Financial support for members and their families affected by Coronavirus

This page was last updated on 6 May at 09.30


New dedicated fund provided by UNISON’s welfare charity, There For You of £250,000 to help members who are struggling financially due to Covid-19. Apply online to the Covid19 Response Fund.

New, dedicated support pages on the UNISON national website to support the family and friends of members who have sadly died. Visit the special pages on the UNISON national website.

UNISON – There For You

UNISON is responding to the national coronavirus crisis by offering practical help to members experiencing financial hardship. Staff at the union’s dedicated charity, There for You, are seeking to reassure members that they are still offering a service to them. The team at There for You is fully committed to providing a complete service throughout the current crisis. The charity remains open and fully operational.

In addition, There For You has set up a dedicated Covid-19 response fund with £250,000 from UNISON to support members who need immediate financial support due to Covid-19.

Find out more about the Covid-19 response fund

Branches are not able to provide direct financial support to members, but we will direct any members to There For You.

Wherever possible, and to reduce any delays, please submit applications online or via email.

Visit the There For You website

Visit the Covid-19 Response Fund website

Can I get help to pay with bills?

If you are on a low income you may be entitled to Universal Credit.

Check if you are eligible for Universal Credit

The government announced on 20 March that Universal Credit will be increased by £20 per week (£1,000 a year). Working Tax Credit will also be increased by £20 per week (£1,000 a year). The increase starts from 6 April.

You might also be entitled to more help with your rent. The government has announced that the Local Housing Allowance will be increased to cover more people’s rents.

Coronavirus and claiming social security

If your employer is considering making you redundant as a result of Coronavirus

People who work in public services should not be made redundant as a result of Coronavirus, but people who work for private businesses may be at risk of redundancy.

UNISON and other unions have been working with the government to make sure workers still get paid even if their employer is considering layoffs or redundancies. The government announced on 20 March that they will pay 80% of wage costs, up to a limit of £2,500 per month, as part of a new Job Retention Scheme to protect those at risk of redundancy or lay-off.

The Chancellor announced some details relating to the Job Retention Scheme on Friday 20 March – but we do not have the substance of the legislation at this time.

So far we understand that the scheme will be backdated to 1 March and will last for three months.

To access the scheme employers will need to designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify their employees of this change. This will change the status of your employment relationship. This change in employment status for affected employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation.

Government advice on support for businesses