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Financial hardship

COVID-19 has caused many residents immediate financial hardship, due to loss of employment or changes to income. This could leave you with no income and affect your ability to pay Council Tax, rent, mortgage and other household bills. Please check our advice and information below to help you during this difficult time.

If after reading this you're still unsure what to do and need further help, you can complete our financial support referral form. Our Welfare Advice and Debt Support team will then contact you to help.

If you are in crisis now and cannot afford food or basic essentials, please ring 020 8379 1000.

Sick

If you are unable to work and have not been furloughed, you may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), Universal Credit (UC) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

Self-isolating

From 28 September 2020, the government introduced a Test and Trace Self-Isolation Support payment of £500 for people who need to self-isolate for two weeks and are unable to work from home.

To be eligible for a payment you must:

  • have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, either because you have tested positive for coronavirus or have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive
  • be employed or self-employed
  • be unable to work from home and will lose income as a result
  • be currently receiving either:
    • Universal Credit
    • Working Tax Credit
    • income-based Employment and Support Allowance
    • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
    • Income Support
    • Housing Benefit
    • Pension Credit

If you meet the first three criteria above but do not receive any of the benefits listed, you may still be able to claim for a £500 discretionary payment, when you apply for the Self-Isolation Support Payment. To qualify for this, you also need to meet one of the following criteria:

  • have no recourse to public funds
  • be in receipt of a Personal Independence Payment or State Retirement Pension
  • be in the process of claiming for or appealing against a refusal of one of the benefits listed above, and able to provide evidence
  • be in receipt of Council Tax Support
  • have a low income, defined as earning less than the London Living Wage of £10.85 per hour

You will not be eligible for a discretionary payment if you have savings of more than £6,000 or live with a partner who works full time.

Your application should be submitted within two weeks of the final date of your isolation period. It's important to provide all the information and evidence asked for.

Before you apply, make sure you have:

  • your 8-digit Test and Trace ID number
  • your National Insurance number
  • your most recent bank statement
  • proof of your self-employed income or your wage slips

If your application is successful, payment should be made within three working days from the date that all supporting documentation is received.

If you want to submit further documents in support of your application once you've submitted it, you can email us at selfisolationpayment@enfield.gov.uk. Make sure you include your reference number in any correspondence.

View the self-isolating payments FAQs (PDF).

Job Retention Scheme

The government announced on 5 November 2020 that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Furlough Scheme) will be extended until 31 March 2021.

This means that employees who are unable to work due to the coronavirus pandemic will receive 80% of their pay, up to a maximum of £2,500 a month. The policy will be reviewed in January 2021. The employer will cover pension and National Insurance contributions.

As part of the revised scheme, anyone who was made redundant after 23 September 2020 can be rehired and put back on furlough.

You can also be furloughed if you:

  • are at the highest risk - clinically extremely vulnerable - to COVID-19
  • are unable to work (including from home) due to caring responsibilities, such as:
    • caring for children at home because of schools or childcare facilities being closed due to COVID-19
    • caring for a vulnerable person

Self-employed and no longer earning

The self-employed will continue to receive government support under new measures announced by the Chancellor. The extension to the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) to April 2021 is designed to protect people in a similar way to employed workers.

A first taxable grant will cover a three-month period from 1 November 2020 until 31 January 2021. The grant will cover 80% of average monthly trading profits, up to a maximum of £7,500.

Businesses will also continue to be able to apply for government-backed support loans until 31 January 2021.

More information

For more information about support for those affected by COVID-19, visit GOV.UK.

Council housing tenant

If you have had a change in income due to COVID-19, but don’t qualify for help through Universal Credit or Housing Benefit and think you may struggle to pay your rent, we can offer you specialist advice. For advice or to rearrange rent payments, email rent.council.housing@enfield.gov.uk.

Please note there is a ban on evictions, and additional protection as a result of emergency legislation is being put in place.

Temporary accommodation

If you have had a change in income due to COVID-19, but don't qualify for help through Universal Credit or Housing Benefit and think you may struggle to pay your rent, we can offer you specialist advice. For advice or to rearrange rent payments, email incomerecoveryteam@enfield.gov.uk.

Please note there is a ban on evictions, and additional protection as a result of emergency legislation is being put in place.

Private rented sector

If you have had a change in income due to COVID-19, but don’t qualify for help through Universal Credit or Housing Benefit and think you may struggle to pay your rent, you may want to tell your landlord.

If you do get help to pay your rent through Universal Credit or Housing Benefit, more of your rent will be covered due to the additional increase in Local Housing Allowances from April 2020. 

Enfield Council Housing Advisory Service

If you are homeless, threatened with homelessness, or need advice or accommodation, call 020 3821 1769.

Homeowner

If you have had a change in income due to COVID-19 and think you may struggle to pay your mortgage, you should contact your mortgage provider and apply for a three-month payment holiday.

Applying for benefit

If you're no longer working and have no income, you may be entitled to the following:

New style Jobseekers Allowance (JSA)

If you're actively seeking work and have paid enough class 1 National Insurance contributions, you can claim JSA.

For more information and to make a claim, visit GOV.UK.

New style Employment Support Allowance (ESA)

If you’re ill or have a health condition and have paid enough class 1 National Insurance contributions, you can claim ESA. This can be claimed alongside Universal Credit.

For more information and to make a claim, visit GOV.UK.

Universal Credit

If you’re of working age and need help with your living needs, including rent, you can make a claim for Universal Credit by visiting GOV.UK.

The DWP have made changes to claiming Universal Credit, due to the impact of COVID-19. For more information, visit Universal Credit/GOV.UK.

The DWP are currently very busy, due to the increase in benefit claims following the COVID-19 outbreak. All online claims are being verified by phone. Please be aware that this call may come from a private or 0800 number. It is important you answer the call so payments and advances can be made as quickly as possible.

An advanced payment will be offered when making a claim for Universal Credit, that needs to be paid back over twelve months. The paying back can be delayed by up to three months if requested. For more information, visit GOV.UK.

Pension Credit

If you and a partner are both of pensionable age, you can make a claim for Pension Credit by visiting GOV.UK. If you also need help paying your rent or Council Tax, you can claim Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support.

Statutory Sick Pay

Changes have been made to Statutory Sick Pay following the impact of COVID-19. For more information, visit GOV.UK.

Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support

If you need help paying rent, you should claim Universal Credit. You can only claim Housing Benefit if you: 

  • live in temporary accommodation
  • live in supported accommodation
  • receive a severe disability premium
  • are of state pension age

For more information and to make a claim, see our Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support page.

Reporting a change of circumstances

Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support

If you’re no longer working or your income or pay has changed, email revs@enfield.gov.uk. Make the subject line your benefit reference number inside pointed brackets, for example, <XXXXXXXX>.

Let us know if:

  • your pay has reduced but you’re still working, when this happened and how much you now get
  • you have stopped working, when this happened and what you and your family are now living on
  • you are waiting to see if you will get furlough pay, lay off pay, sick pay or any other payments. Let us know this information now, and again when it is paid.
  • you have claimed Universal Credit as you have no income

Universal Credit

If you’re no longer working or your income or pay has changed, you should update your Universal Credit online journal to let the DWP know. They will adjust your claim and let us know to award or change your Council Tax Support. 

Working Tax Credits (Automatic change)

If you’re receiving Working Tax Credit, or the equivalent in Universal Credit, this will be automatically increased by £20 per week. The increase will be disregarded in Housing Benefit and Universal Credit calculations so will not affect these awards.

Local Housing Allowance

If you get help to pay rent through Universal Credit or Housing Benefit, more of your rent may be covered due to the additional increase in Local Housing Allowances which has been applied from April 2020. 

Still struggling to pay rent and Council Tax after changes have been made

Discretionary Housing Payments

If you do get help to pay rent through Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, and still have problems paying rent, you may also qualify for further support through a Discretionary Housing Payment.

If you already get Council Tax Support, this will also act as a claim for Council Tax Support Hardship.

Council Tax Support Hardship payments

If you do get help to pay Council Tax through Council Tax Support, and still have problems paying Council Tax, you may also qualify for further support through a Council Tax Support Hardship payment.

If you have had a change in income due to COVID-19, but don’t qualify for Council Tax Support and think you may struggle to pay your Council Tax, email revs@enfield.gov.uk. Make the subject line your Council Tax account number inside pointed brackets, for example <XXXXXXXX>.

Let us know if you want to:

  • extend your instalments to the end of March 2021, if this has not already been done
  • pay what you can until the situation changes
  • delay the payment for up to two months
  • suggest another option you’d like us to consider

Working age residents receiving Council Tax Support

The government has provided extra funding to allow local authorities to further reduce the amount of Council Tax you're being asked to pay, after Council Tax Support has been awarded. £150 is the minimum support each local authority must provide. However Enfield Council is able to support every working age resident who receives Council Tax Support with up to £250 (it will be less if you owe less than this).

If you claim and are awarded Council Tax Support before 1 December 2020, and are working age, you will automatically have your Council Tax bill reduced by £250 (or up to £250 if you owe less than this).

You should then pay the remaining Council Tax you owe after this has been applied.

If you are currently isolated at home and don't have family or trusted friends you can rely on, please visit our local support page. You will find information on getting necessary items, such as food and medication, and advice on financial hardship.

Housing Benefit overpayments

If you’ve had a change in income due to COVID-19 and think you may struggle to pay your Housing Benefit overpayment, email revs@enfield.gov.uk. Make the subject line your benefit reference number inside pointed brackets, for example, <XXXXXXXX>.

Let us know if you want us to:

  • stop or reduce the amount being deducted from your earnings
  • stop or reduce the amount being deducted from your Housing Benefit or other benefits
  • stop or amend the amount you have agreed to pay by instalments

Loans or other non-priority debts

If you are struggling to pay loans or other non-priority debts due to COVID-19, contact your lender for help. You can also get advice from organisations such as:

Sundry debts

We will send you an invoice for payment of a fee or charge for a service you have received. For example, housing voids, fines, building control, enforcement, licencing, waste and collection, cemeteries, allotments, room bookings and pitch lettings.

If you’ve had a change in income due to COVID-19, and think you may struggle to pay your invoice, you can contact the Exchequer Accounts Receivable Team by email at accounts.receivable@enfield.gov.uk, or phone 020 8379 8056.

Healthy Start food vouchers

For more information, visit Healthy Start.

Universal infant free school meals

Children who receive universal infant free school meals may be entitled to a free school meal under this scheme. If you haven't already done so, you should register your child as eligible for free school meals. For more information, ask at your child's school or contact Pupil Benefits on 020 8379 5367 or email freeschoolmeals@enfield.gov.uk.

During school closures, if children are entitled to free school meals you will need to contact the school to confirm what provisions have been put in place.

Extra help

Extra help is available for low income families to support children with complex needs. Further information can be found at GOV.UK.

Help can also be provided for families with seriously ill or disabled children. This includes the cost of equipment, goods or services. For more information visit Family Fund.

If you're working from home, find out if you're eligible for tax relief by visiting GOV.UK.

Funeral Expenses Payment

Make sure you follow the correct process when contacting the DWP Funeral Payments team. If not, they won't receive the claim. This may delay help with funeral costs. You can contact the DWP Funeral Payments team on 0800 169 0140.

Further more information, visit GOV.UK.

Citizens Advice

You can contact Citizens Advice if you need help or advice on any of the following:

  • You've been furloughed from work
  • You're self-employed
  • Claiming Universal Credit
  • You have no recourse to public funds

For more information on access to public funds, visit GOV.UK.