Read about how the council and the government can help to support you financially through the coronavirus pandemic.
If you are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), you can get £94.25 per week SSP if you’re too ill to work. It’s paid by your employer for up to 28 weeks.
If you are self-isolating because of COVID-19 you can now claim SSP. This includes individuals who are caring for people self-isolating in the same household and therefore have been advised to do a household quarantine. Extension of Statutory Sick Pay to self-isolaters and those in the same household caring for self-isolaters is being made, payable from day 1 not day 4.
Contributory Employment and Support Allowance will be now be available from Day 1 not Day 8 for eligible people unable to work because they are directly affected by COVID-19 or self-isolating.
Further relaxation of the Minimum Income Floor for all self-employed claimants affected by the economic impact of COVID-19, ensuring their UC award will increase to reflect their lower earnings.
To check your sick pay entitlement, you should talk to your employer, and visit GOV.UK for more information.
The government is legislating for SSP to be paid from day one, rather than day four, of your absence from work if you are absent from work due to sickness or need to self-isolate caused by COVID-19. Once the legislation has been passed, this will apply retrospectively from 13 March. You should talk to your employer if you are eligible for SSP and need to claim.
From Friday 20 March onwards, those who have COVID-19 or are advised to self-isolate will be able to obtain an “isolation note” by visiting NHS 111 online and completing an online form, rather than visiting a doctor. For COVID-19 cases this replaces the usual need to provide a “fit note” after seven days of sickness absence. Isolation notes will also be accepted by Jobcentre Plus as evidence of your inability to attend.
If you are not eligible for SSP – for example if you are self-employed or earning below the Lower Earnings Limit of £118 per week – and you have COVID-19 or are advised to self-isolate, you can now more easily make a claim for Universal Credit (UC) or new style Employment and Support Allowance. For more information on how to claim, please visit GOV.UK's Universal Credit and Employment Support Allowence webpages.
From 6 April 2020, there will be an increase to the Universal Credit standard allowance and Working Tax Credit basic element of £86.67 per month (equal to £20 a week) for one year. This measure will apply to all new and existing Universal Credit claimants and is in addition to the planned annual uprating in benefits in line with CPI of 1.7%.
Universal Credit is administered by the DWP and Working Tax Credit by HMRC.
Local Housing Allowance rates that are used to decide Universal Credit and housing benefit for private renters increase from 1 April 2020. In most of the country, the rates will be set at the 30th percentile of market rents. In Westminster, the rates are capped but the cap amount will increase as follow:
The local housing allowance rate is set according to the number of bedrooms your household needs. This increase is in addition to any support provided by local authorities through Discretionary Housing Payments.
Please note that you will not need to contact the council as we will update the relevant resident’s benefit entitlement automatically once more detailed government guidance is received.
More information on universal credit can be found on GOV.UK Universal Credit.
You can find out more and claim online. If you can’t claim online, phone us on 0800 072 0042 to register a claim.
If you already receive either housing costs in your universal credit or housing benefit, you can request extra help with rent called discretionary housing payment. You can find out more about discretionary housing payment on our website where you will find a claim form to download.
Everyone that is liable to pay council tax can apply for help to reduce their bill. The help is called council tax support.
You can find out more about council tax support on our website and either claim online or phone us on 0800 072 0042 to register a claim.
Central government has just issued guidance and funding allocations relating to the £500M Hardship Fund. Most of this funding will be used to provide additional council tax relief for working age council tax support claimants.
The support will be for claimants who after receipt of their current council tax support entitlement have a balance to pay on their council tax for 2020/21.The government require local authorities to allocate up to £150 to reduce the balance on these council taxpayers council tax accounts.
There is no need to contact us, as we are able to work out who qualifies for the extra assistance and will be issuing revised bills in due course.
If you are experiencing financial difficulties meeting your mortgage repayments because of COVID-19, you may be entitled to a mortgage or rental holiday for three months. This includes if you are a landlord whose tenants are experiencing financial difficulties because of COVID-19.
If you are a tenant experiencing financial difficulties because of COVID-19, the government will ensure you do not face the threat of eviction for at least three months:
Customers who are concerned about their current financial situation should contact their lender at the earliest possible opportunity to discuss if this is a suitable option for them.
If you are experiencing difficulties paying back personal loans or credit card bills as a result of COVID-19, you should read the following information:
If you are experiencing difficulties paying back loans or credit card bills because of COVID19, you should talk to your lender.