Council Tax, benefits and financial support
The government has announced a package of measures to provide support for public services, individuals and businesses to ensure the impact of Covid-19 is minimised.
Help for those on low incomes who need to self-isolate
Recognising that self-isolation is one of the most powerful tools for controlling the transmission of Covid-19, the government has announced Test and Trace Support payment of £500 to ensure that those on low incomes are able to self-isolate without worry about their finances.
Just under 4 million people who are in receipt of benefits in England will be eligible for this payment, which will be available to those who are required to self-isolate from 28 September.
More information will be available once the guidance has come out.
Coronavirus Hardship Fund
We can help those who are struggling financially as a result of the coronavirus outbreak and need help with paying their council tax. The extra funding, amounts to £910,462, and is being provided by the government. You can find out more about the fund on their website.
Any residents who are of working age, and have had their bill reduced by an award of Council Tax Reduction since 1 April 2020, will be eligible for relief of up to £300 from the fund.
You do not need to make an application, if you have been awarded Council Tax Reduction on or after 1 April 2020 the payment will be credited to your bill automatically.
Discretionary Hardship Fund Payments
Residents who are already in receipt of Council Tax Reduction do not need to apply for this.
We have a discretionary hardship fund. Support from this fund is available for households where financial hardship has been caused by changing circumstances meaning they are unable to afford to pay their council tax bill.
We define financial hardship as being unable to pay for the essential needs of yourself and your family. As payments are made from a cash limited fund we cannot guarantee that you will receive an award. Each application will be treated on its own merits. We will consider things like:
- your financial and medical circumstances and of anyone who lives with you
- your income and expenditure and of anyone who lives with you
- your savings and investments and any held by anyone else living with you
- if you have any exceptional circumstances
- the amount of money we have available in the fund when we consider your application
- any other special situations
If you would like to be considered for a discretionary hardship fund payment you need to apply.
Frequently asked questions about the scheme
Working-age claimants who have been in receipt of Council Tax Reduction in 2020–2021. This can be for any period of time during this financial year.
The discount is available for this financial year only.
It will be applied to the council tax account and will reduce the bill. A new bill will be produced. If there is a balance after the hardship payment has been applied then this will be payable, by instalments over the remainder of the year, as normal.
We didn’t have time to change your September instalments. When you pay by direct debit we have to give you 14 days’ notice of a change to the instalment amount.
Should your council tax account go into credit due to the hardship payment and you do not have any other balances on this or other accounts, we will look to refund the difference to you. You will need to contact us to arrange a refund, if we don’t already hold your bank details, please have your council tax account number and bank account details ready when you ring. We aim to make a refund within 14 days, where possible.
You will need to let us know of the change straight away. Once your bill has been amended the level of hardship will be recalculated for the correct period.
If your liability (amount to pay) increases, your hardship fund award may increase. If your liability decreases, your hardship fund award may decrease.
If you move within Allerdale, your hardship fund will be amended accordingly. If you move outside Allerdale we may have to contact your new authority to agree who pays the hardship to you.
The government have asked us to support those working-age recipient’s most affected financially by the coronavirus outbreak. These are likely to have suffered a material change in their finances during the pandemic.
You can only receive an award if you fall into the working-age scheme. You may lose money if you change to the working age scheme and you would need to have a break in your claim.
If you have had Council Tax Reduction for at least one day for the 20/21 financial year you are entitled to a Council Tax Hardship payment.
Housing Benefit and Council Tax reduction
If you find yourself in financial difficulties due to the coronavirus outbreak, we may be able to help.
You may be entitled to Housing Benefit.
And you may be able to reduce the amount you pay on your council tax.
You may be entitled to Universal Credit. However, we do not administer this benefit. It is done online and through the JobCentre Plus.
You can also give our customer service team a call on 0303 123 1702 if you need any further advice.
Help for those facing being made homeless
People who are homeless – or are at risk of becoming homeless – are being reassured that the council's housing options team is continuing to do everything it can to offer support to those who need it during the coronavirus situation.
The team is working hard to continue to find suitable housing options for those who are homeless, while trying to identify people who are sleeping rough on the streets of Allerdale.
Those who require support are asked to call the housing options’ phone number 01900 702660 (or 0303 123 1702 out of hours) if possible.
Information is also available at https://www.allerdale.gov.uk/en/housing/homelessness/are-you-homeless/ or by emailling: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other support and advice for individuals
The government has announced a range of support packages for individuals. This includes: