Martin.
As for the amount of overtime / commission you receive, again, this needs to be confirmed – for more detailed information, see How is the lay-off salary calculated? here.
16.You can now request a train refund online / remotely – almost all train tickets purchased before 23 March are refundable since then, but you may have to pay an administrative fee of £ 10 on season tickets.
A number of companies were ridiculously saying that you have to go to a station office to sort it out, now the train companies allow all passengers to get refunds remotely, usually online. See rail refund help on MSE here.
17. One in nine mortgage loans is now on payment holiday. Need that? Do it – the commercial banking organization UK Finance has just announced that more than 1.2 million days of mortgage leave have been granted. You can apply for a mortgage payment leave online with all the major lenders. Apply however, don’t just stop direct debits – it will kill your credit score. Read more about it here.
18. Online universal credit application s – The Department of Labor and Pensions (DWP) has processed 1.4 million claims in the past three weeks alone, 10 times normal demand.
Once you have completed your request online, they will call you back (and in some cases may not need to call and verify at all), freeing up phone lines for those who cannot log in to claim. Read the application guide here.
19. Really wrong? Is there a grant to help you? It won’t work for the most part, but if you’re really struggling, it’s worth two minutes on the Turn2Us grant finder. Most individual grants are not specifically for the coronavirus, but for those with low incomes, this can help – they tend to be targeted at specific areas, for example, young entrepreneurs in difficulty, those in education or musicians.
You can find more information on a range of money saving topics and sign up for Martin’s weekly newsletter here.
The Martin Lewis Money Show Live is on ITV at 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 16.
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