Accessing benefits and other government support
It is vital that you ensure you can meet your financial commitments and do not ignore any issues that arise. Your bank or lender can assist you in maintaining your payments.
Cost of Living Support
Energy Bills Support Scheme
Through the Scheme, domestic electricity customers in Great Britain will receive a £400 grant which will appear as a credit from energy suppliers from October 2022 onwards. This will not need to be repaid.
Ofgem general bill advice: Getting help if you can't afford your energy bills
Council tax rebate
The council tax rebate will provide a payment of £150 to households living in council tax bands A – D. Local councils are responsible for determining who is eligible and making payments. These will be made from April 2022 and will not need to be paid back.
Pensioner cost of living payment
This additional one-off payment will go to the over 8 million pensioner households across the UK who receive the Winter Fuel Payment and will be paid on top of any other one-off support a pensioner household is entitled to, for example where they are on pension credit or receive disability benefits. Eligible households currently receive between £200 - £300, so the payment will represent at least double the support.
Disability cost of living payment
Disability Cost of Living Payment Individuals on disability benefits will receive a one-off £150 payment in September to help with extra costs, such as for specialist equipment or transport. This is in addition to the £650 Cost of Living Payment for disabled people who also receive means tested benefits.
Cost of living payment
You may be able to get a payment to help with the cost of living if you’re getting certain benefits or tax credits. You do not need to apply. If you’re eligible, you’ll be paid automatically in the same way you usually get your benefit or tax credits. The payments will be made separately from your benefit or tax credits. These payments are not taxable and will not affect the benefits or tax credits you get.
The Citizens Advice have setup an online benefits checker that can help you check if you’re entitled to any additional support at this time.
Specialist Benefits Advice
Nottinghamshire County Council have a specialist advice team. If you cannot find the answer you are looking for then please call the Customer Services Centre on 0300 500 8080 and ask for a referral to the Benefits Team.
The Citizens Advice also has information and support if you can't pay your bills because of coronavirus. Money Saving Expert and the Money Advice Service can also offer advice and support in dealing with mortgages and other debts, rental help, energy top-ups and more.
Your local council can support you with council tax payments and is providing extra help if you’re in exceptional financial hardship. Further information is available in your local district or borough council’s coronavirus response: Ashfield, Bassetlaw, Broxtowe, Gedling, Mansfield, Newark and Sherwood, Rushcliffe.
If you are worried that you may not be able to pay your rent this can be a big concern. The government has announced a ban on evictions. Your landlord can’t start court action for at least three months. Citizens Advice has information about dealing with rent arrears. Shelter has advice on issues to do with coronavirus including eviction and rent problems.
Websites to help jobseekers and employers
The County Council’s Nottinghamshire Opportunities site helps residents search for jobs, training courses and apprenticeship opportunities. It is also a useful resource for employers who are looking to recruit locally.
If you are in receipt of Working Tax Credits it it important that you seek advice before applying for Universal Credit. It will not be possible to apply for Working Tax Credits again once a claim for Universal Credit has been made.
More information can be found at understanding universal credit.
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
You may claim ESA if you have an illness or disability which prevents you from working, and you have come to the end of your Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) or you are not entitled to SSP.
Entitlement to ESA is based upon your National Insurance record (from employment, self-employment or NI credits) and can be paid even if you have savings over £16,000 or other income. If you have a low income and savings under £16,000 you may also be able to claim Universal Credit.
If you already receive Universal Credit, you can apply for ESA via your UC account or by contacting your work coach or case manager.
It is now possible to claim new style ESA online. Find out if you're eligible for new style ESA. To make the claim you will need:
- your National Insurance number
- your bank or building society account number and sort code (you can use a friend or family member’s account if you do not have one)
- your doctor’s name, address and telephone number
- details of your income if you’re working
- the date your Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) ends if you’re claiming it.
You will be asked a series of questions to check your entitlement to ESA before you make the application.
It is still possible to claim by phone. Please call 0800 328 5644. If you are an appointee for someone else, you must make the claim by phone.
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
You may claim SSP if you are an employee and you are unable to work owing to illness or disability.
You may be able to claim benefits to top up SSP, such as Universal Credit and should seek advice if you think this may be the case.
Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Warm Homes Hub
Nottingham Energy Partnership’s newly launched Warm Homes Hub is offering a range of free and subsidised services to help Nottingham and Nottinghamshire residents. The Warm Homes Hub can help with:
- benefits checks
- energy comparisons and tariff switching
- support with broken or faulty heating
- food and prescription collections
- food and fuel voucher and more.
The Warm Homes Hub scheme is supported by Nottinghamshire County Council. You can find out more at https://warmhomeshub.com/covid19/ or by calling 0115 985 3000.