Craven District Council

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Craven District Council

National lockdown restrictions are in place until 2 December, when Craven will enter Tier 2: High alert

Coronavirus - benefits and money

Find out about council tax, mortgage payments, and benefits

From Thursday 5 November, new national restrictions will apply in England.

Until 5 November, people should continue to follow the local restrictions for their area.

Information on the new national restrictions has now been published on gov.uk and is available at the links below. More guidance will be published in the coming days.

Guidance: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-national-restrictions-from-5-november  

Announcement: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/prime-minister-announces-new-national-restrictions


Last updated: September 22nd, 2020

On 20 September the Prime Minister's Office announced a new package to support and enforce self-isolation, including financial support for those on lower incomes who cannot work from home and have lost income as a result. Further information is available at: https://bit.ly/3ckZ3wR

Isolation Support Payment

The Government has announced a new Isolation Support Payment. Details of this scheme are still being issued so please keep an eye on this page to ensure you have the latest information.

The scheme is intended to help residents who might feel unable to self-isolate due to financial concerns. The payment will enable people on lower incomes to self-isolate when they test positive or are identified as a contact.  It is hoped that more people will get tested, which in turn will help reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and avoid further social and economic restrictions, including local lockdowns.

Individuals who are required to self-isolate and who meet the eligibility criteria listed below will be entitled to £500. This will be payable as a lump sum.

To be eligible for the Isolation Support Payment, an individual must be able to provide evidence that they:

  • have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace either because they’ve tested positive for coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive – this will include a Unique ID number
  • are employed or self-employed
  • are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result 
  • are currently receiving one or more of the following:
    • universal credit
    • working tax credit
    • income based employment and support allowance
    • income based jobseeker’s allowance
    • income support
    • housing benefit
    • pension credit

You must provide a recent bank statement and the payment will only be paid into the account of the person who is self-isolating. We may contact your employer for confirmation. These payments will be subject to income tax, but not National Insurance contributions.

Important: Applicants whose income is lower than normal because they are furloughed will not be eligible for a test and trace support payment. 

Payments will only be made to people who have been asked to self-isolate on or after 28 September 2020. We expect to have our online application form in place soon and individuals who are eligible will be able to make a backdated claim. The scheme is scheduled to run until 31 January 2021.

If you receive a Self-Isolation Payment you MUST self-isolate as requested by NHS Test and Trace.

Our online application form will be available no later than 12 October 2020 – so please keep checking our website for updates. Payments can only be considered upon receipt of the completed application form, when it is available. If you are unable to complete an online form please telephone Customer Services and someone will complete the form for you.

A local discretionary scheme is also being developed; we anticipate that this will be aimed at helping those who have been asked to isolate but who may not meet fully meet all of the national benefit criteria required to qualify for an Isolation Support Payment. Further details will follow as the scheme is developed so please visit our website regularly as we may only be able to accept claims from people during the period of their self-isolation.

Please visit the NHS website for more details of the NHS Test and Trace self-isolation requirements for those:

  • testing positive and
  • those who have been in contact with someone who has tested positive and has now been told to self- isolate by NHS Test and Trace. 

 

Council Tax Recovery

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

Your Council Tax pays for our essential services that are delivered to all residents in the district, so it is really important that if your 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 you 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 DWP and Council Tax support from the Council.
  2. Get in touch with us. We would encourage anyone who is struggling, to contact us at contactus@cravendc.gov.uk so that we can ensure that you are getting all of the support that you are entitled to.
  3. We may be able to agree to a special payment plan
  4. We can also look at your arrears so that we consider everything you owe to us and avoid any extra costs or charges.

Given the demands on our contact centre, we would request that all contact is via email to contactus@cravendc.gov.uk and we will come back to you promptly.

Council Tax Hardship

The Government has issued guidance to local councils about the council tax hardship funds. The Government intend that the monies be used to provide all recipients of working age local council tax support during the financial year 2020-21 with a further reduction in their annual council tax bill of up to £150. This means that if, for 2020-21, your liability is less than £150 after council tax support, then your council tax bill for the forthcoming year will be nil. 

The relief will be awarded to eligible taxpayers automatically and new bills issued in the next couple of weeks.

Answers to other questions

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

If you’re a homeowner, you might be able to get help towards interest payments 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.

You usually need to be getting, or treated as getting, a qualifying benefit to get SMI.

How to apply

When you apply for a qualifying benefit, you’ll be asked extra questions about your housing costs to find out if you’re eligible for Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI). You might also be sent a form asking for more detailed information.

If you qualify for SMI, you’ll be offered a loan.

If you already get a qualifying benefit contact the office that pays your benefit to find out if you could get an SMI loan.

If you get or have applied for Income Support, income-based JSA or income-related ESA contact Jobcentre Plus. Jobcentre Plus Telephone: 0800 169 0310

I am on a zero hours contract and have been laid off, what do I do?

You may be eligible for Universal Credit to help with your living costs.

You can apply for this online

You will have to apply as a couple if you and your partner live together but 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 am not earning enough to pay my bills

You may be eligible for Universal Credit to help with your living costs; this includes help towards your rent. You can apply for this 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 will have to apply as a couple if you and your partner live together but 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 Telephone: 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.

The government has temporarily removed this minimum income floor and will calculate your Universal Credit based on your actual earnings.

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, DWP is making a number of changes to its benefit processes to ensure people who need financial help have access to the benefit system. 

I have less income this month and cannot pay my rent?

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 DWP can help with rent costs and you should claim Universal Credit. This can include rent payments.

My landlord is going to evict me because I won’t be able to pay my rent this month?

You can contact the Housing Options team here at Craven District Council. Email housing@cravendc.gov.uk

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 DWP can help with rent costs and you should claim Universal Credit. This can include rent payments.

If legal action is being taken against you because you owe money, get free support and advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau.

From the 27th March 2020, your landlord must now issue a three-month notice for most tenants and secure licensees in the private and social rented sectors. At the end of the three-month notice, a landlord cannot force a tenant to leave their home without a court order and will still need to take court action to end the tenancy. At present the courts have suspended all housing possession cases for a period of 90 days which means that no existing claims will proceed.  

Read the UK Government guidance on renting and coronavirus.

If you have been served an eviction warrant, or your home is about to be repossessed, call our homelessness prevention advisers on 0161 240 5036 / 5087.

I can’t pay my Council Tax this month?

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 email us at contactus@cravendc.gov.uk 
 
You can contact us to tell us about a change in your circumstances.
 
The Council may help with Council tax costs and you should claim Council Tax Support