Reduced Services

Accessing Council Services:  

By accessing our wide range of 24/7 online services
By emailing directly to the relevant service
By phoning First Contact on 01268 882200 (8.45am to 5.15pm Mon to Thurs, and to 4.45pm on Fri). 
By pre-booked appointment at the Kiln Road office (9.00am to 4.00pm Mon to Fri) - these can be arranged by phoning First Contact on 01268 882200.

Latest Information from Council Tax and Benefits

Test and Trace Support Payment

A new package to support and enforce self isolation has been announced by the government. People will be required by law to self-isolate from 28 September, supported by payment of £500 for those on lower incomes who cannot work from home and have lost income as a result.


For Help with your Council Tax

You may be eligible for Local Council Tax Support (LCTS)

You can claim LCTS online.

If you a need assistance to complete an online claim, please email  

Assistance will be provided by Peabody (see below)  


You may be able to request a Council Tax Payment Holiday

If your current payment plan runs from April to January, we can re-profile your Council Tax instalments over 10 months running from June to March instead - giving you 2 months breathing space during this difficult time.

Please email to request a payment holiday.


You may be able to request a 12 month payment plan

If your current payment plan runs from April to January, we can re-profile your Council Tax instalments over 12 months instead of 10 – maximising your payment period and reducing the amount you need to pay each month.

Please email to request a 12 month payment plan. 


For help with your Rent

If you are working age you may be eligible for Universal Credit (UC)

The Jobcentre (operated by the Department for Work & Pensions) is currently open at the following temporary hours:

10:00-14:00 Monday to Friday

The Jobcentre may occasionally shut at lunchtime between 12:00-13:00 due to staffing levels. 

Anyone coming into the Jobcentre will be asked to use hand sanitiser when they arrive, and will be asked to wear a face mask, which can be provided if they do not already have one.

Residents can claim UC online.

Residents covered by Canvey Island Job Centre and who need help to complete a claim can also call 07879 740 609 and will be supported by Citizens Advice (Monday to Thursday 9am – 4.30pm).  Residents are also able to receive help to complete a claim from Peabody - contact details can be found at the bottom of this page.

Residents from any area within the borough can also call 0800 144 8 444 for assistance. .


If you are working age and already receive Universal Credit (UC)

Appointments may be conducted at the Jobcentre or over the phone. It will be made clear when the appointment is booked whether it is to be held in person at the Jobcentre or by phone. 

You can find further information about temporary/emergency COVID-19 related changes to Universal Credit and other benefits delivered by the Department for Work and Pensions.

The Department for Work and Pensions also provides further information about Coronavirus support for employees benefit claimants and businesses on their website.


If you are pension age, or working age and living in temporary or supported accommodation you may be eligible for Housing Benefit (HB)

Temporary or supported accommodation means accommodation provided by a landlord in the social or voluntary sector where the claimant is provided with care, support or supervision by the landlord or by someone acting on the landlord’s behalf

From April 2020, Local Housing Allowance rates will be increased to the 30th percentile of market rents – this will apply to all existing HB claimants.


You may be entitled to a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP)

You can apply for a DHP if you are any age and have already claimed HB or UC but still need further help with housing costs.

DHP awards are made at the discretion of the Local Authority.

Not everyone who claims a Discretionary Housing Payment will be given assistance.

You can claim a DHP online.


For work and financial support:

The government has created a web page containing information on support with work during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Kickstart Scheme:
A Government scheme providing paid jobs for Universal Credit claimants aged 16 to 24 who are deemed at risk of long-term unemployment and are not currently employed. Read more about the Kickstart Scheme here.

JETS Scheme:
The Job Entry Targeted Support scheme provides personal employment support for 6 months for those who have been unemployed for at least 13 weeks. Read more about the JETS scheme here.

Job Finders support:
JFS is a voluntary provision to help participants develop their job finding and job application skills. Read more about Job Finders Support here.

The Work and Health Programme also offers additional support.


For support with finding employment

If you are looking for work, you may find the following resources useful:


For support with childcare as a working family

The government has released information regarding support with childcare for working families affected by Coronavirus.


For support with essential items

You may be able to receive a grant through the Essential Living Fund.

This scheme can cover applications for:

  • furniture
  • household furnishings
  • white goods
  • clothing and footwear
  • general living expenses - these are day to day living expenses such as groceries, nappies, toiletries, money for pay as you go fuel meters

The Essential Living Fund scheme is operated by Southend Borough Council. 


For other Support and Advice

If you have been affected by employment, benefits, housing, health and wellbeing, utilities family or debt related issues and need general advice and support, you may wish to contact Peabody.

Peabody have taken a number of measures in response to COVID-19/Coronavirus restrictions. All staff are provided with PPE in line with Government guidance and adhere to social distancing and Public Health England guidelines.

Most of the support Peabody staff provides can be via telephone and video calling. Face to face visits will be conducted at a distance of 1 metre and wherever possible this will be outside. 

Support includes one off appointments for advice, guidance and immediate assistance, while those with a more complex support need will be offered support for up to 6 months.


If you are experiencing financial hardship, such as redundancy, job loss, or a reduction in self-employed earnings, or other problems with money as a result of Coronavirus, you may wish to use the Money Navigator tool, provided by the Money and Pensions Service.

Based on your own situation, it will help you to know:

  • The money issues you need to tackle first
  • How to stay on top of bills and payments
  • What extra help and support you’re entitled to
  • Where you can get free advice for debt, housing or redundancy


Essex Outreach Support, Advice and Information Service 

Peabody | Castle Point