We understand that this is a difficult and uncertain time for many of our customers and that the coronavirus (COVID-19) is having a significant impact on the economy.
If you have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis and you have financial concerns, support is available.
Council Tax - additional support
As announced by government, if you are a working age recipient of Council Tax support/reduction during the financial year 2020-21, we will provide a further reduction in your annual Council Tax bill of up to £150 using discretionary powers.
There is no need to make a claim for this additional support, a further reduction will be applied automatically if you qualify and will be shown on your Council Tax bill.
Struggling to pay your Council Tax?
If you’re of working age and need help towards your rent, in most cases you should apply for Universal Credit which has replaced several benefits.
If you have an existing claim for Universal Credit and are required to stay at home or are ill as a result of coronavirus, you will need to report your change in circumstances. If the coronavirus outbreak means you are working fewer hours, the amount of Universal Credit you receive will adjust as your earnings change.
If you’re of pension age, or if you’re working age and live in specified accommodation or fall into the Severe Disability Premium gateway, you can claim Housing Benefit.
If you have an existing claim for Housing Benefit and are required to stay at home or are ill as a result of coronavirus you need to report your change in circumstances.
If you’re having problems making a claim or if you need further advice, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Due to the current situation, we’re experiencing a high volume of calls and emails but will be in touch as soon as possible.
Changes to local housing allowance
The government has announced changes to the way local housing allowance is calculated, which took effect from 1st April 2020. In some cases this will result in an increase in benefit.
There is no need for you to do anything. If you are affected by these changes we will reassess your claim and you will be notified in writing - find out more about local housing allowance.
Increase to additional earnings disregard
The additional earnings disregard for Housing Benefit claims and for some Council Tax Reduction claims, has been increased from £17.10 to £37.10.
This is the amount we can ignore from your wages or Working Tax Credit amount if you meet the criteria.
Why has this happened?
As part of the response to COVID-19, Working Tax Credit has been increased by up to £20.00 per week. This means the additional earnings disregard has been increased so that customers can retain more of their income.
There is no need for you to do anything. If you are affected by these changes we will reassess your claim and you will be notified in writing.
Support for business and the self-employed
The government have announced a range of schemes to support businesses, employees and the self-employed, including 100% business rate relief to qualifying premises regardless of their rateable value.
Struggling to pay your business rates?
Test and Trace Support Payment
If you're on a low income and cannot work during self-isolation, you may be able to access a lump sum Test and Trace Support Payment of £500, which will be paid directly into your bank account.
The scheme will run from the 28th September 2020 to the 31st January 2021.
If you have been unable to register a birth because of the measures in place to manage the coronavirus outbreak, you can now make a claim for Child Benefit before the birth is registered.
Statutory Sick Pay
If you cannot work due to coronavirus or if you are staying at home because of government advice, and are eligible for Statutory Sick Pay, you will get it from day one, rather than from the fourth day of your illness.
If you are a gig worker and / or on a zero hours contract, you may be entitled to sick pay.
If you are not eligible to receive statutory sick pay you can apply for Universal Credit or New Style Employment Allowance.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
All UK employers with a PAYE scheme will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis. This applies to employees who have been asked to stop working, but who are being kept on the pay roll, known as ‘furloughed workers’. HMRC will reimburse 80% of their wages, up to £2,500 per month.