Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update
In line with social distancing advice and to protect residents and staff the Council has taken the decision to close the Council offices to the public until further notice.
Whilst the offices are closed to visitors, you are still able to access services and information from this website 24/7.
Information and advice on coronavirus (COVID-19) and how to access Council Services during this period can be found on our Coronavirus information page
We ask that all residents #StayHomeSaveLives – see a Message from the Leader of the Council
Latest Information from Benefits
Coronavirus & Benefits
For Help with your Council Tax
Central Government has provided new grant funding for additional support for working age Council Tax payers who are currently in receipt of Local Council Tax Support, or have been, during the financial year starting the 1st of April 2020.
- You may be eligible for Local Council Tax Support (LCTS)
Claim LCTS online here www.castlepoint.gov.uk/council-tax-support
If you a need assistance to complete an online claim, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Assistance will be provided by Peabody.
- 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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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)
Please DO NOT go to your local Jobcentre to claim UC. Whilst Jobcentres remain open they may have significantly reduced staffing and their priority will be to support people who are not able to use telephone and online services. In the first instance residents are asked to claim UC online here www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit
Residents covered by Canvey Island Job Centre and who need help to claim can call 07879 740 609 (Monday to Thursday 9am – 4.30pm) for support.
Residents from any area within the borough can also call 0800 144 8 444 for assistance.
Help to claim will be given over the phone by Citizens Advice.
- If you are working age and already receive Universal Credit (UC)
You do not have to attend any Jobcentre appointments for at least 3 months, starting from Thursday 19 March 2020.
You will continue to receive your benefits as normal but all requirements to attend the Jobcentre in person are suspended.
You can find further information about temporary/emergency COVID-19 related changes to Universal Credit and other benefits which are delivered by the Department For Work and Pensions here: www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/coronavirus/
Click Here to find further information about Coronavirus support for employees benefit claimants and businesses
- 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
You can claim HB online here
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.
You can apply for a DHP here
DHP awards are made at the discretion of the Local Authority.
Not everyone who claims a Discretionary Housing Payment will be given assistance.
‘Furloughed’ Employees (Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme)
All UK employers with a PAYE scheme will be able to access support to continue paying part of your salary if you would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.
This applies if your employer has asked you to stop working but is keeping you on the pay roll - otherwise described as ‘furloughed workers’.
This scheme will be delivered via HMRC, who will reimburse your employer with 80% of your wages, up to £2,500 per month to safeguard you from being made redundant.
This scheme will cover the cost of your wages backdated to 1 March and is initially open for 3 months but will be extended if necessary.
As an employee you do not need to do anything.
Your employer should:
- notify you if they have designated you as a ‘furloughed worker’
- submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal
Existing systems are not yet set up to facilitate payments to employers and HMRC are working on this urgently.
For information released by the Government to assist the self employed please see Claim a grant through the coronavirus Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
For other Support and Advice
If you have been affected by employment, consumer, or other debt related issues and need general advice and support please contact Peabody