Institute for Fiscal Studies

September 2020

During the pandemic, the government introduced temporary changes to the social security system, quickly designing and implementing new schemes in an attempt to protect households from the severe impact of the pandemic on the labour market.

In this report, the Institute for Fiscal Studies looks at three key elements of the income protection offered during the crisis: the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) for furloughed employees, the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) and universal credit (UC). Researchers examined the path of financial outcomes for those who drew on these strands of support, both before and after the support was received.

Key findings included:

  • On average, new claimants of UC saw a fall in net income of about 40% during the crisis (even including UC itself)
  • For households with a furloughed employee (whose employers did not voluntarily top up the government’s support to maintain full pay), this figure is 13%
  • For the self-employed receiving the SEISS grant, it was just 4% on average

Download the report