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Craven District Council

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Coronavirus - benefits and money

Find out about council tax, mortgage payments, and benefits

Last updated: Thursday 2 April 10.10am

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