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Coronavirus (COVID-19) - For information on changes to our services, how to get help, support your community, advice and grants for employers and businesses visit our Coronavirus pages.

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Coronavirus - Council tax and benefits

Test and trace support payments

The Government have announced that from 28 September 2020, you will be entitled to a Test and Trace Support Payment of £500 if you:

  • have been told to stay at home and self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace (and have a valid notification)
  • are employed or self-employed
  • are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result
  • are currently receiving UC, Working Tax Credit, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, income-based JSA, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit

From 8 March 2021 the scheme has been extended to include a parent or guardian of a child or young person who has been told to isolate.

You must satisfy the following criteria:

  • you are the parent or guardian of a child or young person in the same household and you need to take time off work to care for them while they self-isolate
  • you are employed or self-employed
  • you cannot work from home while undertaking caring responsibilities and will lose income as a result
  • you meet all of the other means-tested eligibility criteria for a Test and Trace Support Payment or our own criteria for a discretionary payment
  • your child or young person: - is aged 15 or under (or 25 and under with an Education, Health and Care Plan) and normally attends an education or childcare setting, and - has been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or by their education or childcare setting because they have been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for Covid-19
Apply for a Test and Trace Support Payment

Hardship Fund

The Government has allocated funds that will allow West Oxfordshire District Council to grant up to £150 to a resident if they are of working age.

You are now able to apply to the Hardship fund for assistance with your Council Tax. This is at our discretion and you do not have to be receiving Council Tax Support. Please complete and return the form.

If you are self-employed

If you are not able to trade currently due to Covid-19, you can claim a self-employed income support grant from the Government. HMRC will contact you if you are eligible for this grant so you will not need to contact them directly.

If you receive Universal Credit and Council Tax Support, your Council Tax Support will be adjusted once your Universal Credit has been adjusted.  If you currently claim Universal Credit, update your circumstances through your online journal so that your award can be re-assessed.  If Universal Credit apply the minimum income floor to your award, they should now stop doing this and increase your entitlement accordingly.

If you are currently receiving Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support but not Universal Credit, contact us in writing or by email benefits@westoxon.gov.uk to confirm the date that you stopped trading as a result of Covid-19 and we will be able to update your claim.

Local Housing Allowance (LHA)

If you rent from a private landlord and receive either Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, the amount of assistance you receive with your rent is determined by the Local Housing Allowance.  As part of the response to Covid-19, the LHA rates have been increased from 1 April 2020. As a result, the amount of assistance that you receive in Housing Benefit or Universal Credit may increase.  The Council and Universal Credit will factor in this increase automatically and so there is no need to contact either organisation to request it.

You can check your LHA rate on their website. 

Housing Associations

If you rent from a Housing Association and are concerned about meeting your rent liability at this time, please contact them directly and they will be able to provide guidance.

Further support and advice

Contact the Benefits team

If you need further help or advice please let us know. Call: 01993 861030 or email benefits@westoxon.gov.uk.

Citizens Advice Bureau

The Citizen's Advice Bureau can help you with a variety of issues and signpost you to the relevant organisations. Call them on 0300 330 9049.