Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Support - COVID-19 customer information

Last updated: 20 September 2020 at 8.30am

The FAQs below will help explain the current changes affecting Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Support during the COVID-19 pandemic.

I am unable to supply the evidence required to support my claim/change in circumstances. What can I do?

Evidence can be submitted electronically when you complete and submit an online claim/change in circumstances form. In addition, you can scan and email your evidence to benefits@basingstoke.gov.uk. You can also post your evidence. If you are not able to provide evidence in any of the ways mentioned above, then please contact us on 01256 844844 to discuss. You should not delay in making your claim or reporting a change of circumstances just because of your inability to provide evidence.

I have received a number of benefit notifications recently, please can you explain why?

Due to the current COVID-19 outbreak, the government have introduced a number of measures and legislation changes to help support those affected financially. These include:

  • Changes to the Local Housing Allowance rates from April 2020 resulting in higher rates from April 2020 to March 2021

  • Changes to the additional earnings disregard used in your assessment of Housing Benefit from April 2020

  • Changes to the maximum rate of the basic element of Working Tax Credit

  • Changes to standard allowance of Universal Credit

Any of these changes may have resulted in a new benefit notification. Your latest benefit notification will detail your current entitlement to housing benefit and/or Council Tax Support. You have a duty to check the notification for accuracy, and to notify the benefits team immediately if anything is different.

You can check your benefit entitlement online. Alternatively, if you have any questions regarding your entitlement you can phone our benefits helpline on 01256 844844.

My income has reduced as a result of COVID-19 (including furloughed and self-employed workers). What should I do?

If you do not already have a current claim for housing benefit, please see our benefits advice page for further information, including information on how to claim. If you require help with your housing costs and you are working age you will probably be required to claim Universal credit.

You may be able to claim Council Tax Support for help paying your Council tax. To make a claim and for more information please visit Claiming housing benefit and/or council tax support webpage.

If you already have a current claim for housing benefit and/or Council Tax Support then you must report all changes in circumstances online. If you are unable to report your change of circumstances using the online form then please email benefits@basingstoke.gov.uk giving details of the change, and any evidence. For further information regarding how to report your change, please contact the benefits helpline on 01256 844844.

I have been furloughed by my employer and/or temporarily stopped working and no longer paying child care costs, what do I do?

If the amount of child care costs you pay has ended or changed, you must report this immediately for your claim to be updated. Please report your change in circumstances online. If you are unable to report your change in circumstances on line you can email details to benefits@basingstoke.gov.uk giving full details and evidence of the change.

Is there any additional help available towards paying my council tax?

All residents in the borough received payment free months in April and May 2020, instead of February and March 2021. No instalments, which includes direct debit payments, were taken in April and May 2020. Payments resumed in June 2020 and are due over 10 months from June 2020 to March 2021. A recalculated bill has been issued confirming your new instalments.

In addition to the payment free months, as part of its response to COVID-19, the government announced that it would provide local authorities in England with new grant funding to support economically vulnerable people and households in their local area.

A further reduction of up to £200 on your council tax bill has been applied to all residents who are of working age and in receipt of council tax support. You do not need to make an application for this reduction, it has been automatically applied to your account and will be shown on the revised bill that was issued to you in May.

I currently have a housing benefit overpayment which I cannot afford to repay, what can I do?

The council understands that residents may be facing financial difficulties at this time. If you have an overpayment of Housing Benefit that is being recovered which is causing you hardship please email benefits@basingstoke.gov.uk quoting your claim number and details of your enquiry.

Alternatively, you can phone the benefits helpline on 01256 844844. We may be able to put a temporary hold on deductions, or delay any further recovery.

We hope the FAQs will help explain the current changes affecting Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Support. If however you have any other questions or require further information please do not hesitate to contact us by web chat, by email to benefits@basingstoke.gov.uk or by phoning the benefits helpline on 01256 844844.

Contact us

  • Contact us online
  • 01256 844844
  • Civic Offices
    London Road
    RG21 4AH
  • Opening hours
    Monday to Thursday
    8.30am to 5pm
    8.30am to 4.30pm
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