Coronavirus (COVID-19): what you need to do -Stay at home-Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home)-Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people. Wash your hands as soon as you get home - You can spread the virus even if you don't have symptoms.
Financial help due to Coronavirus
Has your income dropped?
If you have lost your job or are on reduced hours, we might be able to help pay your Council Tax. Help can be given by applying for Council Tax Support. For more information and to see if you qualify please click here.
If you need help with rent or other living expenses, then you may qualify for Universal Credit or other state benefits, these are usually provided by the DWP. For more information and how to apply please click here.
The government has also announced a Hardship fund to help with Council Tax. There is no need to contact us or to make a separate claim, we will contact those who qualify directly.
For those unable to pay their council tax the Council has the power to reduce liability for an individual case if suffering severe financial hardship. To apply for Discretionary Hardship Relief click here.
From 28 September 2020, eligible individuals are entitled to a Test and Trace Support Payment or discretionary support payment of £500. This is to support people on low incomes who are unable to work from home if they are told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace and will lose income as a result. To apply for a Test and Trace Support Payment click here.
Changes to Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support
The Government announced some changes to the benefits system to support people through the Coronavirus pandemic. Below we have listed the changes that will affect Housing Benefit (HB) and Council Tax Support Scheme (CTS).
If your claim is affected by any of the changes below - you do not need to contact us. We will make the changes automatically in the week starting 13 April 2020.
Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) is a government funded scheme administered by local authorities. Payment can be made to anyone who has entitlement to either HB or UC housing costs and is in financial difficulty. To apply for DHP click here.
Local Housing Allowance (LHA)
From 1 April 2020 Local Housing Allowance figures will increase to cover at least 30 per cent of market rent in the Walton and East Thames Valley areas.
What does this mean?
Your Housing Benefit will still be worked out using the normal benefit calculation and what you get will be based on the new LHA figure.
- If your rent is more than the LHA figure - you can only get up to the LHA amount in benefit
- If your rent is less than the LHA figure - you can only get up to the value of your rent in benefit
Changes to the Housing Benefit earnings disregard
The Housing Benefit (HB) additional earnings disregard has been increased from £17.10 to £37.10.
What does this mean?
Why has this happened?
During this time Working Tax Credit has been increased by up to £20.00 per week and if you get this your HB may go down. The additional earnings disregard increase means we can ignore more of your income and will make sure you keep as much of your HB as possible.
We will send you a notification letter dated 11 April 2020 to show how the LHA and earnings disregard changes to legislation have affected your Housing Benefit. The HB notification letter will say 'Change of Liability', 'Change in Financial Circumstances' or 'Change To Entitlement Due To Covid-19'.