COVID 19 Support and Information
Please see below for a summary of additional measures the Government has put into place to help low income households during the current COVID-19 crisis.
You can find the latest National advice and guidance through the Government website. This includes information on other financial help and advice.
Test and Trace Support Payment
The Government has announced a scheme for people who are working, on a low income and will lose money if they self-isolate. You must fulfil ALL of the requirements to qualify.
From 28 September 2020, low income workers will be entitled to a Test and Trace Support Payment of £500 if they:
- Have been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or via the NHS COVID-19 App, either because they have tested positive for coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive (there is an 8 digit ID code issued by NHS Test and Trace that MUST be supplied to us in order to qualify);
- have responded to messages received from NHS Test and Trace (which will have been received via a combination of email, text, letter or phone call) in which they provided their contact details and, where they have tested positive, the details of their contacts;
- Are employed or self-employed;
- Are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result;
- Are currently receiving, or are the registered partner of someone in the same household who is receiving, Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit.
We have received a small top-up to the discretionary scheme. Eligibility is subject to income and capital limits and is not open to students, so we will be doing extra checking on these claims. You should only apply if you are subject to financial hardship and the scheme will close again when the money is spent.
This payment is designed to support people on low incomes, if they will lose income as a result of self-isolating, and to encourage them to get tested if they have symptoms. The scheme will last until 31 March 2021.
You must apply within 28 days of the start of your self-isolation - applications received after that date will be rejected.
You can apply for the payment here.
Who is not eligible?
You are not eligible for the scheme if you:
- are quarantining after travelling abroad (unless you test positive during the 14 day quarantine period and are told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace);
- Continue to receive full wages while you self-isolate;
- Can work from home during a period of self-isolation;
- Your period of self-isolation ended before 28 September 2020;
- Have not received a valid notification from NHS Test and Trace telling you to self-isolate.
Extra Council Tax Support for working age households
Working age Council Tax payers who get Council Tax Support will be entitled to a further reduction in their Council Tax for 2020/21. We’ll credit your account with an extra £150, or if your balance is less than that, then until your Council Tax bill is zero.
We’ll process this automatically so you don’t need to contact us. If we assess your claim you will get a new bill, and if you are on Universal Credit you may get a new bill every month if your payments change. To get your new bill by email go to our “receive your bill by email” webpage or email email@example.com and put your council Tax account number in the subject line so that you get your amended Council Tax demand notice quickly.
Local Housing Allowance
If we still pay you Housing Benefit, we will be able to pay you a little more. Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates were increased from April to cover up to 30% of the market rent in your area. The new rates are available on our Housing Benefit page.
All our benefit claims have been adjusted and we notified you by email or letter.
Increase in the Additional Earnings Disregard
We recalculated entitlement for households where you or your partner work 16 hours or more per week, and you would be or are entitled to Working Tax Credit. This is because the basic rate of Working Tax Credit increased and this ensures you don't lose out on this in your Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support.