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Coronavirus: Rents, Benefits and Council Tax

teal bullet  Flexible payment plans teal bullet  Apply for Council Tax Reduction teal bullet   Benefits advice teal bullet  Food bank vouchers teal bullet  Utility bills teal bullet  Mortgage payments

If your circumstances have not changed:

  • Your council tax pays for essential services for all residents, so it is important that you continue to pay your council tax.

If you need to rearrange your council tax payments for the coming year:

  • We are offering a range of flexible payment plans, including the ability to spread the cost of council tax evenly over 12 months or starting payments from June instead of April.
  • Contact our Revenues Team at counciltax@nfdc.gov.uk to discuss different payment options.  We may agree a special payment plan with you so that your Council Tax for 2020/21 is split over 10 months from June to March 2021, meaning you won't have anything to pay until June.  If you are unable to pay the full instalment for April please contact us and we can agree to defer part of your payment until later in the year.

If you are struggling to pay council tax:

If you can't pay your mortgage:

  • The Department of Works and Pensions (DWP) may be able to help towards the interest payments through Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI).  See gov.uk/support-for-mortgage-interest on how to apply

If you are in a council property and are struggling to pay your rent:

  • Please continue to pay rent on your council property if your circumstances have not changed.
  • If you are concerned about making rent payments due to loss of earnings or illness please contact the rents team rents@nfdc.gov.uk (or call 02380 285 222 option 2 if you have no access to email.) 

If you are self-employed and not earning enough to pay your bill:

If you are off sick with Coronavirus:

If the Universal Credit money you get for rent does not cover the full amount:

·         You can apply for Discretionary Housing Payments.  You must either be getting Housing Benefit with us or Universal Credit that includes something towards your housing costs.  Awards are discretionary and we will consider each case.  You can apply at  newforest.gov.uk/DHP

If you are struggling to pay utility bills:

If you have no money to buy food

  • Contact our Benefits Team on 01590 626121 who will check your eligibility and supply you with a food bank voucher.  You can also contact New Forest Citizens Advice at newforestcab.org.uk/ or by phone on 0300 3309 009.

Other financial measures:

We have been closely monitoring the emerging government guidance in relation to Coronavirus, and the announcements of a range of financial measures designed to support businesses and residents.

These measures include:

  • offering a three-month mortgage holiday for those in need,
  • reimbursing small and medium-sized companies for the cost of statutory sick pay,
  • employers can apply for a grant to cover 80% of retained workers' salaries (up to (£2,500) if they are unable to work due to the coronavirus
  • supplying vouchers for children who currently receive free school meals when schools close, and
  • continuing to fund free childcare entitlements for two, three and four-year-olds.
  • Increases to Working Tax Credit and Universal Credit
  • The government has announced a hardship fund for local authorities to support vulnerable people.  As soon as we receive details of this we will communicate this.

 

Council Tax

01590 646111

counciltax@nfdc.gov.uk

 

Benefits

01590 646121

benefits@nfdc.gov.uk

 

Note: We have postponed debt recovery action  until further notice.


teal bullet Keep up to date

Sign up to get residents emails, with information about how our services are changing as we respond to the Coronavirus crisis.  newforest.gov.uk/artic.../19411/COVID-19-service-update-emailsOpens new window 


18 May 2020: Employment and benefits support

Employment and benefits support. If you are affected by coronavirus or its effect on the economy, there's a wide range of support available. See information form the Dept for Work and Pensions at: https://www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/employment-and-benefits-support/


3 April 2020: Benefits advice and support

Our Benefits Team are on hand to provide support, advice and to answer queries during this stressful time. Please bear with us as we are busier than usual at the moment and remember to check our website regularly for updates.

Important changes from 1 April:

  • The LHA rates are increasing. We will update these soon and notify you. You can view the new rates at newforest.gov.uk/LHARates
  • Working Tax Credit is increasing by £20 per week. This will not affect the amount of Housing Benefit you get
  • We are still working on the Hardship fund payments and will make an announcement about this soon

If you're claiming for a Council Tax reduction, please remember to provide all the information needed so we can process your claim as quickly as possible.


24 March 2020: Council Tax information and support

This is a very difficult time for our residents and the Coronavirus is having a significant impact.  

  • If you are struggling to pay your council tax there is support available and you are encouraged to seek financial assistance through our council tax reduction scheme.
  • If your circumstances have not changed it is important that you continue to pay your council tax to pay for essential services that are delivered to our community.
  • If you need to rearrange your council tax payments for the coming year, as we are offering a range of flexible payment plans, including the ability to spread the cost of council tax evenly over 12 months or starting payments from June instead of April.

If you are struggling to pay your council tax, you should:

  • Make sure that you have claimed all of the benefits that you are entitled to.  For working age families this is www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit and www.newforest.gov.uk/benefits
  • If you are of pensionable age you can claim Pension Credit at gov.uk/pension-credit
  • Contact us at Benefits@nfdc.gov.uk so we can ensure you are getting all the support you are entitled to. 
  • Contact our Revenues Team at counciltax@nfdc.gov.uk to discuss different payment options.  We may agree a special payment plan with you so that your Council Tax for 2020/21 is split over 10 months from June to March 2021, meaning you won't have anything to pay until June.  If you are unable to pay the full instalment for April please contact us and we can agree to defer part of your payment until later in the year.
  • Contact us if you have arrears from 2019/20 as we can discuss this as well

01590 646111 between (8.45am and 1pm)

counciltax@nfdc.gov.uk

Please note: If you send an e-mail please leave a contact number in case we need to speak to you.


19 March 2020 

If you need to claim Universal Credit please apply on line at www.gov.uk/universal-credit/how-to-claim or call the helpline on 0800 328 6455.

To claim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) you must inform your employer, if employees need to provide evidence to their employer that they need to stay at home due to coronavirus, they will be able to get it from the NHS 111 online instead of having to get a fit note from their doctor - this is currently under development and will be made available soon.

If you are claiming Housing Benefit and it has stopped or have a query you will need to speak to the Revenues & Benefits team on 01590 646121.

For current updates please keeping checking the website.

Council Tax and Benefits - Our staff are endeavouring to respond to calls and emails as swiftly as they can, and to process e-forms quickly.  Home visits have been suspended.  For those claiming Universal credit please see https://www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/coronavirus// for support and guidance.

Updated: 18 May 2020
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