Manx Earnings Replacement Allowance
The Manx Earnings Replacement Allowance ('MERA') provides an income of £200 a week to people who have either been laid off or made redundant from their employment, or have lost their self-employed work, since 2 March 2020.
It was introduced from 6 April 2020 and will be available up to 20 September 2020.
MERA cannot be paid for any period after 20 September 2020.
To be entitled to MERA you must be –
- aged 18 or over, but under state pension age; and
- unemployed, capable of work and available to take up work immediately.
You must also be ordinarily resident in the IoM and have been ordinarily resident in the IoM for at least 13 of the 26 weeks before you make your claim.
MERA is a benefit for the individual. If you have a partner, your partner’s income won’t affect your entitlement to MERA. Your savings or other assets also won’t affect your entitlement to MERA.
You won't be paid MERA for any week in which you have earnings of more than £50.
You can't get MERA before 1 June if you have received a Coronavirus Business Support Grant from the Department for Enterprise. But you may be able to get it after then.
MERA is fully taken into account when assessing income-based jobseeker’s allowance, income support and employed person’s allowance.
MERA is not taxable.
If you’re still out of work when MERA ends on 20 September and you need financial help you should consider claiming other social security benefits, typically jobseeker’s allowance.
MERA Application Support Line
If you are having trouble applying for MERA online guidance is available or please call the support line on +44 1624 648125.
Work, earnings and National Insurance conditions
Employees must have been earning at least £200 per week, on average, in at least 13 of the 26 weeks immediately before the date they make their claim to be entitled to MERA.
An employee who was on maternity or adoption leave and who was being paid at least £200 a week by their employer for 13 or more of the 26 weeks immediately before the date they make their claim may also be entitled to MERA if they are unemployed, capable of work and available to take up work immediately when they make their claim.
An employee who was on maternity leave or adoption leave for any period during the 26 weeks before they make their claim who can't meet the above conditions may still qualify for MERA if in the 26 weeks immediately before their period of maternity or adoption leave commenced they could meet those conditions.
Self-employed people must have actually registered as being self-employed with The Treasury before 2 March 2020 and have paid Class 2 National Insurance contributions for at least 13 of the 26 weeks prior to the date they make their claim to be entitled to MERA.
Self-employed people who had not registered with The Treasury as being self-employed before 2 March 2020 won’t qualify for MERA, unless they can satisfy the work and earnings test as an employee (see above).
A self-employed person who was on maternity leave or adoption leave for any period during the 26 weeks before they make their claim who can't meet the above conditions may still qualify for MERA if in the 26 weeks immediately before their period of maternity or adoption leave commences they could meet those conditions.
Self-employed people who had registered with The Treasury as being self-employed before 2 March 2020, but who have been issued with a Small Earnings Exception certificate (or would have been if they had applied for one) and hadn’t paid any class 2 National Insurance contributions before 2 March 2020, also won’t be able to qualify for MERA, unless they can satisfy the work and earnings test as an employee (see above).
How to claim MERA
You should claim MERA online.
If you can’t claim online you should contact on +44 1624 648125.
You have up to one month to claim MERA. If you don’t claim within a month of the date you became unemployed or last worked you may lose money you might otherwise have been entitled to.
How and when MERA will be paid
MERA is paid fortnightly in arrears by direct credit transfer to your bank account.
In exceptional circumstances it may be paid at a post office using a MiCard.
If you’re already getting contribution-based jobseeker's allowance
If you’re already getting a jobseeker’s allowance of more than £200 a week there would be no advantage to you claiming MERA.
Returning to work
If you've been entitled to MERA it will continue to be paid for 14 days from the day after you return to work.