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Supporting the community

Financial support

For those who are struggling financially due to the impact of coronavirus, we’ve detailed information on a range of benefits that are available and how to claim them.

Council Tax

Council Tax support

Following recent announcements that employers are asking people to take unpaid leave or contracts being terminated due to the coronavirus, we would like to remind residents that they might be entitled to help with their Council Tax bill while they are on a low income. Visit our benefits pages, complete the Council Tax support claim form and return it to the Benefits Team.

Council Tax reduction

If your income has gone down, you may qualify for Council Tax Reduction, if you have capital and savings of less than £9,000. 

Information on how to apply and application form 
 

April Direct Debit

Unfortunately we are unable to stop the April 2020 Direct Debit payments. If you will not have enough money in your account to honour this payment, please contact your bank to cancel the Direct Debit to prevent any bank charges. 

Delaying Council Tax payments

If you pay your Council Tax over 10 months and want to request that your instalment dates are amended so that you pay in February and March instead of May and June, email the Taxation team with the following information and we will get back to you: 

Type ‘coronavirus instalment change’ in the subject heading.

  • Your name 
  • Your address 
  • Your Council Tax account number (see your bill) 
  • Confirm that you are up to date with your payments

If you pay over 12 months you can request your instalments be recalculated over 10 months to April, followed by July to March (missing out May and June), but these instalments will be higher than if you keep to your existing 12 instalments.

Housing Benefit and Council Tax

We are experiencing an unusually high level of demand at the moment. We’re increasing our resources and training staff to help you as quickly as possible, but please bear with us. 

Please only contact us by email for the time being, this is the quickest way to contact us and the quickest way to receive a reply. Make sure you put your claim reference number (if you know it) and National Insurance number in the email subject.

Rent

If you need help paying your rent and you are not receiving Housing Benefit, then you will need to claim Universal Credit. However, you can also claim Housing Benefit if you are:

  • Above pension age 
  • Severely disabled, 
  • Living in temporary accommodation (placed by Crawley Borough Council) 
  • Living in supported accommodation 

For more information on Universal Credit and how to claim it, visit GOV.UK

Other financial help

If you are concerned about paying your rent, the government have announced protection from eviction for private renters. 
 

Mortgages

If you have a mortgage, the government has announced that the banks have agreed to allow a three month mortgage holiday, including buy to let mortgages. 

Universal Credit and Working Tax Credits

From 6 April, the Government is increasing the standard allowance in Universal Credit and the basic element in Working Tax Credit for one year. 

Both will increase by £20 per week on top of planned annual uprating. This will apply to all new and existing Universal Credit customers and to existing Working Tax Credit customers.

This means that for a single Universal Credit customer (aged 25 or over), the standard allowance will increase from £317.82 to £409.89 per month.

Tax credits customers will continue to receive payments even if working fewer hours or furloughed due to coronavirus.

More information on the increase in Working Tax Credit can be found on GOV.UK.

Existing Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction claimants

If you have lost your job or had a temporary interruption in your earnings you can email the Benefits team a statement confirming what you have been told by your employer, along with anything your employer may have sent you, such as an email. We can then make an interim assessment of your reduced earnings to increase your benefit temporarily. 

Claiming Job Seekers Allowance and Universal Credit

If you have been working and paying National Insurance for the last two years you may be able to claim New Style Job Seekers Allowance or New Style Employment and Support Allowance. 

In all situations you may be able to claim Universal Credit.

Jobcentre Plus

People receiving benefits do not have to attend Jobcentre appointments until further notice.  

What it means:

  • Customers do not need to attend for Job Seekers Allowance fortnightly signings 
  • All new claim appointments will be done by telephone 
  • All face-to-face meetings for Universal Credit customers will be replaced with telephone interviews 
  • Face-to-face health assessments and all non-essential home visits are being suspended to protect customers and focus on the most vulnerable 
  • If work coaches need to contact customers, they will do so via the online journal or by phone 
  • If customers need to contact us, they should do so by telephone or online, but the Jobcentre network in the main will remain open for customers who are not ill or self-isolating.

Benefits you can claim from Jobcentre Plus include:

  • Newly or temporarily out of work 
  • Help with rent – new claims

Southern Water – extra support for customers

Southern Water has expanded the support available for customers during the pandemic and is in addition to the support they already offer. Customers who are struggling to pay should get in touch.

Additional support

  • Three-month payment breaks for any customer impacted by the virus
  • Automatic renewal of support tariffs so customers don’t need to worry about reapplying
  • Accepting referrals to the priority services register from trusted third-parties

Registering for support

Given the unusually large volumes of calls they’re experiencing, the best way to make contact is via email or their website.

Existing financial assistance programmes

  • Essentials -  provides a discount for customers on low incomes or pension credit
  • WaterSure - caps bills when a customer on means-tested benefits has a water meter and meets certain criteria, such as having certain medical conditions or three children under 19
  • Water Direct - allows Jobcentre Plus to pay Southern Water directly from a customer’s benefits
  • NewStart - helps reduce debt for customers who owe money or haven’t made a payment for a while.

Customers may be eligible for multiple financial support schemes, depending on their circumstances. Visit their website to see if you meet the criteria.

Regular updates will be made on their social media pages via Twitter and Facebook.