Frequently Asked Questions
The following sections aim to provide answers to the most frequently asked questions for residents during the current pandemic. If you require further help and support you can log onto the Citizens Advice Bureau's (CAB) online chat for specialist benefits, employment or housing advice. This may be better than attending your local CAB in person if you're self-isolating. You can also get advice about benefits If you're unsure of what to claim by visiting Turn2Us or Entitle to websites.
Do I still need to pay my rent during the Pandemic?
Yes. Currently there has been no change to your responsibility to pay your rent. If you are struggling to make your rent payments, please get in touch with us on 020 7424 7370 and we can discuss your options.
Do I still need to pay my mortgage during the Pandemic?
Yes. The Government have introduced new measures that mean you could be entitled a mortgage holiday of up to 3 months. A mortgage holiday will usually only be available to customers who are not in arrears and up to date with payments. Any agreed unpaid mortgage will be recovered by spreading it across future payments. For further advice you should contact you mortgage lender.[i]
Am I still at risk of eviction du to rent arrears?
The government have put in place measures to suspend new evictions for at least a 3-month period for those affected by the Corona Virus. If you are facing financial difficulty and your home is at risk, please get in touch with us so we can discuss your options.[ii]
I have already received an eviction notice, will this still go ahead?
You will need to get in touch with your income officer to discuss your options. Alternatively, you should contact your Local Authority Homeless Persons unit, the Citizens Advice Bureaux on 0344 411 1444 or Shelter on 0300 330 1234.
How can I get help towards my rent?
You may be entitled to claim Universal Credit if you are working age or Pension Credit and Housing Benefit if you are entitled to your pension. Universal Credit replaces, income based Job Seekers Allowance, Employment Support Allowance, Carers Allowance, Tax Credits and Housing Benefit.
You can make a claim for universal credit online for help with your rent. You will also need to make separate claim for council tax support. A claim for council tax support can be made through your local authority website online. A claim for Housing Benefit can at the same time as council tax support, online through your local authority website.
Am I eligible for a Discretionary Housing Payment?
A Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) can help towards shortfalls in your rent and are paid by the local authority direct to your landlord. You should contact your local authority or apply online for a DHP. You must be in receipt of housing benefit or Universal Credit to be eligible for a DHP.
I have to self-isolate will I still get paid from work?
Yes. You may be eligible for statutory sick pay (SSP) from the first day that you self-isolate if you are an employee or agency worker. The Government has introduced emergency legislation that began from the 13 March. You will be entitled to SSP if you are not ill but are following government guidance to self-isolate and can’t work from home. You will not need to provide a sick note to your employer for the first seven days. [iii]
My childrens schools is shut how am I going to work?
You may be covered under the key worker scheme. The government has opened schools for children of key workers and has published a list of qualifying staff. You can view the list here.
I have to stay home from work to care for my children can I still get paid?
As an employee you are allowed a reasonable amount of time off in an emergency involving a dependent. This is usually referred to as parental leave and there is no set amount of time you can take as it will depend on the situation. There are no limits on how many times you can take time off for dependents. Whether or not you are paid for parental leave will depend on the terms in your employment contract. Employers are not legally required to pay parental or dependent leave. Annual leave may be an option if your employer does not offer paid parental or dependent leave. If are in receipt of tax credits and your hours are reduced your tax credit will not be affected and will automarically remain the same during the pandemic. You will not need to contact tax credit.
I have been made redundant what benefits can I claim?
If you are working age you may be entitled to claim Universal Credit for help towards living and rental costs. You will not be entitled to Universal Credit if you have capital over £16,000. Any capital of £6000 and over will affect the amount of Universal credit you receive. If you are not eligible for Universal Credit due to excess capital, you may be able to claim contribution-based benefits that are not based on income or capital. If you are eligible for state pension you may be entitled to pension credit and housing benefit. Capital limits also apply to these benefits. To discuss your options, you should get in touch with your income officer 020 7424 7370 option 3 or the Citizens Advice Bureaux on 0344 411 1444.
I have to self-isolate will my benefits stop?
No. Due to the current pandemic crisis Job centers’ across the country have closed to existing benefit claimants. The requirement to attend appointments for existing claimants at the job center have been suspended from 19 March 2020. This suspension will be in place for at least 3 months.[iv]
If I think I have Coronavirus what should I do?
If you start to feel unwell, or start to experience a new persistent cough, high temperature then you should self-isolate. Government guidance advises this should be for 7 days if you live alone and 14 if you do not. Do not visit the GP, the local hospital or Pharmacy. Only contact the NHS on 111 if you are unable to get help online. Contact 999 in the event of an emergency. Please let us know if you are self-isolating by contact us on 0207 424 7370.[v]
I don't have any money for food what should I do?
If you are in receipt of benefits your local authority may be able to help with a grant to cover emergencies such as food, gas and electric. Different borough run different schemes so you would need to get in touch with them directly or apply online. If you can also visit the Trussell Trust online to search for your nearest food bank.
Other support available?
If you're unsure of what to claim, visit Turn2Us or Entitle to websites.
You can also use Citizens Advice Bureau's (CAB) online chat for any benefits, employment or housing queries. This may be better than attending your local CAB in person if you're self-isolating.