Has the pandemic put you out of work?

Here we go again! While most agree another national lockdown is necessary, there’s no doubt it will have yet further negative impact on our struggling economy.

If you’re unable to work from home, then the furlough scheme continues for the time being to help employers keep you on the payroll; but for a growing number of businesses – especially those that rely on a brisk Christmas trade – Government help hasn’t been enough.  The number of redundancies is growing everywhere, and new employment may be hard to find in the current climate.

Have you been made redundant – perhaps for the first time in your working life – or do you think the furlough scheme is just staving off the inevitable?  If so, Citizens Advice can help you manage the situation.  We can check that your employer has followed correct procedures and given you any redundancy payment you’re entitled to, and help you identify any unfair dismissal or discrimination. We can help you apply for appropriate benefits, negotiate mortgage and rental ‘holidays’, and help with budget planning. We may also be able to help you access local schemes set up to help those specifically affected by the pandemic.  Even if the way ahead seems clear, it’s worth checking your status, as Anna’s story shows.

How we helped Anna*

Anna had been a bar manageress for two years, but had been furloughed for six months as, unable to offer ‘a substantial meal’, the bar had struggled to stay open.  Sadly, she had eventually been given notice and two weeks redundancy pay.  The terms of her redundancy seemed in order and her friend had urged her to apply for Universal Credit quickly, as there would be a five week wait before her first payment and ‘who knows how long it will take in this crisis?’  Anna had started to make a claim online and had been about to submit it when she thought she would just check with Citizens Advice.  She called her local Citizens Advice Adviceline where an adviser directed her to an online benefit calculator.  This revealed that not only would she not be eligible for Universal Credit – her live-in partner earned too much – but that they would also lose their working tax credits, a vital source of extra income, particularly in these straitened times.  Our adviser helped Anna to claim new-style Jobseekers Allowance instead which would support her for the first six months.  We also suggested she contact her mortgage provider to request a payment ‘holiday’ and gave her the contact details of a hub in her local area providing practical and emotional support for the unemployed.

So, if you find yourself in a similar situation and don’t know what to do next – or even if you think you do! – why not contact us (details below) Citizens Advice is here for you!

*Names have been changed for reasons of confidentiality.


By Phone 0808 278 7980 (free) to speak to an adviser

By Email: use enquiry form

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Office opening: Further details

South West Surrey Domestic Abuse Outreach Service 01483 898884



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