Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Updates on council services, health advice, and support available for residents and businesses.

swindon.gov.uk/coronavirus

COVID-19 - Financial help if your income has been affected by coronavirus

For information about support payments for people who have to self-isolate, visit this webpage: COVID-19 - Test and Trace Support payment scheme: financial support for people who have to self-isolate

You may be able to seek financial help if your income has been reduced and you're struggling with living costs as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. This page provides information about help that might be available to you. 

Contents:

Help with Council Tax

To help with paying your Council Tax, you can:

  • find out about applying for Council Tax Support
  • talk things through with our Council Tax office, who you can call on 0345 302 2316

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Help with other costs through benefits

Your circumstances might mean you can claim benefits. However, it's sometimes complicated to make a new claim, especially if you claim already. If you would like to talk to somebody about your benefits entitlement or appeal a decision, you can contact Citizens Advice Swindon:

  • Telephone on 0344 499 4114 or 0808 278 7813

Alternatively you can use the contact form on the Citizens Advice website.

You can also use benefit calculators to see what benefits you could get.

You can also find information about claiming benefits on the government website:

Claiming Universal Credit

Please check before claiming Universal Credit as there is a risk that other benefits will stop and Universal Credit may not be awarded. You should seek advice before applying.

You might be able to get Universal Credit if you’re not working, working on a low income, or self-employed. Universal Credit works differently to old benefits, so it's very important to know the differences. 

Yoy should contact Citizens Advice for help making a new claim for Universal Credit.

When you're ready, you make a new claim for Universal Credit at the GOV.UK website.

Claiming Employment and Support Allowance

You might be able to apply for Employment and Support Allowance or new style Employment Support Allowance if you have a disability or health condition that affects how much you can work or if you cannot work while you are self-isolating because of the coronavirus. 

For the most up-to-date information about eligibility, find out about Employment and Support Allowance at the GOV.UK website.

Discretionary Housing Payment

A Discretionary Housing Payment is a short-term financial payment that can help with a shortfall in rent. It is only available to residents receiving either Housing Benefit or Universal Credit housing costs.

Find out more and apply online: Discretionary housing payments

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Help with mortgage or rent arrears and other debt

If you're having problems paying your mortgage, you must take action quickly to avoid falling into debt or losing your home. Read about mortgage problems on the Citizens Advice website or contact Citizens Advice Swindon:

Mortgage payment support

The government offers Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI), which is a loan that helps towards mortgage interest payments. More information and how to apply:

Applying means entering into a financial contract and the support will have to be paid back. You may wish to seek qualified financial advice before applying: 

Advice if you're renting

The government has produced COVID-19 and renting: guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities. This guide also explains what your landlord should and shouldn't be doing. 

For general information about renting:

Getting into rent arrears can be distressing, but you should't ignore the situation. If you don't take action to pay what you owe, you could end up losing your home. For more information: 

Advice if you're homeless or at risk of being homeless

If you are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless you should contact us as soon as you can. We have a duty to help under the Homelessness Reduction Act.

You can contact our Homelessness Prevention Team at hoptions@swindon.gov.uk.

For more general information on how we can help to house you, visit our webpage: Homelessness

You can also read more advice about homelessness at the Citizens Advice website

Outside office hours, if you think someone is rough sleeping, please make a report on the Streetlink website or call Streetlink on 0300 5000 914. Streetlink is the national scheme for reporting rough sleeping and connects rough sleepers to local support services.

General advice about debt

If you are struggling to pay your bills, Council Tax, rent or mortgage you should seek advice as soon as possible to avoid further problems.  

Dealing with money issues can sometimes be off-putting and distressing, but if you don't understand how things like credit or mortgages work, you could end up losing out financially or getting yourself deep in debt. The following organisations can give you the information you need to:

  • make the right choices, including help to deal with your debt problems
  • avoid losing your home
  • get your finances back into shape

Citizens Advice Swindon

Christians Against Poverty

  • telephone 0800 328 0006

National Debt Line

  • telephone 0808 808 4000

Money Advice Service

Provides free debt advice on 0800 138 7777.

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Entitlement to Statutory Sick Pay due to coronavirus

You may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if any of the following descriptions match your situation:

  • You have coronavirus and cannot work from home or are too ill to work
  • You are self-isolating because you or someone you live with has coronavirus symptoms
  • You are self-isolating because you’ve been notified by the NHS Test and Trace or public health authorities that you’ve come into contact with someone with coronavirus

To be eligible, you need to be employed and receiving average earnings above a specified amount.

Sick pay is paid by your employer and some employers will pay an additional amount on top of the statutory amount. You should follow your employer’s normal sickness procedures to claim SSP and it should be paid in the same way as your wages.

More details, including information about eligibility, are available at the GOV.UK website: Statutory Sick Pay. You can also contact your employer to make sure you receive SSP.

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If you've been made redundant or are at risk of redundancy

You might be told you’re at risk of redundancy if your employer has one or more jobs they can’t afford or no longer need.

Your employer has a lot of freedom to choose who they make redundant, but there are still rules they have to follow. You can visit the Citizens Advice website to check if your redundancy is fair.

You can contact Citizens Advice Swindon to talk to an adviser about your situation:

  • Telephone 0344 499 4114 or 0808 278 7813

You can also get employment advice from the ACAS:

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If you've given up work to care for someone

If you have had to give up work to become an unpaid carer, Swindon Carers Centre may be able to help.

They can provide advice about benefits for people who are either registered or in the process of registering for the service.

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