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Financial Support for Households

From 28 September the UK government has announced that there will be a new legal duty on all UK residents who test positive for COVID-19 or are identified by the NHS Test and Trace as a close contact, requiring them to self-isolate.

The Test and Trace Support Scheme came into force on 28 September 2020 and will run until 31 January 2021. 

Anyone who meets the eligibility criteria below and is asked to self-isolate on or after 28 September 2020 will be entitled to the support payment of £500. 

You can also find out where to get help if you can't pay your mortgage, rent or council tax, or you have no money for food or bills as your finances have been impacted by coronavirus. 

IMPORTANT: If you have made a claim for Universal Credit you do not need to make a claim for Council Tax Support. Universal Credit will send your application to us.

You can only claim Housing Benefit if:

  • You and your partner are pension aged, or
  • You are working age and living in Temporary Accommodation provided under the Homeless Persons Act
  • You are working age and living in Supported Accommodation
  • You are entitled to the Severe Disability Premium

If you do not fall into one of the categories above you must claim Universal Credit for help with your rent:

COVID-19 - Business support grant funding
The government recently announced new support grants for accommodation, hospitality and leisure businesses for cities that were in HIGH (Tier 2).
There are also grants available for businesses that legally have to close under the new National Restrictions - between Thursday, 5 November and Wednesday, 2 December.
The council are administering these grants on behalf of the government.
Read more about eligibility criteria and when you can apply.

How do I apply for a Test and Trace Support Payment?

The Test and Trace Support Payment has been introduced in response to feedback from local authorities and directors of public health that some of their residents were struggling to self-isolate as directed due to financial constraints. It is to ensure that people on low incomes self-isolate when they test positive or are identified as a contact, and to encourage more people to get tested. This will help to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and avoid further social and economic restrictions, including local lockdowns.

From 28 September the UK government has announced that there will be a new legal duty on all UK residents to self isolate, if they:

  • test positive for COVID-19, or
  • are identified by the NHS Test and Trace as a close contact, to self-isolate.

The Test and Trace Support Scheme The scheme came into force on 28 September 2020 and will run until 31 January 2021. Anyone who meets the eligibility criteria below and is asked to self-isolate on or after 28 September 2020 will be entitled to the Support payment of £500.

Please note: The scheme will not apply if you were told to self-isolate before 28 September 2020

More information can be found at:

GOV.UK - Test and Trace Support Payments

What is the eligibility criteria?

To be eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment, you must fit all of the following eligibility criteria:

  • be a resident of the East Riding of Yorkshire
  • have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace either because you have tested positive for coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive
  • be employed or self-employed
  • be unable to work from home and will lose income as a result
  • be currently receiving Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-based Employment & Support Allowance, income based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit.

You must make a claim within 14 days of the last day of your self-isolation.

How much is the payment and how do I receive it?

If you are eligible, you will receive a £500 payment via BACS transfer. The payment must be paid into a bank account of the individual who has been told to self- isolate and cannot be paid into a third party account.

Please note: This payment is subject to tax. However, you will not be taxed at the point of payment and will be contacted by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) at a later date. 

How do I apply for the payment?

In order to apply for the Test and Trace Self Isolation Support payment, please complete our online form below:

Apply for a Test and Trace Support Payment

If you are unable to make a claim online, please contact us on (01482) 394799.

I do not meet the eligibility criteria for the Test & Trace support payment scheme, is there any other help available?

If you are not eligible for the £500 Test & Trace Support Payment, you may still be able to claim £500 under the new Test & Trace Support Payment Discretionary Scheme. 

The government has provided limited funding for this scheme, you must meet all of the criteria below:

  • be a resident of the East Riding of Yorkshire;
  • have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace either because you have tested positive for coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive; 
  • be employed or self-employed; 
  • be unable to work from home and will lose income as a result
  • you will face financial hardship as a result of not being able to work whilst you are self isolating
  • you must be on a low income - no more than £325 per week (after tax) and
  • you must be responsible for paying your own housing costs i.e. either a mortgage, rent or council tax 

Apply for a Discretionary Test & Trace Support Payment

When will I receive my Test and Trace Support Payment

If your application is successful, and following receipt of all supporting evidence and verification,  your payment will be made to you within three days into your nominated bank account.

Can my bank take the Test and Trace Support Payment to pay off my overdraft?

No. Your bank can not use your support payment to repay your overdraft.

However, you will need to contact your bank directly to protect your payment. This protection is called a 'First Right of Appropriation of Funds Order'.

How will you use and share my data?

Information collected during the application process will be used to assess an applicants’ claim. Information will be cross matched with other data held by the council and third-party agencies e.g. DWP, HMRC for verification purposes. 

In assessing a claim, it may be appropriate to make referrals within the council or to external agencies to provide advice or support. 

The council may also share data with both internal and external organisations for the purposes of validating any applications or support you may make or have made for other council services such as housing applications, school placements, homeless applications, Homes & Money Hub, Job Brokers & Right to Buy applications. Please note that this list is not exhaustive. 

Subject to a legal gateway, your information may also be shared for the prevention of fraud and criminal activity with (list not exhaustive): 

  • the police
  • Immigration Service, Absconder Services and/or UK Border Agency
  • health and social care organisations
  • other local authorities.

Is there anything else I can claim if my income has been affected by coronavirus?

If your income has been affected by Coronavirus, you may also be entitled to help through our Emergency Assistance Scheme.

I am unsure which council I need to apply to,  can you help?

If you are unsure which local council you need to apply to regarding a Test & Trace support payment, you can check online.

Who is not eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment?

You are not eligible for the Test and Trace Support payment, if:

  • you do not meet the eligibility criteria
  • you are self-isolating but have not been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace
  • you are quarantining after returning to the UK,  unless you have been tested positive and told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace
  • you are currently furloughed.

Can I claim more than one Test and Trace Support Payment?

Yes, a claim can be made for each period of self-isolation required. All eligibility criteria must be met and supporting evidence provided.

Can all individual members of the same household claim?

People in the same household can each make an individual application to receive the payment, if they each meet the qualifying criteria.

Can a person make a claim after their period of self-isolation has ended?

A claim can be made up to 14 days after the period of self-isolation has ended. We will not accept applications after this point.

Can someone make a claim on my behalf?

Yes, you can apply on behalf of someone else. However, the £500 must be paid into a bank account in the name of the person for whom the application is being made. 

How will this payment affect current benefits?

This payment is classed as local welfare provision and will be disregarded when calculating all benefit entitlement including Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support.

Is the standard payment of £500 made regardless of how much I lose in income? 

Yes, the payment is for working people on low incomes who will lose income because they cannot work from home while self-isolating. 

You will receive £500 as a lump sum regardless of how much they have lost in income.

As long as you meet the eligibility criteria and are losing income because you have been told to self-isolate and cannot work from home you can claim:

Examples;

  • someone with a single job whose employer continued to pay them a full wage while they self-isolated would not be eligible.
  • someone whose employer paid them a reduced wage while they self-isolated (and is in receipt of one of the eligible benefits) would be eligible (they have lost income) 
  • someone with two part-time jobs who continued to be paid a full wage by one employer, but whose other employer did not pay them while self-isolating, would be eligible. They have lost income. 

Do I still have to pay my council tax?

We appreciate that this is a difficult time for many of our residents and that the COVID-19 virus is having a significant impact on the economy.

Please note: your council tax pays for our essential services that are delivered to all residents in the East Riding of Yorkshire, so it is really important that if your financial circumstances have not changed that you continue to pay what you should and maintain your direct debit payments or payment plan, as detailed on your bill.

If you are struggling to pay your council tax, there is support available and the council can help if you have been affected.

You should:

  1. make sure that you have claimed all of the benefits that you are entitled to. For working-age families, this is  Universal Credit from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and  council tax support from the council. For any other benefits, use our entitlement checker
  2. get in touch with us. We would encourage anyone who is struggling, to contact us at  council.tax@eastriding.gov.uk so that we can ensure that you are getting all of the support that you are entitled to. Please ensure you quote your Council Tax account number, and address in any email you send to us.

Given the demands on our contact centre, we would request that all contact is via email to  council.tax@eastriding.gov.uk. We will come back to you as quickly as we can. 

I can't pay my mortgage, what do I do?

In the first instance, you need to talk to your mortgage provider to see what they can do to help. A number of providers are helping their customers directly with their mortgage payments. 

If you’re a homeowner, you might be able to get help towards interest payments, from the Department for Work and Pensions on:

  •  your mortgage 
  • loans you’ve taken out for certain repairs and improvements to your home. 

This help is called Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI). It’s paid as a loan, which you’ll need to repay with interest when you sell or transfer ownership of your home. Find out more:

Support for Mortgage Interest (external website)

I am on a zero hours contract and have been laid off. Can I get any help?

You may be eligible for Universal Credit to help with your living costs from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

You can apply for Universal Credit online

You must apply as a couple if you and your partner live together (you do not need to be married).

You might also need to phone the Universal Credit helpline to book an interview with a work coach. You’ll be told if you need to do this after you apply.

Universal Credit Helpline: 0800 328 5644 Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

I am self-employed and not earning enough to pay my bills. What do I do?

You may be eligible for Universal Credit to help with your living costs from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP); this includes help towards your rent.

You can apply for Universal Credit online

You should claim for help with support with your council tax from the council as you may be entitled to Council Tax Support.

For Universal Credit, you must apply as a couple if you and your partner live together (you do not need to be married). You might also need to phone the Universal Credit helpline to book an interview with a work coach. You’ll be told if you need to do this after you apply.

Universal Credit helpline: 0800 328 5644 Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm.

The government has temporarily removed the Minimum Income Floor. If you are self-employed and have low income levels your Universal Credit payment may be calculated using an assumed level of earnings, called a Minimum Income Floor. 

It’s based on what an employed person on minimum wage would expect to earn in similar circumstances. If you earn more than this, then your Universal Credit amount is based on your actual earnings.

Self employed income scheme

On 26 March the government announced the “Self Employed Income Support scheme” to help self employed people who have lost income due to Coronavirus.

The scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for 3 months. This may be extended if needed.

HMRC will contact you directly  if you are eligible for the scheme and invite you to apply online.

You do not need to contact HMRC now and doing so will only delay the urgent work being undertaken to introduce the scheme.

It is anticipated payments will start in June 2020.

For more detailed information regarding the scheme and eligibility criteria, visit: 

HMRC Self Employed Income Scheme

I am off sick with coronavirus. What are the rules?

As part of the Government’s strategy to support people affected by this public health emergency, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is making a number of changes to its benefit processes to ensure people who need financial help have access to the benefit system.

Support for employees, benefits claimants and businesses

To keep up-to-date with the latest information please visit the government's website:

GOV.UK - Coronavirus support for employees, benefit claimants and businesses (external website)

I have no money for food or energy bills, is there any help available?

Central government have provided funding to the council to allow us to offer financial support to help households in the East Riding. You may be eligible if you have experienced a reduction in your income of at least 20% which is the result of COVID-19 and do not have savings available to afford essential items. 

Awards will be made where there is no alternative means of meeting the need, this includes help from universal credit and other benefits payable.

East Riding residents may request assistance with food and toiletries, gas and electric bills, nappies for children aged three and under, and travel costs to work or pre-booked hospital appointments.

Apply for an Emergency Welfare Assistance Grant

If you are unable to make a claim online, please contact us on 01482 394799.

I have less income this month and cannot pay my rent, how can I get help?

Whether your landlord is a private or social landlord, it is important that you keep in touch with them and let them know if you are going to miss a payment or not pay the full amount. 

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) can help with rent costs for working-age residents and you should claim Universal Credit. This can include rent payments. Pensionable age residents can claim housing benefit.

You can apply for Universal Credit online

You can apply for housing benefit online

The Universal Credit money I get for rent does not cover the full amount of rent I have to pay, what can I do?

Discretionary payments can help if you are struggling to pay your rent. You must live in the East Riding of Yorkshire council area to apply for them.

To get a discretionary payment towards your rent you must either be:

  • entitled to some Housing Benefit from us; or
  • getting Universal Credit that includes something towards your housing costs. 

There is no right for anyone to a discretionary payment. We will look at your case to decide if you need extra support.

Find out more about discretionary payments.

What can I do if my landlord says I will be evicted because I won’t be able to pay my rent this month?

Whether your landlord is a private or social landlord, it is important that you keep in touch with them and let them know if you are going to miss a payment or not pay the full amount. 

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) can help with rent costs and you should claim Universal Credit. This can include rent payments.

You can apply for Universal Credit online

If legal action is being taken against you because you owe money find out about organisations that can provide financial advice.

If you have been served an eviction warrant, or your home is about to be repossessed you can find out how to get help from our homelessness officers.

You may also wish to contact Citizens Advice who can offer free independent legal advice:

Citizens advice (external website)

Discretionary payments

Discretionary payments can help if you are struggling to pay your rent. You must live in the East Riding of Yorkshire council area to apply for them.

To get a discretionary payment towards your rent you must either:

  • be entitled to some Housing Benefit from us; or
  • be getting Universal Credit that includes something towards your housing costs. 

There is no right for anyone to a discretionary payment. We will look at your case to decide if you need extra support.

Find out more about discretionary payments.

Can I get any financial help to pay my council tax?

It is important that you keep in touch with the council tax service and let us know if you are going to miss a payment or not pay the full amount. If you have any questions you can contact us at: 

Email: council.tax@eastriding.gov.uk 

If you need help to pay your council tax, whatever your age and circumstances, you should claim council tax support.

Claim council tax support as part of a new Universal Credit claim

If you are making a new claim for Universal Credit, you can claim council tax support at the same time. You must indicate on your Universal Credit that you pay council tax - if you do not, the council will not automatically receive your council tax support claim.

If your Universal Credit claim is refused you will then have to make a separate claim for council tax support.

Claim council tax support separately

If you are not making a claim for Universal Credit, then you must make a separate claim for council tax support.

You can claim council tax support online.

Council Tax Hardship fund

As part of its response to COVID-19, the Government have provided Local Authorities in England with new Council Tax Hardship funding to support economically vulnerable people and their households. 

This fund will be used to reduce council tax bills in the 2020/21 financial year by up to £150 for working age council tax payers who are in receipt of council tax support. 

The reduction of up to £150 is a one off reduction to your council tax bill for 2020/21, and will be applied directly to your council tax account.  If your previous bill was £150 or more, then the full £150 reduction should have been applied; if your bill was less than £150, then your bill should be reduced to zero.

The additional reduction of up to £150 can only be given once, you will not receive a further reduction should you change address in the East Riding area during 2020/21 or between Local Authority areas. 

Where this reduction leaves a Council Tax account in credit due to payments already made, a refund will be provided. 

Further information can be found at GOV.UK (external website)

Revised council tax bills are being issued from 12 May 2020, however, you can view your council tax account 24 hours-a-day, every day online using our online service:

View my council tax account online

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