Health and wellbeing Coronavirus - Benefits and money

Help with your council tax and rent

Hardship payment for council tax

We have paid up to £150 hardship payment for council tax to working-age people who already qualified for Council Tax Support. We have written to people who were entitled to the credit and they have received a new bill showing what is left to pay. If the balance to pay was less than £1 we have written it off.

If you are working-age and make a new claim for Council Tax Support in 2020/21 we will automatically award a hardship payment of up to £150 if you are entitled to it. There is no need to make a separate hardship payment claim.

Housing Benefit to help with rent

Most people who get Housing Benefit get it under Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rules. The government has increased LHA rates and we have written to those affected with details of their new Housing Benefit award.

If you receive Working Tax Credits

We have made sure that extra Working Tax Credits paid by HMRC because of government measures, don’t reduce your Council Tax Support or Housing Benefit. If we have reassessed your benefits we will have written to you to show you how we have worked it out. If you get extra Working Tax Credit later in a lump sum we will treat it as capital and ignore it for 12 months so that it doesn’t affect your benefits.

If you are self-employed

We understand that there may have been a reduction in your income but that you may have difficulty in showing us this at the moment. We will accept estimates of your likely income for now and follow this up later. This means you must keep records for this period. To speed up your claim we will ring you for information if possible. There is extra help available for small businesses.

If your childcare costs change

You must still tell us if your childcare costs have changed due to a change in your childcare arrangements. If you don’t tell us and your benefit is overpaid we will recover it later. Email us the new details (include your daytime telephone number) to

If you are still struggling to pay your council tax and rent

See what other help is available for council tax.

If you are having difficulty paying your rent we can sometimes award discretionary payments as extra support. There is no right to discretionary payments, we will look at each case individually. You must first be entitled to some Housing Benefit from us, or to Universal Credit that includes something towards housing costs.

Apply for discretionary payments.

How we will contact you about your claim during the coronavirus outbreak

We are more likely to contact you by email, SMS or by telephone although we will continue to write to you as well, because the rules say that you must have decisions from us in writing. 

We prefer you to contact us by email at the moment but if this is not possible you can still write to us. We will accept evidence from you in support of your claim you that you have scanned or
photocopied. You must keep the originals for 12 months as we may need to see them at a later date.

As we are not able to visit customers at the moment we can help vulnerable customers over the telephone to make an online claim.

If you are finding it difficult to get evidence together for your claim

If you or people you need to ask for evidence are ill or self-isolating, please tell us so that we can extend our deadline for your reply.


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