Support during the COVID-19 pandemic

Support for those claiming benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic

The Council recognises that its residents may be impacted by the COVID-19 and that this might mean that you are not able to pay your Council Tax.​

Council Tax

If you have lost your job or seen a fall in your income, you may be entitled help towards paying your Council Tax. To find out if you are entitled please use our Council Tax Support calculator in the Related Content section on this page. If this shows you could be entitled then you should make a claim for Council Tax Support.

If you think you will qualify for Council Tax Support don’t delay, claim straight away. Normally any help you are entitled to will only start from the week after we receive your claim. You can claim by contacting us using this contact form or downloading a claim form in Related Content.

If you have recently applied for and been awarded Universal Credit please contact us to claim Council Tax Support. If you have not claimed Universal Credit but your income has gone down you may still be eligible for Council Tax Support. However you will need to complete an application form and provide further information.

Council Tax hardship fund

If you are eligible for Council Tax Support you will also be entitled to further assistance under the Hardship Fund set up by Government by way of an additional award of up to £150.00.  You do not need to make a separate application for assistance under the Hardship Fund this will be awarded automatically to Council Tax Support recipients. Anyone who is of working age and receives Council Tax Support during the 2020-2021 financial year is eligible for this scheme. This is as long as you are due to pay £150.00 in Council Tax from the point your claim starts to 31st March 2021. If you are due to pay less than this, your remaining bill will be reduced to zero.

Local Housing Allowance Increase

The Local Housing Allowance is the maximum amount of help that people renting from a private landlord can claim from Housing Benefit or Universal Credit.

From April 2020, Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates will be set at levels that mean housing support from the benefits system has been increased to cover 30 per cent of all rental properties in the local area. This means that LHA will cover the rents of up to three in every 10 homes in an area. This has not been the case since 2012, and will mean that the number of private rental properties that are affordable to people on Housing Benefit or Universal Credit will increase. For further information please visit see the Local Housing Allowance rates link in the Related Content section on this page.

Following the budget announcement on 3rd March 2021 Local Housing Allowance rates for 2021/22 will be maintained at the elevated rates agreed for 2020/21, with future increases revisited annually as part of the annual review.

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates applicable from April 2020 to March 2021 - amendment as instructed by The Social Security (Coronavirus) (Further Measures) Regulations 2020 on the website.

​Universal Credit

From 6 April 2020 the government is increasing the standard allowance in Universal Credit by £20 per week. This will apply to all new and existing Universal Credit customers. This means that for a single Universal Credit customer (aged 25 or over), the standard allowance will increase from £317.82 to £409.89 per month.

Following the budget announcement on 3rd March 2021, the Universal Credit ‘uplift’ of £20 a week will continue for a further six months from April 2021. This means that for a single Universal Credit customer (aged 25 or over), the standard allowance will be £411.51 per month.

If you currently receive Housing Benefit and are thinking about applying for Universal Credit, please ensure that by doing so you will not be worse off. In some situations you may find your Universal Credit award is not as generous as the legacy benefits you currently receive. 

Please note that once you switch from claiming legacy benefits such as Housing Benefit you cannot switch back. 

Before you make an application for Universal Credit please visit 

Tax Credits

The government has also announced that Working Tax Credits payments will be increased from 6 April 2020 for one year.​ The standard rate for Working tax credits will increase by £20 a week for one year from 6 April 2020. This increase could mean customers will be up to £1,040 better off.

For the financial year 2021/22 the Government is making a one-off payment of £500.00 to eligible Working Tax Credit claimants to provide continued extra support over the next six months.

You can also use the government’s benefit calculator in the Related Content section on this page to find out if you’re entitled to any other help.

Test and trace support payment

The test and trace support payment scheme has now closed

As announced by the Prime Minister on Monday 21 February, the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme has now ended. 

Anyone who was required to self-isolate on or before 23 February 2022 would have had 42 days from the first day of their self-isolation period to submit a claim, and no later than 6th April 2022.

No applications can now be made.

Support after 24 February 2022

Individuals who stay at home if they test positive for COVID-19 or are displaying COVID-19 symptoms from 24 February 2022 may be eligible for other government support, such as Universal Credit and Employment and Support Allowance. More information can be viewed at Benefits | GOV.UK

Find further information at: Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme | GOV.UK