Help for residents facing hardship or difficulties
The government has issued advice on support available for benefit claimants. Jobcentre appointments have been suspended for 3 months, starting from 19 March 2020. Jobcentres remain open and will continue to support people who are not able to use phones and online, including homeless people.
If you do not currently claim, you may be entitled to help through benefits if you need to self-isolate because:
- you have coronavirus
- you have coronavirus symptoms, for example a high temperature or new continuous cough
- someone in your household has coronavirus symptoms
- you've been told to self-isolate by a doctor or NHS 111
- you have to stay at home due to government advice on coronavirus.
The welfare benefits team will continue to provide welfare rights advice including debt advice, support to identify benefit entitlement and applying for grants.
Help with a new benefits claim
Council tax support
Council tax bills for 2020-21 were sent out a few weeks ago. We know that since then, the impact of coronavirus on households in the borough has been and will be significant over the next few months and, financially, for some this is a worrying time. We want to help you.
If as a result of coronavirus, you think you will find it difficult to pay your council tax over the next few months, please get in touch. We will be using the additional funding announced by the government to support more individuals who need help with paying their bill during these difficult times.
See also Help with council tax
Please call 020 8753 6681 if you need help and advice.
Local support payments
If you have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic and you need financial support, you may be entitled to support through our local support payments.
The council is determined to do as much as it can to support residents through this crisis. It has expanded the local support payment scheme to help as many residents as possible who need help to make ends meet. Find out how to get extra support and are in crisis see Help paying or call 020 7745 6464.
Free employment support available from WorkZone
Our H&F WorkZone service is here to support residents back into work during the COVID-19 crisis.
If you have recently lost your job or at risk of being made redundant, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 8753 6773.
The free employment service provides:
- Access to job and apprenticeship opportunities
- CV and interview technique support
- Dedicated advisor for one-to-one advice and guidance
- Training support
Due to public health guidance, our employment support service will only be available online and over the phone during the COVID-19 outbreak.
For more information please visit the WorkZone website
Employment and financial support
- check if you can get statutory sick pay (SSP)
- check if you're eligible for Universal Credit
- check if you're eligible for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- get an isolation note to give to your employer
- your rights if your hours are cut or you’re laid off
- what to do if you cannot pay your tax bill on time.
If you live with someone who has symptoms of coronavirus, you can get an isolation note to send to your employer as proof you need to stay off work. You do not need to get a note from a GP.
A guide to childcare for key-workers
Paying for your gas and electricity
The government has launched an emergency package with energy suppliers to ensure you don’t face any additional hardships in heating or lighting your home during the coronavirus outbreak.
If you think you cannot afford to pay for extra gas or electricity used because you are having to self-isolate at home, support will be available through your energy supplier. Your supplier must take into account how much you can afford, and will explain your options. No credit meters will be disconnected during the outbreak.
Customers with prepayment meters who are self-isolating or unable to leave their home to top up their meter should contact their supplier immediately to discuss options.
These may include:
- someone being sent to top up your prepayment card or token/key
- having funds added to your meter credit
- having a preloaded gas or electricity card sent to you in the post.
If you do not have enough money to top up your prepayment meter you can apply for support through the local welfare fund on 020 7041 6464. Check with your utility provider first, as the government has made arrangements with some that financial support be granted directly to you.
Advice to help you improve energy efficiency and save money
Green Doctors is a charity who helps residents save money, stay warm, and improve energy efficiency in their homes. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, they've stopped visiting homes, but you can now access their services online and on the phone.
If you’re worried about losing your home
We can provide advice, support and guidance if you’re having difficulty in paying the rent due to the coronavirus.
Please contact the rental income team on 020 8753 6032 or email email@example.com
Our phone line is open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
This may include setting up a payment plan, or supporting you to claim benefits. The government has extended statutory sick pay for people affected by the coronavirus.
However, if you’re not eligible, you may be able to claim Universal Credit or Employment Support Allowance, and we can provide advice on this.
If you are a private renter, we are urging all landlords not to evict a tenant who can’t pay the rent as a result of the coronavirus. However, if you are struggling to pay your rent you can apply for Universal Credit. If you are already receiving Universal Credit or housing benefit you can apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment.
If you’re a homeowner, please call your mortgage provider to explain your change in circumstances because they will be able to pause mortgage payments for up to three months.
Free school meals
If your child received free school meals before the schools closure, you are entitled to receive vouchers from your school.
Most of our schools are offering vouchers but you will need to check with your school about what they will provide.
More information is available on GOV.UK - voucher scheme launches for schools.
H&F Food Guide
For those who are able to use them, we want to make sure that our foodbanks are operating well and that they have food supplies and volunteers to support them.
Contact details for organisations who can advise about benefits and financial difficulties
H&F Law Centre
020 3880 1727
Monday – Thursday 10am-12pm, 3pm to 5pm
020 7052 0318
Monday to Friday 9:30 – 5pm
H&F Citizens Advice
General enquiries 0300 330 1162
Help to Claim UC Number - 0800 144 8 444
Monday – Friday 10am – 4pm
020 8746 7718
Welfare Benefits team
020 8753 5566
Monday & Friday 9am – 12.30pm
Wednesday 1.30pm - 4.30pm
Local welfare fund
020 7041 6464
020 7460 2620
Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm