LOCAL COVID ALERT LEVEL HIGH. Find out what the new rules mean for you. 

Coronavirus: benefits support

We have put measures into place to support residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you need support with Housing

New claims for Housing and Council Tax reductions

Housing benefit and Council Tax reduction are state benefits that help people on a low income to pay their rent and council tax.

You can apply for Housing Benefits or apply for Council Tax Reduction online. 

If you do not have access to the internet or cannot use the internet and do not have anyone to help you, please call 020 8708 5690 and we will arrange to take a telephone claim from you.

We will try to obtain evidence to support your claim from other sources to prevent the need for you to supply documents. If we require documents to support your claim we will ask you to send them in by email. Details of how to send documents in via email are available on our providing information by email page or alternatively, our staff will explain the procedure to you on the telephone.

Claimants entitled to Council Tax Reduction will receive a maximum of £150.00 towards their Council Tax in the coming days. 

Changes of circumstances

 If you are receiving Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction and want to tell us about a change in your circumstances, please do so by emailing housing.benefits@redbridge.gov.uk . Please include your name and your Housing Benefit/Council Tax Reduction reference number and “report change” in the subject field.

You can also notify us of a change in your circumstances by telephone at 020 8708 5690.

Discretionary payments

If you are already receiving housing benefit and or council tax reduction but are still having difficulty paying your rent or council tax, you may be able to apply for extra money through the Discretionary Housing Payment scheme for help with your rent and a Hardship scheme for help with Council Tax. Please visit our Discretionary housing and hardship payments page.

If you do not have access to the internet or cannot use the internet and do not have anyone to help you, please call 020 8708 5690 and we will arrange to take a telephone claim from you.

Support for those receiving a Discretionary Housing Payment on 31 March 2020 has been extended for three months, without the need for a new application.

If you need to supply evidence to support your claim you can do this by email to benefits@redbridge.gov.uk. Instructions on how to do this can be found on our providing information by email page.

Paying your rent and Council Tax additional help

We understand that finances may become stretched during these difficult times. Please remember that your rent and Council Tax are priority debts. In addition to the financial support we can provide via Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction and Discretionary Payments we can also:

  • Pay your Housing Benefit direct to your landlord, this may help you to budget and prevent the need for you to leave your home to make your rental payments if you are self-isolating. This will also help to secure your tenancy in these uncertain times.
  • Spread your Council Tax instalments over a longer period of time 

Difficulties with your mortgage, loan or rent

If you are experiencing financial difficulties meeting your mortgage repayments because of COVID-19, you may be entitled to a mortgage or rental holiday for 3 months.  This initial 3 months has been extended for a further 3 months.

If you are a council tenant struggling to pay your rent due to the coronavirus pandemic, you can contact us on 020 8708 7676 or email income.recovery@redbridge.gov.uk 

For leaseholders please contact 020 8708 7606 or email home.ownership@redbridge.gov.uk

If you are a tenant experiencing financial difficulties, the government will ensure you do not face the threat of eviction for at least 3 months. This applies to private and social renters. At the end of this period, landlords and tenants will be expected to work together to establish an affordable repayment plan, taking into account tenants’ individual circumstances.

If your landlord is not abiding by the new rules, please contact our Housing Team at housing.options@redbridge.gov.uk or call 020 8708 4002.

If you are experiencing difficulties paying back personal loans or credit card bills, you should talk to your lender.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) called on lenders to use flexibility built into their rules to support consumers, taking into account customers’ individual circumstances. Many major lenders have already made statements to this effect.

 

If you need support with your Job 

Statutory Sick Pay and Universal Credit

If you think you are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), please read the following information:

  • You can get £94.25 per week Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if you’re too ill to work. It’s paid by your employer for up to 28 weeks.
  • If you are self-isolating, you can now claim SSP. This includes individuals who are caring for people self-isolating in the same household and therefore have been advised to do a household quarantine.

To check your sick pay entitlement, you should talk to your employer, and visit the government dedicated webpage for more information.

Those who have COVID-19 or are advised to self-isolate will be able to obtain an “isolation note” by visiting NHS 111 online and completing an online form, rather than visiting a doctor.

If you are not eligible for SSP – for example if you are self-employed or earning below the Lower Earnings Limit of £118 per week – and you have COVID-19 or are advised to self-isolate, you can now more easily make a claim for Universal Credit (UC) and new style Employment and Support Allowance, with, or instead of Universal Credit, depending on your National Insurance record.

Check the government guidance on how to claim the universal credit  and/or the New Style Employment and Support Allowance.

If you are self-employed and receiving Universal Credit and you have COVID-19 or are advised to self-isolate, the requirements of the Minimum Income Floor will be temporarily relaxed. This change took effect on 13 March and will last for the duration of the outbreak, to ensure that self-employed UC claimants will receive support. 

Furlough Payments

If you are not working due to COVID-19, your employer may put you on to Furlough leave and continue to pay you 80% of your normal salary. More information on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme can be found on the Government's website

Test and Trace Support Payment

In some circumstances, if you are required by law to self-isolate from the 28 of September you may be supported by a payment of £500, payable from Redbridge Council.

We are waiting on detailed guidance from Government and until this is received the Council is not currently in a position to accept applications or make payments. We will be updating this page with further details as we get them.

It is intended that the scheme will be up and running by the 12th of October in line with Governments request. 

To get the Test and Trace Support Payment, you must be:

  • 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
  • employed or self-employed
  • unable to work from home and will lose income as a result and
  • currently receiving Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit.

How much is the payment?

You may be supported by a lump sum payment of £500

Will this payment be taxed?

This payment will be subject to income tax. It will not be subject to National Insurance contributions.

How long will this be in place for?

The scheme will run until 31 January 2021.

When will this come into force?

These changes will come into effect on 28 September 2020, alongside the legal duty to self-isolate.  Redbridge Council is expected to have our systems in place by 12 October; individuals who are eligible prior to that date will be able to make a backdated claim.

Employer Support

Residents whose job and income has been affected by the Coronavirus pandemic can seek support from our Work Redbridge service.

Our specialist advisers can support you to find work or training, as well as offer advice on interviews and CV writing.

Details of job opportunities including temporary roles will be kept updated on their webpages and regular jobpack. We are currently providing support via telephone and email.

For further information please contact Work Redbridge team at workredbridge@redbridge.gov.uk  or call 0208 708 2298.  

 

If you need support with food and essentials

Foodbank

At present, the Foodbanks within the borough remain open. The Welfare Benefits Team administer the allocation of Foodbank vouchers on behalf of Trussell Trust and in accordance with their guidelines. vouchers can only be issued to Redbridge residents or those who have been placed outside the borough by Housing. 

You will no longer need to go to Lynton House to collect a voucher for the Foodbank.

Instead, please telephone the Welfare Benefits Team to make your request.  The team will carry out a Benefits Health Check with you and will ask:

  • Your name, address and age
  • Details of anyone else who lives with you
  • How much food you have at home
  • Why you need a voucher
  • What income you receive
  • When you are due your next benefit payment or wages

We will also consider whether there is any other support available to you to ease your financial pressures.

If it is then determined that a voucher can be issued, this request will be sent directly to the foodbank and you can then collect your food parcel from the foodbank.

Find the foodbank opening times on the Redbridge Foodbank website

You can contact the Welfare Benefits Team on 020 8708 4180 or at Welfare.benefits@redbridge.gov.uk

You can also contact the Redbridge Foodbank on 020 8518 0056 or email info@redbridgefoodbank.org

 

If you need support and do not have access to public funds

If you are living in the UK and have no recourse to public funds (NRPF) it is likely that you will not be able to claim any national or local benefits. You may be able to seek support from other organisations. More information can be found on the NRPF network website.

 

If you need additional help or assistance

The Welfare Benefits Team are currently unable to offer personal appointments at any of our sites or provide home visits. Over the telephone or email we will still be able to:

  • Talk you through what benefits you may be eligible for and how to obtain a claim form
  • Explain how your Benefit has been calculated (provided you have your Benefit award letter to hand)
  • Assist you in completing benefit claim forms including Employment and Support Allowance and Personal Independence Payments by talking you through each section of the form
  • Assist you with your mandatory reconsideration or appeal by talking you through the process and helping you to formulate your submission
  • Tell you what other help may be available to you from charities, utility services, debt management services or the voluntary sector
  • Offer a checking service for any forms/paperwork you have completed provided you email them to our Team

We will contact you by your preferred method of either email, letter or telephone.

Depending on your query, you may be on the telephone with us for a long time which can be very tiring for some of our clients; we can spread the work we do with you over a period of telephone sessions to ease the situation. Equally, to reduce the cost to you, we will happily ring you back if you would like us to do this.

Please call the Welfare Benefit Team on 0208 708 4180 or email us at welfare.benefits@redbridge.gov.uk

More information can be found on our welfare benefits and support page.

 

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