Financial support for members and their families affected by Coronavirus

This page was last updated on 7 September 2021

England is now in step 4 of the government’s roadmap. This means that most legal restrictions have been lifted.

However, the government advises that:

  • Employers should gradual phase in returns to workplaces where staff have been working from home.
  • If you have Covid-19 symptoms, or have been in close contact with someone who has had a positive test, you should have a daily test.
  • You should continue to isolate if you have a positive test.
  • You should consider wearing a face covering in crowded areas.
  • You should continue to minimise social contacts.

Employers still have a legal duty to keep workplaces safe and to keep their employees safe whilst at work and when travelling to work.

UNISON is able to support members with several different forms of financial assistance, ranging from specific Covid-19 grants to debt advice and support on writing off debts, benefits advice and winter fuel grants.

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.

Visit the There For You website

UNISON Debtline

If you’re struggling under the weight of debts, including mortgage payment holidays, UNISON’s Debtline service is available to help you manage money and stay in control of your debt. UNISON’s Debtline can help you access a debt relief order, individual voluntary agreement or bankruptcy.

UNISON’s Debtline service is available free to all members to help. Simply call UNISON Debtline on freephone 0800 389 3302. You’ll have an initial chat with one of our trained advisors to get a true reflection of your circumstances.

UNISON member Jackie Dolphin has used Debtline’s services. She said: “After 18 months of worrying, I now feel like a huge weight has been lifted.”

She described how she felt conflicted about reaching out for support. “It’s pride. You think ‘no, I can’t’, and then you’ve got to admit that you’ve got into debt, that you’ve made errors. It’s facing up to the fact that that’s what’s happened. Once you’ve faced it, that’s the way forward.”

Find out more about UNISON Debtline

What about support from the Government?

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 applied from 6 April 2020, but is under threat as the Conservative government has refused to rule out withdrawing this increase.

Navigating the world of social security and government support can be difficult. UNISON has built a social security calculator to help members to work out what, and how much they may be entitled to.

View the UNISON benefit calculator