Where to start if you have lost your job because of coronavirus

1. Apply for welfare benefits

If you’ve lost your job because of coronavirus, you may be entitled to welfare benefits such as universal credit or new style job seeker’s allowance. You can find out about your benefits entitlements by using the Turn2us online benefits calculator.

You can get expert advice on your entitlement to benefits by contacting your local Citizen’s Advice or by finding a benefits adviser through the Turn2us website.

The Department for Work and Pensions has temporarily suspended all face-to-face assessments for health and disability-related benefits to safeguard those most at risk. Details of alternative arrangements are provided here.


2. Plan your budget

If you have been made redundant money might be tight, so you can plan your budget to get the most out of it and this might help to ease any money worries you may have too.

First, work out your income. Include any monthly income from employment, benefits, tax credits, pensions, maintenance and any other income. Add these together to get your total income.

Next, write down your total expenses - everything that you need to spend money on each month. This includes rent or mortgage, utilities bills, other costs such as council tax, food, your phone bill, travelling expenses, money you spend on debt, like loans, credit cards and child care costs, for example. Make sure you include everything. Then add up all of these things.

Then, do a quick sum: your total income minus your total expenses. You will either have a surplus or not enough money to pay all of your expenses. If you have a surplus, you can plan what you want to spend it on. That might include saving some of it.

To help, you can use the free Lloyds Bank online budget calculator.

You may not have enough money to pay all of your expenses. To begin with, look at your expenses to see if there are any you can cut or reduce.  If you still don’t have enough money to pay your expenses, it’s best to get debt advice. You can get free expert, debt advice from Mental Health and Money Advice.


3. Look after your mental health

You might find the experience of losing your job difficult. So, looking after your mental health is important.

Talking about how you are feeling can have big benefits. People who care about you like friends and family are usually happy to listen and support you. However, you can also find more information about mental health help or advice for you or someone you know through the Mental Health UK website.

Here are five things you can do to help improve your mental health:

  • Get enough sleep. Having enough sleep is really important to good mental health. Find out more about the importance of sleep and tips on how to sleep better from the NHS website.
  • Practise mindfulness and meditation. It can improve your mental health to pay more attention to the present moment. Find out more about mindfulness from the NHS website.
  • Eat healthy foods and have a balanced diet. This can be good for not only your physical health, but for your mental health too. Find out more about eating a balanced diet from the NHS website.
  • Keep physically active. Exercise can help to reduce stress and anxiety. It can increase the levels of serotonin and endorphins which are your body’s natural ‘happy’ chemicals. Find out more about keeping physically activity from the NHS website.
  • Connect with others. Face-to-face contact has reduced for everyone during the coronavirus crisis. However, you can find new ways of connecting with other people from Mental Health UK.


4. Look for a new job

If you’re going to look for a new job you can write a CV or update an existing one. Your CV is a document that tells employers what relevant qualifications, skills and experience you have to do a job.

When you apply for a job, employers will usually ask you to give them a CV or to fill in an application form. If you have an up to date CV, you can use the information to help you fill out the form.

The National Careers Service provide information, advice and guidance to help people make decisions on learning, training and work opportunities. You can also get information on writing a CV from them here.

For more information on finding a job you can visit the UK Government website.


5. Volunteer or support your community

If you’ve been made redundant, you could spend your time volunteering, even if you claim welfare benefits. For more information about volunteering and claiming welfare benefits visit the UK Government website. Helping others is not only good for communities in need, but it can boost your mental wellbeing too.

If you’d like to find out about organisations you could volunteer for, you can look at the websites below.

People have also set up local WhatsApp or Facebook groups, so local people can support each other throughout this difficult time. You can find your local groups on the Covid-19 Mutual Aid website

You can also support other people without joining an organisation. You could ask friends, family or neighbours if they need help. This could be things like helping them with shopping or getting medication. Or you could just contact people and ask them how they’re doing, and be there for them if they want to talk.

For information about helping others during the coronavirus crisis visit Mental Health UK.

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