Coronavirus help guide – Updated Tuesday 30th June
With many people facing uncertainty around their employment, finances, housing and care, we want to ensure everyone has information they need to help them understand their rights and get the support they are are entitled to. We’ve put together this guide with the latest information on what support is available and how you can get it.
If you’re unsure on what any of this any of this could mean for you or you need some help on any related issues, please get in touch and our Advice Team will do their best to help. Call 020 7392 2953, email email@example.com or complete this online form and someone will get back to you.
Coronavirus – check what benefits you can get
Check if there are changes to your benefits – The government have made changes which might affect your benefits. You don’t have to go to any face to face benefits assessments at the moment but as restrictions ease from 4th July and Job Centres open, that may change soon and assessments and appointments may begin again soon and the ban on sanctions is to be lifted.
Coronavirus – if you’re self-employed
If you’re self-employed and your income has been affected by coronavirus you might be able to get support from the government.
Furlough Scheme extended to 31st October but employers can bring furloughed employees back to work from 1st July.
From 1 July, employers can bring furloughed employees back to work for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim CJRS (Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme) grant for the hours not worked.
From 1 August 2020, the level of grant will be reduced each month. To be eligible for the grant employers must pay furloughed employees 80% of their wages, up to a cap of £2,500 per month for the time they are being furloughed. From September this will reduce to 70% of wages and from October, 60%.
What Coronavirus means for you – Government Guidelines
Council services and support
Coronavirus housing advice – Tower Hamlets Council
The coronavirus outbreak has impacted on the lives of all Tower Hamlets residents. For some, housing may have been a concern before this crisis but it will now be a concern to many more people. On this page we hope to be able to provide you with useful information about your rights in these unusual times, as well as some points of contact to seek further support.
Sick pay and financial support – What to do if you’re employed and cannot work due to Coronavirus
Government issues further guidance to local authorities on implementing the £500 million COVID-19 council tax hardship fund.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government Council Tax information letter clarifies that hardship fund discount should not be applied on a pro-rata basis, and it may be subject to reassessment if council tax liability subsequently reduces below amount awarded. Here’s a summary from Rightsnet and the letter itself here.
You can see what support Tower Hamlets is providing here:
Important reminder: you must claim for council tax reduction in addition to completing to a Universal Credit application.
Advice Services Team Manager Helen Evans explains:
Support for residents who are either in or at risk of being in crisis, are in need of immediate help and have no source of financial support available to them.
The Residents’ Support Scheme will help with short term living costs such as credit food and gas/electric prepayment metres. It can also help in some circumstances with white goods and furniture. Cash will not usually be awarded, but a pay point voucher can be supplied to the applicant where necessary.
Tower Hamlets Council have temporarily changed the criteria to allow residents to apply for support more than once in a 12 month period.
Praxis Hardship Fund – For people with no recourse to public funds (NRPF)
Praxis has been awarded funding from the council to give small emergency grants to migrant residents at risk of poverty and homelessness as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Migrants with no recourse to public funds are at more risk during this period as they cannot claim benefits if they lose their job or get ill.
or call 020 7749 7608 or 020 7749 7605 for advice on Wednesday 2–4pm, Thursday 10am to 12.30pm.
Domestic abuse: get help during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
If you feel at risk of abuse, there is help and support available to you, including the police, online support, helplines and refuges. You can find more information about these and other services on this page.
Ofgem give go-ahead to allow energy companies to end payment holiday and pursue debts
Gas and electricity customers face the prospect of debt collectors chasing up unpaid bills after the energy industry regulator told suppliers they no longer had to offer unlimited coronavirus payment holidays.
Ofgem gave the go-ahead for the restart of debt collections weeks after calling on energy suppliers to offer help to customers facing financial pain due to the Covid-19 pandemic by delaying or reducing bills.
Jonathan Brearley, Ofgem’s chief executive, said that from July energy suppliers would be allowed to restart debt collections because it was not “in customers’ interests” for energy companies to “extend unlimited credit to customers”.