We know that you might need a little extra support managing finances at the moment. We want to make sure that you’re prepared and have all the important information to help you look after yourself and your family.
To support you, we’ve pulled together the latest information from the Government so you can get as much help as possible.
We are always on hand to support you. If you have recently lost your job, have experienced a reduction in your working hours or are generally struggling with money and are worried about paying rent during this difficult time, we want to help.
Contact us by phone on 0300 123 5522, by email on firstname.lastname@example.org or via live chat to discuss your rent account with us.
Benefits information available via WhatsApp
People can now access the most up-to-date benefits and support information using WhatsApp. The service, which can be accessed by sending ‘Hi’ in a WhatsApp message to 07860 064 422, has been launched to help make sure the correct information is easily accessible.
Universal Credit / Working Tax Credits
If you’ve recently lost your job, or had your working hours reduced because of the coronavirus outbreak, you can still apply for Universal Credit. You may also be able to receive up to a months advance upfront, without actually going to a jobcentre, depending on your situation.
To apply, visit: https://www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit
Working Tax Credit payments and the standard allowance for Universal Credit have increased by up to £20 per week, from £317.82 to £409.89 per month for people aged 25 and over.
There’s no need for you to contact HMRC, the increase in your payments will automatically start from 6th April 2020.
For more information, click here.
If you’re having difficulty to make a claim for Universal Credit, or need additional advice, visit:
Cheshire West & Chester: https://www.citizensadvicecw.org.uk/News/help-to-claim
Face to face assessments
To minimise the risk of spreading the virus, for three months, DWP have suspended all face-to-face appointments for anyone receiving benefits. This includes disability benefits and job seekers allowance.
If you have an appointment already booked, you no longer need to attend. Don’t worry, your benefits will still be paid as normal.
If you’ve experienced financial loss because of the coronavirus outbreak, and will need help to pay your Council Tax, the Government have set up a £500m hardship fund.
Split across all councils in the UK, the fund can help provide Council Tax relief to those have been most affected by the virus. To check if yourhousehold is classified as “vulnerable” and to see if you can claim this relief, please click here.
Job Retention Scheme
The Coronavirus Job Retention scheme now runs until the end of October.
There is now greater flexibility to the scheme, allowing employers to move out of it in a way that protects people’s incomes and helps support furloughed employees as they return to work. This will run for three months from August through to the end of October.
During this period, employers currently using the scheme will have more flexibility to bring their furloughed employees back to work part time. This is at no financial disadvantage to you, your employer pays the hours you work and the government pays the rest of your furlough. Further information can be found on GOV.UK.
Information on furlough
The new website has been update Employment and Benefits Support site with information about furlough.
The page offers straightforward information about: what furlough is, eligibility, how furlough works with benefits, guidance and signposting on taking alternative work while furloughed, including information for self-employed.
This scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months.
If you are self-employed, unable to work during the coronavirus outbreak and are not entitled to the scheme mentioned above, you are able to apply for Universal Credit to top up your wages.
To find out more visit: https://www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/coronavirus/
If you’re self employed and have seen a loss of earnings during this difficult time, make sure to let DWP know, as your minimum income floor (an assumed level of income) will not be applied for the time you are affected.
If you are an employer, an employee or own your own business, you can find all the support and advice you need here:
Although the Jobcentre has suspended all face to face appointments for three months, they will still be open to offer support to those without digital access.
If you, or a loved one, aren’t able to use a phone or have no access to the internet, Jobcentres will be remaining open to support you with your benefits . To find your nearest JobCentre, visit https://find-your-nearest-jobcentre.dwp.gov.uk/