Financial guidance if you’ve been affected by the coronavirus

If you’re struggling with any living costs as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, whether you’re struggling to pay your bills or your council tax, or you’re struggling to paying for other essentials like food and drink, there is plenty of support available. Please read the information below to find out what might be available to you. 

If you’re in urgent need of food or medical supplies, or you don’t have anybody around you to help you get these or other essential supplies, please call our Community Support team on 01235 422600 or email communitysupport@southandvale.gov.uk – there’s more information on our Community Support pages.

Council tax

If you are facing any difficulties paying your council tax for any reason, including loss of work or a reduction of income due to the Coronavirus, contact us as soon as possible on 0345 302 2315 or email vowh.counciltax@secure.capita.co.uk.

If you are currently not being paid, and are struggling to pay your bill, please apply for Council Tax Reduction – your account will then be put on hold for 30 days while your application is processed. 

Financial support for those on benefits who are told to self-isolate

Anyone who has been told to isolate since 28 September by NHS Test and Trace, and who meets the relevant eligibility criteria, can submit a claim for an additional £500 in financial support.  You can find more about this scheme on our additional financial support page.

Claiming Universal Credit and other benefit support

If you are in urgent need of financial assistance, you may be eligible for universal credit and other benefits from the government.  Universal Credit is fund for people who need help with their living costs and, if you are self-employed, this will help to provide you with support until a grant for the self-employed becomes available in June.

For new Universal Credit claims and other benefit support, visit the government’s claiming employment and benefit support website or visit your local job centre for more information.

Claiming Employment and Support Allowance

You can apply for Employment and Support Allowance if you have a disability or health condition that affects how much you can work or if you cannot work while you are self-isolating because of the coronavirus.  It’s also available for people who are employed, self-employed or unemployed. 

The government has made changes to this allowance so that people affected by the coronavirus can claim from the first day of sickness (rather than the eighth).

You can find out more information and if you’re eligible on the government’s website.

Discretionary Housing Payment

These are short term financial payments that can help with shortfalls in rent for residents receiving either Housing Benefit or Universal Credit housing costs.

Each application is considered on its own merits. Find out if you’re eligible and apply for Discretionary Housing Benefit here.

Mortgage payment support

The Department of Works and Pensions may be able to help towards the interest payments through Support for Mortgage Interest.  See the government’s mortgage payment support page for information on how to apply.

Advice if you’re renting

The government has produced advice and guidelines about what you should do if you’re having difficulty paying your rent. It also explains what your landlord should and shouldn’t be doing. 

Statutory Sick Pay

Your employer has a responsibility to pay you statutory sick pay if you’re too ill to work, and if you’re self-isolating due to the Coronavirus. There’s more information about statutory sick page, on the government’s website.

Support for self-employed

If you are self-employed you can find out more about the self-employment income support scheme on the governments website

Debt advice

Free debt advice is available from the National Debtline – their number is 0808 808 4000.

The Money Advice Service also provides free debt advice on 0800 138 1677.

Citizens Advice Oxfordshire South and Vale can provide you with free, confidential advice via 0300 330 9042.

Support and advice for VCS organisations

If you work for a VCS organisation we have details of grants and other support that you can access via our grants team. Please see our grants pages for more information