Individuals and households face an uncertain time over the new few months. A range of advice and help is available to those who may need financial support.

Details of the help available
Scheme Who can access it? What can you access? How can you access it?
Council Tax Support

People who are unemployed or on a low income.

Discount of up to 70% of your yearly council tax. The amount you get depends on how much your council tax is and your household income and circumstances.

Online application form

Discretionary Discount

If you are not entitled to council tax support but are suffering financial hardship or can show that your personal circumstances justify a reduction in council tax.

Reduced council tax bill

Download the application form

Discretionary housing payment

If you are receive Housing Benefit or Universal Credit Housing Costs and are suffering financial hardship.

DHP can provide additional temporary payments or one off help with accommodation related costs if you are suffering financial hardship, e.g. contribution towards rent, rent in advance, and rent arrears.

Download the application form

Crisis support scheme

People in need of financial support during an emergency or crisis situation

Helpto pay for essential items in an emergency or crisis situation, e.g. to provide food and support for energy bills.

Online application form

Exceptional hardship fund

You must be receiving Council Tax Support to be able to claim exceptional hardship payments.

Further reductions to a Council Tax bill that has already been reduced under Council Tax Support.

Download the application form

Universal credit

You may be able to get Universal Credit if:

  • you’re on a low income or out of work
  • you’re 18 or over (there are some exceptions if you’re 16 to 17)
  • you’re under State Pension age (or your partner is)
  • you and your partner have £16,000 or less in savings between you
  • you live in the UK

Universal Credit is a payment to help with your living costs. It’s paid monthly.

You may be able to get it if you’re on a low income or out of work.

Online application form

Please note this is administered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and there is a five week wait and one month in arrears.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

Employees if they are too ill to work

OR

If you are self-isolating because of COVID-19: From 13 March, you can now claim SSP. This includes individuals who are caring for people self-isolating in the same household and therefore have been advised to do a household quarantine.

You can get £94.25 per week Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid by your employer for up to 28 weeks.

To check your sick pay entitlement, you should talk to your employer, and see GOV.UK: Statutory Sick Pay for more information.

Mortgage or rental “holiday” for 3 months

Renters experiencing financial difficulties because of COVID-19

OR

Landlords whose tenants are experiencing financial difficulties because of COVID-19.

You may be entitled to a mortgage or rental holiday for 3 months.

Contact your Mortgage lender, or the letting agent/landlord of your rented property

Flexibility to pay back personal loans or credit card bills

If you are experiencing difficulties paying back personal loans or credit card bills as a result of COVID-19

If you agree a payment holiday with your lender, they should record these in such a way that will not impact on your credit score.

Many major lenders have already made statements to this effect. Please talk to your lender.

Other grants available

COVID-19 Care Workers Crisis Grants

Care Workers are at the frontline of the coronavirus crisis, caring for society’s most vulnerable and most susceptible to the disease. If a care worker needs to self-isolate, they could fall into desperate need. Apply for a grant or donate.

Cavell Nurses Trust

Additional funding for grants designed to help healthcare assistants, nursing and midwifery professionals with their living costs like rent and utility bills has now been made available.

Hospitality Action

Industry charity Hospitality Action launched a Covid-19 grant scheme to help hospitality workers who find themselves struggling as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Hospitality workers can apply for a one-off grant of £250 per household.

Outstanding debts

If you currently have outstanding debts with us that have already been referred to enforcement agents for recovery, these debts are still recoverable and will remain with the enforcement agents. However, as the communities that we serve are our primary consideration, we have requested that all enforcement agent visits stop for the next 3 months.

During this time there will still be communications from the enforcement agents, but they will be delivered by other methods. All enforcement agency staff will be able to revise your circumstances to effectively assess your ability to pay, particularly with the restrictions on working and social distancing. This will enable an affordable payment plan, which could, in turn, offer breathing space and payment plans over longer terms.

With Government advice varying daily we will provide updates when situations change. But would like to advise customers to explore all financial support options that are available to them, ensuring that their financial circumstances does not worsen more than necessary if affected by issues related to COVID-19.

Debts with enforcement agents

On 25 March 2020 we were advised by our contracted Enforcement Agents that they were closing their contact centres. Customers will still be able to make payments through 24/7 self-serve options, including online payments via the web, automated payment telephony lines and online bank transfers. They will continue to maintain a reduced telephony service customer care team and welfare support team to ensure that customers have some level of contact over the phone or via email and letters.

2020/21 Council Tax Bills

With regards to the new bill for 2020/2021 we would advise you to continue to make payments even if they are less than your planned instalment values. Reminders will be issued for accounts that accrue arrears, which will contain details of all financial support options that are in place (see above) to try and prevent any further financial hardship.

Further support

For information on support available within the community contact the Torbay Coronavirus Community Helpline on 01803 446022/01803 857727 or online via www.bit.ly/torbayhelpline.

The Torbay Coronavirus Community Helpline is open seven days a week from 8am until 8pm.