In response to the current Coronavirus pandemic, the Government has made a series of announcements to help people through this extremely difficult time.
Unfortunately, we are unable to offer face-to-face appointments with our Money and Benefits Advisers, or your Neighbourhood Services Officers, but we are still able to provide support via telephone or email. If you would like to speak with someone, please contact 0800 587 0211 or [email protected].
Help with rent
Getting behind with your rent or getting into debt can be distressing so we are continuing to offer benefit entitlement and debt advice to our residents. We can also discuss affordable payment plans to help you if you are at risk of falling behind with your rent or you are struggling with other debts. Please contact us to discuss your situation as soon as possible.
If you require help with paying your rent and are of working age, you will need to make an application for Universal Credit. The Department for Work & Pensions staff have been designated as key workers so that the benefits system continues to provide the support people need. Job centres remain open for staff to work in, but the public will only be allowed in under exceptional circumstances. Appointments, including ID verification are being carried out by telephone wherever possible.
Are you entitled to Universal Credit?
You will need to first check your eligibility before making a claim for Universal Credit to see what impact it might have on your finances UC: Eligibility
A new claim for Universal Credit is made online Universal Credit: How to claim
People unable to work for more than seven days because of Covid-19 can now obtain an isolation note online. People who need to claim UC because of coronavirus will not be required to produce a fit note or an isolation note. Further information can be found here.
Isolation notes provide employees with evidence for their employers that they have been advised to self-isolate due to coronavirus, either because they have symptoms, or they live with someone who has symptoms. It can be obtained online via the NHS website and NHS 111 online.
Changes in your income
If you are currently receiving Universal Credit and your income has been affected, it is important that you report the change. Please log into your Universal Credit account and report the change via your journal.
If you are currently receiving Housing Benefit and/or Local Council Tax Support, please report any change in your income to your local council.
- City of York Council residents can report a change online here. If you do not have access to the internet call the Benefits Department on 01904 551556.
- Scarborough District Council residents can report a change online here or by calling 01723 232323.
- Leeds City Council residents can report a change online here or by calling 0113 2224444.
- Hartlepool Borough Council residents are currently unable to report a change online. Details on how to report a change can be found here.
Advice if you have been furloughed
If you and your employer both agree, your employer might be able to keep you on the payroll if they’re unable to operate or have no work for you to do because of coronavirus. This is known as being ‘on furlough’. You could get paid 80% of your wages, up to a monthly cap of £2,500.
If your salary is reduced as a result of these changes, you may be eligible for support through the welfare system, including Universal Credit. You can use our online tool here to check if you can claim.
Advice if you are self-employed
If you’re getting less work or no work because of coronavirus, you might be able to claim a grant through the coronavirus Self-employment Income Support Scheme.
If you’re getting less work or no work because of coronavirus, you can also:
- apply online for Universal Credit
- apply for ‘new style’ Employment and Support Allowance, if you have a disability or health condition that affects how much you can work
You do not need to go into a Jobcentre Plus office to apply or get a payment.
Your Universal Credit payment is based on your actual earnings. You need to report any self-employed earnings and expenses at the end of each monthly assessment period.
Housing Benefit and Council Tax support
Housing Benefit is a means tested benefit administered by your local council and is for those that are of State Pension age. It can help with rent and some service charges. Housing benefit is usually paid fortnightly or every four weeks.
You can make a new claim for Housing Benefit if any of the following apply:
- you are receiving the severe disability premium, or are entitled to it.
- you received or were entitled to the severe disability premium within the last month and are still eligible for it
- you have reached State Pension age
- you are living in homeless, supported or temporary housing
If you live with a partner you can only make a new claim for Housing Benefit if either:
- you and your partner have both reached State Pension age
- one of you has reached State Pension age and started claiming Pension Credit (for you as a couple) before 15 May 2019
To claim Housing Benefit you will need to contact your local authority who will confirm if you are eligible to apply. Your local council will ask you to complete an online application form.
Council Tax Support England
Council tax support is a means tested benefit. It can help reduce the amount of council tax you have to pay. Each local authority has their own scheme which decides how much support they can provide. To claim council tax support, you will need to contact your local authority. Your council will ask you to complete an online application form.
To find out what Council Tax Support scheme exists in your area, contact your local authority. You can use the GOV.UK local council finder to find your local authority’s contact details.
You may also be able to apply for other discounts through your local authority’s council tax department such as:
- Single person’s discount
- Student discounts or exemption
- Disability discount
To check if you might be entitled to housing benefit or council tax support, use this benefit calculator.
If you need any advice or support, please contact us.
Low cost loans and saving accounts
We have partnered with Leeds Credit Union to offer savings accounts and low cost loans for all residents. Leeds Credit Union is a financial cooperative which provides an alternative to high-street banks and doorstep and payday lenders. It is owned by members for the benefit of members.
It provides a range of savings plans and other accounts that help members save and manage their money.
To find out more click here
Other useful contacts
Money & Benefits Advice
Money and Benefit Adviser
Neighbourhood Services Team
To speak to your Neighbourhood officer about your rent or a tenancy query, please call 0800 587 0211. Or email the Neighbourhood Services Team direct at: [email protected]
0800 587 0211