Covid-19: Benefits advice

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We understand that in these challenging times many people might find keeping up with their Council Tax and housing rent payments particularly challenging.

If your income has been affected by coronavirus and you need help, there is a wide range of support available.

Existing claimants

If you are currently in receipt of working age Local Council Tax support, you will receive additional relief of up to £150 from the Covid-19 Hardship Fund. You do not need to apply for this, it will automatically be applied to your account. We have sent letters to all eligible households.

Customers who receive Housing Benefit or Universal Credit (Housing Element), may also ask for extra help with their rent by requesting a Discretionary Housing Payment. Complete an application form.

Existing Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction customers should report changes in their circumstances at the earliest opportunity. Losing hours of work or having your pay reduced could increase the level of help you are entitled to. Report changes to us online.

Making a new claim

If your income has reduced as a result of coronavirus you may be able to make a claim for Universal Credit, Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction.

Universal Credit

If you’re on a low income or out of work, you will be able to apply for Universal Credit to help with your living costs and rent.

You do not need to go into a Jobcentre Plus office to apply or get a payment and can receive up to a month’s advance upfront.

You may be able to get Universal Credit if:

  • you’re on a low income or out of work
  • you’re 18 or over (there are some exceptions if you’re 16 to 17)
  • you’re under State Pension age (or your partner is)
  • you and your partner have £16,000 or less in savings between you
  • you live in the UK

Read more about eligibility for Universal Credit

Apply for Universal Credit.

Housing Benefit

You can apply for Housing Benefit to help you pay your rent if you’re on a low income. However, most working-age people now need to apply for Universal Credit to receive this help (see above).

You can make a new claim for Housing Benefit if any of the following apply:

  • you’re getting the severe disability premium, or are entitled to it
  • you got 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’re in specified accommodation

Read more about eligibility for Housing Benefit.

Apply for Housing Benefit.

Council Tax reduction

If your income has reduced as a result of coronavirus, you may be entitled to a Council Tax reduction. Use our calculator to find out if you qualify and make a claim.

If you qualify, you will also receive additional relief of up to £150 from the Covid-19 Hardship Fund. For many customers this will mean there is no Council Tax to pay this year. You do not need to apply for this, it will automatically be applied to your account at the time your Council Tax Reduction is awarded.

If you do not qualify, you can amend your existing direct debit or request to change your payment plan to make your bill more affordable during this difficult time. Find out what options are available to you.

Further information

Learn more about the changes the government has brought in to support people who are already claiming benefits, need to claim benefits, or are at risk of losing their job as a result of coronavirus.

The Money Advice Service has published some useful information that could help you. Read more about what the current situation means for you and what you’re entitled to.