Coronavirus Frequently Asked Questions

Coronavirus Frequently Asked Questions

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • a high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
  • a new, continuous cough – this means you've started coughing repeatedly
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

Don't leave home if you or someone you live with has either of these symptons and arrange a PCR test. 

 

How can I stop coronavirus from spreading?

Visit the NHS website for more information on how you can reduce your risk of catching the virus or spreading it to other people.

It is a legal requirement to self-isolate if you are told to by NHS test and trace.

When and for how long do I need to self-isolate?

If you test positive, your self-isolation period includes the day your symptoms started (or the day you had the test, if you did not have symptoms) and the next 10 full days. You may need to self-isolate for longer if you get symptoms while self-isolating or your symptoms do not go away.

Visit the NHS website for more information.

 

I'm self-isolating – do I need to let you know?

If you feel unwell or are self-isolating and have an appointment booked for a repair or property visit, please let us know and we can rearrange the appointment at a future date.

I’m self-isolating and it’s very lonely – what should I do?

Many of us will find social distancing and self-isolation boring, lonely and frustrating. You may also feel worried or anxious, have problems sleeping or miss your family and friends. But there are some simple things that you can do to help you stay physically and mentally active during this time:

  • Try exercising at home – the NHS website has some great ideas
  • Stay in touch with family and friends over the phone or on social media, so you don’t feel lonely
  • Look after your mental wellbeing – Every Mind Maters has some helpful tips
  • Make time for your favourite hobby or the things you enjoy – like reading, cooking, watching films or listening to the radio
  • Try to eat healthy and drink plenty of water

We know that some of you are worried about how you'll pay your rent if you have coronavirus, are self-isolating or your job situation changes. We want to reassure our customers that no one will lose their home as a result of financial hardship caused by the virus. If you're worried about paying your rent, please get in touch. We're here to provide help and advice.

 

What if I can’t work – do I qualify for Statutory Sick Pay?

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is now available for eligible people diagnosed with, or self-isolating due to coronavirus. It’s also available if you have been told to self-isolate before surgery. In all of these circumstances you must have had to isolate for at least 4 days, although it’s now payable from day one instead of day four for affected individuals. As well as this, the government’s introducing a temporary alternative to a fit note for coronavirus related absences – you will be able to get it by calling the NHS on 111. But you only need a fit note after 7 days. SSP is paid at the rate of £96.35 per week.

To qualify you will need to be classed as an employee, earn an average of at least £120 per week, tell your employer you’re sick before their deadline. Agency workers are also entitled to statutory sick pay. You will not be eligible if you are getting Statutory Maternity Pay or have received the maximum amount of Statutory Sick Pay (28 weeks).

Find out more on the government website.

 

What do I do if I’m not eligible for Statutory Sick Pay?

If you’re not entitled to SSP you may be able to claim New Style Employment and Support Allowance, based on your national insurance contributions. This is paid at the rate of £74.70 per week. This will be available from the first day of sickness or absence rather than the eighth day.

If you can’t get Statutory Sick Pay or New Style Employment and Support Allowance you may be able to claim Universal Credit without going to the job centre. But this is usually not paid until 1 month and 7 days after your claim – although you can ask for a repayable advance. However, if you’re getting other benefits such as Housing Benefit or Tax Credits these will stop, and you may be no better off. Seek advice before claiming if you’re on other benefits.

You can apply for Universal Credit online hereIf you need to make an appointment, call the number you are given when you submit your claim and explain your situation. In these circumstances, you may be able to receive up to a month’s advance upfront without attending a job centre.

When applying for Universal Credit, you'll need to verify your identity. You can do this in three ways:

  1. By using GOV.UK Verify
  2. By being called back by the DWP or responding to messages on their journal from their case manager 
  3. By using your existing Government Gateway – you may have used this to check your tax credits, send a personal tax return, or check their state pension. 

Find out more on the government website.

 

What if i'm a EU National?

If you're an EU national and your income has been affected due to coronavirus or for any other reason, you can apply for Universal Credit. You will have to pass the habitual residence test, unless you have already received a confirmation of your settled status which gives you the entitlement. If you don’t have the settled status yet, you need to apply immediately. You could write in your journal why you’ve stopped working and that you have retained worker status which means you will pass habitual residence test and be entitled to Universal Credit. However, your entitlement may only last 6 months.

 

What if I’m on Universal Credit?

You can access your online journal or call the Universal Credit helpline (0800 328 5644).

If your income reduces because you have coronavirus, have to self-isolate, are caring for someone in your household who is affected, or your income has reduced for some other reason, your Universal Credit should change to take this into account. Jobcentres have also opened again.

 

What if I claim disability benefits?

Some reviews or reassessments for Universal Credit (UC), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance and the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit, whether for existing or new claims, have restarted but there is a backlog. You may be waiting sometime for these. They may happen in person or over the phone.

 

How can I pay my rent if I’m self-isolating or have the virus?

  • Online - You can pay on-line through your customer account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Login or register here
  • Direct Debit - You can set up and manage a Direct Debit through your online customer account
  • Over the phone -24 hours a day, 7 days a week by dialling 0800 652 0898
  • Bank transfer - you can pay your rent straight form your bank account to ours. Our account number is 40614026 and our sort code is 52-41-07. Please quote your tenancy reference number so that we know who the payment is from

 

What if I can’t pay my rent?

We know that some of you are worried about how you'll pay your rent if you have the virus or need to self-isolate. We want to reassure all our customers that no one will lose their home as a result of this virus.

We still have to collect rent, but if you are in financial difficulties, we can help. If you’re worried about paying your rent, please let us know by getting in touch. Our Income recovery and tenancy support teams can help by providing advice with financial and benefit matters.

Our services will remain in operation, however, a number of our staff are being impacted by self-isolation so, we’re experiencing some disruption to our services and may have to postpone some non-urgent repairs at short notice. We thank you for your understanding and we’re sorry for any inconvenience caused.

In situations where an emergency or urgent repair is needed, we’re prioritising and taking action within our published timescales to ensure your safety and wellbeing.

Our routine repairs are unfortunately taking longer than usual, with a wait time of 8 - 15 weeks, but we’re continuing to put additional resources in place, including specialist contractors, to help manage this.

What do I need to be aware of before my repairs appointment?

We're continuing to put measures in place to ensure your safety, and the safety of our staff. When arriving at your home, we’ll ask you a series of pre-screening questions to check if you or anyone in your home is self-isolating and/or has any of the coronavirus symptoms. We’ll bring personal protective equipment and cleaning materials and we’ll also ask you to keep out of the room or area where we’ll be working. To give added protection, we’re encouraging our staff to take regular lateral flow tests and we encourage you to wear a mask and socially distance when we’re working in your home.

If you’ve taken the decision to self-isolate at home, or if you or someone in your household has tested positive for coronavirus, please let us know when reporting a repair or if you need to re-schedule an appointment.

What measures are in place to support vulnerable and older customers?

We’re continuing to follow government guidance to ensure the safety and support of our older and more vulnerable customers living in sheltered and extra care homes. This includes requesting visitors wear face masks in communal areas, providing hand sanitiser and encouraging visitors to do a lateral flow test before arrival.  

Where can I get help if I’m experiencing domestic abuse?

Coronavirus will have a serious impact on the lives of women, children and men who are experiencing domestic abuse. If you’re already living with domestic abuse, you may not be able to see the friends and family who usually support you, and some of the places where you go for help or treatment may be closed or offering a reduced service. Please remember that you can still call 999 if you or someone else is in danger. While some domestic abuse support services are not able to offer face to face meetings at this time, there is still help and advice available online and over the phone. These local and national organisations are working hard to ensure they can still support you.

 

  • Hampshire Domestic Abuse Service – 03300 165112
  • Stop Domestic Abuse (Portsmouth) – 023 9206 5494
  • Aurora New Dawn – 023 9421 6816
  • Yellow Door (Southampton) – 023 8063 6313
  • PIPPA (Southampton) – 023 8091 7917
  • National Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0808 2000 247
  • Men’s Advice Line – 0808 801 0327
  • National LBGT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0800 999 5428
  • Silent help from the police: If you need help but are unable to speak because of domestic abuse ring 999 when they answer press 55
  • If you’re a child or young person and domestic abuse is happening in your home or relationship, then call Childline on 0800 1111.

We understand that these are challenging times and we’re all spending more time at home, which may make you more aware of your neighbours’ habits and the noise they’re making. Please try to be tolerant of your neighbours and consider how your behaviour may affect them.

Please ontinue to report ASB incidents in the usual way. Find out more here.