Coronavirus – Financial help for individuals

The latest government updates on all aspects of Coronavirus including information on financial support available can be found at www.gov.uk/coronavirus

If you are worried about your finances and how you are going to make ends meet, there is help available. We have tried to cover some of the most frequently asked questions, provide links to where you can find more information and also to provide additional information which is specific to residents of Horsham. We will add more information as it becomes available.

Income changes

  • Already on Benefits
  • Not already on a benefit or need to apply for another benefit

Other Support

Food Bank

Recent Government announcements – extra help

  • Local Housing Allowance increase
  • Universal Credit
  • Tax Credits
  • Council Tax
  • Job Retention Scheme

Income changes

If your income has dropped because of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) you should consider doing some or all of the following until your income goes back to normal.

Already on Benefits

There are benefits you may be entitled to if your income is low. You do not have had to pay National Insurance and you can also apply if you are self-employed. If you are already claiming benefits, you might get more money.

If you are already getting one of the benefits listed below, you should tell the office paying you that your income has gone down and by how much. They may be able to increase the amount of benefit you receive.

Benefit Who to tell Where to find more information

Housing Benefit &/or

Council Tax Reduction

Your Local Council. If you live in the Horsham District, you can report the change in your circumstances here https://www.lgss-revs-bens.com/contact-us-benefits/ https://www.lgss-revs-bens.com/horsham/
Universal Credit Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) www.gov.uk/universal-credit
Job Seekers Allowance Department for Work and Pensions  (DWP) www.gov.uk/jobseekers-allowance
Income Support Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) www.gov.uk/income-support
Employment and Support Allowance Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) www.gov.uk/employment-support-allowance
Pension Credit Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) www.gov.uk/pension-credit
Tax Credits HM Revenues & Customs (HMRC) www.gov.uk/changes-affect-tax-credits

Not already on a benefit or need to apply for another benefit

If you are not already receiving a benefit, the first thing you should do is make a new claim. To work out which benefit you should claim go to https://www.gov.uk/benefits-calculators

You can also use this link if you are already receiving a benefit but wish to know if you should claim another benefit, such as Universal Credit.

If you wish to claim help with your council tax, you can do this on line https://www.lgss-revs-bens.com/horsham/benefits/review/

Other support

Policy in Practice have created a welfare support page Your income and Coronavirus (COVID-19) to clearly show what support you might get if your income is affected by Coronavirus. The page is updated as and when changes are announced by the Government. Information is provided on what to do if:

  • You are self-employed
  • You are paying rent
  • You are paying a mortgage
  • Your child qualifies for Free School Meals
  • You have a prepayment meter
  • You pay Council Tax

 

Food Bank

If you need to use the Horsham Foodbank, you will need to be referred to them by one of their local agents www.horshamdistrict.foodbank.org.uk/get-help/foodbank-vouchers/

You should check the Foodbank website www.horshamdistrict.foodbank.org.uk/ for the latest information on emergency food services and opening times.

Recent Government announcements – extra help

Government Support Already Provided:

On 20th March the Government outlined a package of measures to protect people’s jobs and incomes as part of the national effort in response to coronavirus.

  • Increased the Standard Allowance in Universal Credit
  • Increased Working Tax Credits
  • Introduced a Job Retention Scheme
  • Introduced a Self-Employed Scheme

For further information on any of the above please visit www.gov.uk

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, for one-year, Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates will be set at levels that mean housing support from the benefits system is sufficient to cover 30 per cent of all rental properties in the local 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. 

The new amounts for Areas within the Horsham District from April 2020 can be found in the Local Housing Allowance document.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/local-housing-allowance-lha-rates-applicable-from-april-2020-to-march-2021

Council Tax Hardship Fund

The Government has announced that they will be giving Horsham District Council an extra £602,007 to help people who are receiving help with their Council Tax bill though a Council Tax Reduction.

  • If you have applied for a Council Tax Reduction or are already receiving a Council Tax Reduction you will not have to do anything else to receive this help. We will not take into account whether you have been affected by COVID-19 either directly or indirectly in assessing eligibility for this reduction.
  • If you are not already receiving a Council Tax Reduction and need help with your Council Tax bill because you are finding it difficult to manage financially, please apply for a Council Tax Reduction in the normal way. Any extra help will be given automatically. 

The Government has asked the Council to reduce the bill for everyone who is working age and receives a Council Tax Reduction, at any point in this financial year, by up to £150. 

The financial year starts on 1 April 2020 and ends 31 March 2020. 

If your bill is already less than £150 a year the bill will be reduced to nil.  If your bill is already nil, no additional award will be made.

We are currently working with our software supplier to award these payments and will post a further update in early July 2020

If you still have Council Tax to pay after your Council Tax Reduction and the additional £150 reduction and you are finding it hard to pay the balance you should contact the Revenues team