COVID19 : Council tax and benefits

Council tax hardship fund

We are aware of the announcement made by Central Government of a Council Tax Hardship Fund and have automatically identified customers who are eligible to ensure that each Council Tax Reduction customer receives the support available. This is a maximum of £150 one-off payment for the year 2020/21, or less, where the outstanding Council Tax liability is less.

You must be in receipt of Council Tax Reduction in order to qualify. If you are not sure if you may qualify for this please check out the benefit calculator and claims website.

You will not need to apply for the Hardship Payment, it will be automatically posted through your Council Tax account if you qualify for Council Tax Reduction.  It will generate an adjusted Council Tax bill, you will then owe less, so you will know when this has happened. If this award puts your Council Tax Account into credit, we will refund this to you. 

If you have any queries regarding this please contact benefits@rbwm.gov.uk.  Please also see the government guidance.

Coronavirus support for employees, benefit claimants and businesses

A range of extra support and measures will be in place to help workers, benefit claimants and businesses affected by coronavirus. For further information, see GOV.UK website.

Self-Isolation payment 

New package to support and enforce Self-Isolation

From Monday 28 September 2020, the Government have introduced a new national Test and Trace Support scheme. Payments of £500 will be available from this date for eligible residents.

The scheme is due to run until Sunday 31 January 2021 but will be kept under review so may be extended.

New package to support and enforce self-isolation (GOV.UK website).

If you are working or self-employed and cannot continue as you have been told by the NHS to self-isolate, either because you have tested positive for coronavirus COVID-19 or you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive, you may be entitled to some financial support during your self-isolation period.

Who is eligible?

People who live in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead who have received notification from NHS Test and Trace that they have a legal duty to self-isolate will be entitled to a Self-Isolation Payment providing they satisfy all four of the following requirements:

  • they comply with the notification from NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate, and; 
  • are employed or self-employed, and;
  • are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result; and
  • are in receipt of one of the following benefits: 
    • Universal Credit,
    • Working Tax Credit,
    • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance,
    • Housing Benefit,
    • Income Support,
    • Income based Job Seeker’s Allowance,
    • Pension Credit.

Who is not eligible?

You will not be eligible for the scheme if you:

  • Are in quarantine after travelling abroad (unless you test positive during the 14-day quarantine period).
  • Continue to receive full wages while you self-isolate.
  • Can work from home during a period of self-isolation.
  • Are no longer required to self-isolate i.e. your period of self-isolation ended before the self-Isolation Payment Scheme launched (28 September 2020).
  • Have not received a notification from NHS Test and Trace telling you to self-isolate.

Can I help someone else make an application, or make an application on their behalf?

You can help someone else fill out an application, or fill out an application on their behalf.

However, you cannot receive payments on behalf of someone else; payments will only be made to the person who has been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace. 

How to apply

Customers must apply within 14 days of their period of self-isolation ending. Applications cannot be accepted after this point : for example, if someone was told to self-isolate until Saturday 10 October, they would have until Saturday 24 October to make a claim.

In order to make an application, you will need the following information to complete the form, when it is available:

  • A copy of your latest bank statement (one issued within the last two months which must clearly show proof of earnings);
  • Proof of self-employment e.g. recent business bank statement (within the last two months), most recent set of accounts or evidence of self-assessment returns;
  • Proof of your NHS Account ID for coronavirus COVID-19 or;
  • Proof of the Account ID you have received from NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate;
  • Your National Insurance Number.

In order to make a claim please complete the following application form:

https://forms.liberata.com/public-services/test-trace-support/windsor-and-maidenhead

Please note that we are working in partnership with Liberata on the delivery of this project and therefore staff from Liberata may contact you to confirm details submitted:

https://www.liberata.com/

Anyone who isn't able to access the internet should call 01628 683800 for assistance with the form.

Once your application has been assessed, if you are eligible, you will receive the payment of £500 via BACS. This payment is subject to tax but will not be taxed at the point of payment. We will provide HM Revenues and Customs (HMRC) with the relevant details regarding your payment.  

If you are not eligible, or if you require further help and support as a result of COVID-19, additional information on assistance may be found on our Coronavirus page.

What am I required to do?

If you receive a Self-Isolation Payment you must self-isolate as requested by NHS Test and Trace. 

Please visit the NHS website for more details of the NHS Test and Trace self-isolation requirements for those:

What if I am overdrawn - can the bank take the payment?

No, banks are not allowed to use the Self Isolation Payment or any other benefit to repay an overdraft.

You can protect your payment by telling your bank it should only be used to support you during your period of self isolation. This protection is called a 'first right of appropriation of funds order'.

You can use the first right of appropriation on any money being paid into your account. For example, you may want to make sure that your job seekers allowance (JSA) is used to pay your electricity bill and water rates. You will need to tell your bank how to use these payments.

How do I request a first right of appropriation of funds order? 

You need to write to your bank at least seven days before your self isolation payment is due, making it clear that any regular payments or future deposits from the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead are to help support you.

For example, you may want to instruct your bank or building society:

''On or around Tuesday 20 October I will receive a £500 payment from the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead which will be paid into my current account number 0101010101. I am exercising my first right of appropriation over these funds and wish you to pay the following items from it: £x amount payable to ''X''.

Keep a copy of the letter in case there is any dispute later. You may want to ask your bank/building society for a written acknowledgement of your instructions.  

If there are any items you no longer want to pay from your account, or which you cannot afford, you should give your bank separate cancellation instructions. This is because the first right of appropriation does not stop the bank paying items as well as those you have listed. If you do not cancel these items, your bank may return the items as unpaid, which they may charge you for. However, payments from your account to re-pay a loan with the same bank cannot be cancelled.

Discretionary Payments

A discretionary payment may be considered if you meet the following criteria;

  • comply with the notification from NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate, and; 
  • are employed or self-employed, and;
  • are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result; and
  • are not in receipt of one of the following benefits: 
    • Universal Credit,
    • Working Tax Credit,
    • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance,
    • Housing Benefit,
    • Income Support,
    • Income based Job Seeker’s Allowance,
    • Pension Credit.
  • you will face financial hardship as your income is less than £250 per week.

To make an enquiry please e-mail benefits@rbwm.gov.uk.

Fraud

You may face prosecution if you have manipulated or falsified your position in order to obtain these payments, including failure to self-isolate which puts others at risk. Any payment made as a result of fraud may be subject to claw back, as may any grants paid in error.

The Government is supporting Local Councils to make the necessary checks to ensure payments can be verified and have been made correctly.

Data Sharing

The information you submit for this claim will be processed by the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. We need your consent so that we can access your records in the NHS Test and Trace system to confirm that you are eligible for the Self-Isolation Payment Scheme.

You can find more information on this via the NHS Test and Trace Privacy Notice.

We may carry out checks with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), for verification purposes, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), for tax and national insurance purposes, and with your employer.  We will not share your data with other organisations or individuals outside of the Council for any other purpose.

We may provide information to HMRC about any payments we make because Self-Isolation Payments are subject to Tax. If you are self-employed, you will need to declare the payment on your self-assessment tax return.

We may use some automated decision-making to determine if you are eligible to access funds. This means that a decision may be made by automated means, without any human involvement. 

Your rights under the Data Protection Act 2018 allow you to object to any automated-decision making used in this process. If you do, there may be a significant delay in the processing of your application.

We never sell your data to third parties or use it for marketing purposes without your consent. 
If you wish to request any changes to the way your data is used for the purposes of processing this application, including the withdrawal of consent , you can exercise your rights under GDPR in writing to the Council’s Data Protection Officer. 

If  you do withdraw your consent, we will not be able to continue payments to you. Your consent is necessary to establish your eligibility and to authorise any payments made.

In submitting an application you must confirm that you have read, understood and consented to your data being processed in this way for the purposes of assessing your eligibility for a Self-Isolation Payment.