Question: What are the Government measures for people whose incomes are being hit due to Covid-19? I haven't been tested yet, but I am self-quarantining because I have a fever, and my wife has been told that the hotel she works in is closing for a few weeks.
Answer: The Government is working hard to put supports in place for the thousands of people affected by this. The measures introduced are aimed at reducing the risk of people getting sick, and aim to mitigate the economic fallout, according to the CEO of Taxback.com Joanna Murphy.
There is a new pandemic unemployment payment for people (employees and self-employed) who have lost employment due to Covid-19. Application is made by way of a one-page form available from Welfare.ie. This is for six weeks at a flat rate of €203 per week.
Employees who are laid off temporarily or experience a reduction in work hours can apply for the standard Jobseeker's Benefit or Jobseeker's Allowance.
The Government has also introduced changes to the Illness Benefit rules, so that if you are diagnosed with Covid-19 or are suspected of having it, and are medically required to self-isolate, you can get income support and you will not have to wait the standard six days before you can apply. The personal rate will increase from €203 to €305 per week for up to two weeks.
Supplementary Welfare Allowance will be available for both employees and self-employed who don't qualify for the Illness Benefit but are required to self-isolate or are diagnosed with Covid-19, Ms Murphy added.
In general, most social welfare benefits are taxable sources of income where tax is not withheld at source. In some circumstances, where the employee or self-employed earns a higher income, this could lead to an additional tax liability.
This means that if your total income is not covered by your credits and reliefs, you may have a tax liability at the end of the year.
Question: Like so many people, I'm already bearing the financial brunt of the Covid-19 national emergency. I usually work part-time but my hours have been completely cut until further notice. I'm concerned because I need to pay my rent to keep a roof over my head, but I also have a car loan with the credit union that I repay monthly. There is no way I will be able to afford everything while this continues.
Answer: Firstly, you should apply for the Jobseeker's Benefit from Welfare.ie. In relation to repayments of loans, Kevin Johnson, who is the CEO of the Credit Union Development Association, says you can be assured that all credit unions will be understanding and flexible toward their members' genuine financial limitations over the coming months.
He says the credit unions have also asked the Central Bank for further guidance on short-term forbearance measures granted to people who are in danger of missing loan payments, to ensure their long-term credit rating is not negatively affected. Credit unions will engage fully with all members in difficulty, Mr Johnson says. He advises you make contact with your credit union and explain your situation.
The best way to do this at the moment would be via email or over the phone.
Question: I only began driving when I was 45. I am 47 now and despite my best efforts, I am still on a learner driving permit, having failed the test three times. I am going to try for my test again in the summer. In the meantime, I have a 24-year-old son who wants to get insured on my car. But my insurer said it can't put my son on my policy as I don't have my full licence. Is there any way around this?
Answer: There are a lot of variables to consider here. Jonathan Hehir of Insuremycars.ie advises that you should speak with an insurance broker who will assess your individual situation and be able to advise you as to which insurers might consider offering you and your son a policy.
The broker will do the leg work and find out how much each insurer would quote you, he says.
Not all insurers will add a driver under the age of 25 regardless of your licence, so straight away, you are working off a smaller pool of insurers, Mr Hehir says.
When your son turns 25, he will automatically be classified as a better risk by certain insurers, so the market should open up somewhat.
The type of car you drive will also influence your ability to get insurance and the price you will need to pay.
The measures being introduced are aimed at reducing the risk of people getting sick, and aim to mitigate the economic fall-out.
Not all motor insurers will add a driver under the age of 25, regardless of your licence, which means you are working off a small pool of providers.