Covid-19: Advice and Benefits

Covid-19 (Coronavirus) is putting pressure on people's incomes and quality of life, it's important for you to understand what it means for you if:

  • You need urgent financial support
  • Receive Council Tax reduction for low income
  • Receive Housing Benefit
  • Receive Discretionary Housing Payments
  • Struggle to pay your Council Tax
  • Rent and need support 

On this page you can also find out about changes to support and benefits from central Government, including:

  • Universal Credit
  • Statutory Sick Pay
  • Self-employment Income Support Scheme
  • Furloughed Workers
  • Visiting a Jobcentre 
  • Assessment for health and disability related benefit 

If you want more information on the Test and Trace Support Payments scheme, click here 

Find out more below:

Sefton's Emergency Limited Assistance Scheme (ELAS) supports residents who experience severe hardship, a disaster or emergency including the coronavirus outbreak. It is there to meet one-off needs and not ongoing expenses. You can make a claim here

We will be doing all we can to continue to pay Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction as quickly as possible to our residents. If you need to contact us about your Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction claim you should do so by email or report any changes online using the Council Tax Reduction Claim portal 

If possible, you should also send any evidence or supporting documents that you have been asked to provide by email here rather than by post. 

DHP gives you short-term help to pay your rent when Housing Benefit or Universal Credit does not meet your rent in full.

If you are finding it hard to make up any shortfall in your rent because of the coronavirus outbreak, then we may be able to provide extra help with a DHP.  To access this help, fill in the following online form

The coronavirus outbreak is having a significant impact on our residents and many people may be struggling to pay Council Tax, especially if they have suffered a sudden drop in income.

If you are having difficulty paying your Council Tax, you can contact us by email.  You may be able access financial help by calling 0345 140 0845 to discuss your financial situation


The Government has announced a package of measures to protect renters and landlords affected by coronavirus. As a result, no renter in either social or private accommodation will be forced out of their home during this difficult time.

If you are on a low income and struggling to pay your rent, you may be entitled to either Universal Credit from the Department for Works and Pensions or in some cases Housing Benefit from the Council.  You can find out more about which you can claim and how to do so here

Find out more about measures to protect renters at the Government website 

The Government recently announced that workers on a low income who are eligible for Working Tax Credit, would receive an extra £1000 a year.  The Housing Benefit rules have changed so that an additional £20 per week from earnings is disregarded to ensure that renters do not lose Housing benefit as a consequence of this increase.

From April, Local Housing Allowance rates will be increased to the 30th percentile of market rents. This will apply to all private renters who are new or existing Universal Credit housing element claimants, and to existing Housing Benefit claimants.

Example 1 – a single jobseeker aged 30, living in South Sefton who is entitled to the shared room rate of Local Housing Allowance will see their Housing Benefit entitlement increase by up to £6.50 per week

Example 2 – a couple with 3 children living in Southport entitled to the 3 bedroom rate of Local Housing Allowance will see their Housing Benefit entitlement increase by up to £10.82 per week.

For full details on coronavirus and claiming benefits please visit the Universal Credit website.

Don’t delay making a benefit claim, even if you think you may be affected by coronavirus. If eligible interviews will take place by telephone. You can apply for Universal Credit online.

If you’re already claiming Universal Credit and think you may have been affected by coronavirus, please contact your work coach as soon as possible. You can do this using your online journal.

The Government’s Universal Credit £20 uplift introduced in March 2020 is due to end from the 6th October 2021, you don’t need to notify Sefton Council of this change and your Council Tax Reduction will not be affected.

The Council did not change any resident’s Council Tax Reduction amount as a result of the uplift, so you will see no change in this despite the uplift coming to an end.  

If you need emergency help with food, winter coats, gas or electricity please visit Emergency Limited Assistance Scheme (ELAS)

If you need extra help with your Rent or Council Tax please visit Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) and Exceptional Hardship Fund (EHF)

If you cannot work due to coronavirus you may be eligible for £94.25 per week Statutory Sick Pay and if so you will get it from day one, rather than from the fourth day of your illness.

This scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for three months. This may be extended if needed.

You can apply if you’re a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership and you:

  • Have submitted your Income Tax Self-Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19
  • Traded in the tax year 2019-20
  • Are trading when you apply, or would be except for COVID-19
  • Intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020-21
  • Have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19

Find out more about this scheme at the Government website 

If you and your employer both agree, your employer might be able to keep you on the payroll if they’re unable to operate or have no work for you to do because of coronavirus (COVID-19). This is known as being ‘on furlough’.

You could get paid 80% of your wages, up to a monthly cap of £2,500.

If your salary is reduced as a result of these changes, you may be eligible for support through the welfare system, including Universal Credit.

Check if you could be covered by the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme at the Government website 

You should not attend the Jobcentre unless directed to do so for an exceptional purpose. People will continue to receive their benefits as normal, but all requirements to attend the Jobcentre in person are suspended.

All face-to-face assessments for health and disability-related benefits have been temporarily suspended. This is aimed at reducing the risk of exposure to coronavirus and safeguarding the health of individuals claiming health and disability benefits, many of whom are likely to be at greater risk due to their pre-existing health conditions.





Last Updated on Thursday, December 16, 2021

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