What support is available?
Flintshire Together - Useful Information for Residents
We as a Council are continually looking at ways to help our residents during these unprecedented times. We have put together this booklet of information from the Council with our partners which we hope you will find useful and beneficial - both from the Council and our partners.
The booklet contains a wide range of topics including:
- Key Council contact details
- Safeguarding information
- Help and advice on Council Tax and rent
- Welsh Water
- Warm Wales
- Fire Service
- Be aware of scams
To access the above booklet of useful information please follow this link.
Job Retention Scheme
The Government have recently introduced the ‘Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’.This is to help employees that have had their pay reduced to 80% due to Coronavirus. If ALL the criteria below are met, please get in touch with us as you may be entitled to more Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Reduction.
• You are still employed and remain on your employer’s payroll.
• You are NOT currently undertaking any form of work.
• You are receiving 80% of your normal pay.
**Extension to Furlough Scheme - Recent Announcement**
The government announced on 15 April 2020, that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) eligibility date had been extended to 19 March 2020.
Changes to LHA Rates
On 25 March 2020, the Council received information that the Government are increasing LHA rates effective from 06 April 2020 due to COVID-19. We are urgently working to make sure that our customers affected by this announcement have their claims altered as soon as we can. If you are in receipt of Housing Benefit and you are subject to LHA rules (see more information below), we will send you a letter that will detail any changes to your Housing Benefit from 06 April 2020. We would very much appreciate if you would bear with us whilst we undertake this urgent work. Please find more information below regarding LHA.
To find out your LHA rate using your postcode, please click on the link below;
Coronavirus – changes to Job Centre appointments
If you are in receipt of benefits you do not have to attend the jobcentre appointments for three months, starting from Thursday 19th March 2020.
You will continue to receive your benefits as normal but all requirements to attend the jobcentre in person are suspended.
You can still make your applications for benefit online as long as you’re eligible.Jobcenters remain open and will continue to support people who are not able to use phones and online, including homeless people.
To find out more please visit: https;//www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/coronavirus/
What can you claim?
If you're following government guidance because you have coronavirus symptoms, you'll be considered unfit for work. You'll also be considered unfit for work if you're staying at home, or 'self-isolating', because you've been in contact with someone with coronavirus.
You'll get statutory sick pay (SSP) if you're considered unfit for work and are usually entitled to it - check if you're entitled to SSP;
If you are not eligible to receive sick pay you can apply for either Universal Credit or New Style Employment and Support Allowance;
You can't get SSP if you're self-employed.
If you have to take time off work and you don't get paid while you're off, you might be entitled to claim benefits. If you're already claiming Housing Benefit and or Council Tax Support please email the office at; firstname.lastname@example.org and we will aim to contact you within 48 hours or alternatively please contact the office on 01352 704848 but please note that we may be experiencing high volumes of calls.
Universal Credit - Minimum Income Floor (MIF)
If you are self-employed, the Minimum Income Floor (MIF) won’t apply to you after 6 April 2020. This change will apply to you if you claim Universal Credit (UC) and will last until the coronavirus outbreak is over.
New UC claimants do not have to attend a jobcentre to provide evidence that they are self-employed. These will being dealt with on a case by case basis when new claimants contact UC.
If you normally have to leave your home to pay your rent
If you are already in receipt of Housing Benefit and you pay your rent direct to your landlord in person then please contact the Housing Benefit office by emailing; email@example.com and request a callback so we can discuss how we can help you during COVID19.
Housing Benefit/Council Tax Reduction
If you have had a change in your circumstances please contact the benefit office by emailing; firstname.lastname@example.org and we will aim to contact you within 48 hours or alternatively please contact the office on 01352 704848, but please note that we may be experiencing high volumes of calls.
Council Tax Reduction
If you are responsible for paying the Council Tax at your property and you are on a low income or have had a change to your circumstances due to COVID19 you may be able to get help with some or all of your Council Tax bill.
You can also make a claim for Council Tax Reduction if you are in receipt of Universal Credit.
Advice and support
If you are finding it difficult to make a claim for Housing Benefit and or Council Tax during this difficult time then please contact the Welfare Reform Team by emailing; WRRT@flintshire.gov.uk who may be able to assist you with completing an application form.
If you are finding it difficult to budget and pay bills or need help to understand what support is available to you then please email; WRRT@flintshire.gov.uk alternatively please contact the office on 01352 704848, but please note that we may be experiencing high volumes of calls.
EU Settlement Scheme
If you’re a European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) or Swiss citizen living in Flintshire, you and your family will be able to apply for either settled or pre-settled status. This will mean you can continue living in the UK after 31 December 2020. The deadline to apply for settled or pre-settled status is 30 June 2021.
Who can apply?
You can find out who is required to apply for pre-settled or settled status on GOV.UK.
There will be no change to current rights under EU law until the end of the planned implementation period on 31 December 2020.
Local Housing Allowance increase
On 13 January 2020 Ministers announced that the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) will be up-rated from April 2020, ending the freeze to LHA rates.
This means that all 2019 to 2020 rates, including the national caps, will be increased. The rates for 2020 to 2021 will be published, in line with normal procedures, on the last working day of January and will be applicable from April 2020.
Mixed Age couples
From 15 May 2019, mixed age couples (where one party of the couple is over Pension Credit qualifying age and the other under that age) will no longer be able to choose whether they claim Universal Credit or Pension Credit or pension age Housing Benefit. Both parties of a couple will have to reach the Pension Credit qualifying age before they can be entitled to Pension Credit and/or pension age Housing Benefit. The definition of mixed age couples includes a polygamous marriage where at least one party to the polygamous marriage has reached the Pension Credit qualifying age and at least one party has not. Mixed Age Couples already in receipt of benefit are protected. However if you are becoming a mixed age couple in the future due to one of you turning pension age, We will contact you regarding this.
Universal Credit has been operating within Flintshire since April 2014 providing financial support for low-income households who would normally have claimed Job Seekers Allowance. However from April 2017 Universal Credit was expanded to all new claimants which is known as ‘full service’ Universal Credit and has replaced the following six benefits:
Employment and Support Allowance
Child Tax Credit
Working Tax Credit
For further information and to apply for universal credit please visit www.gov.uk/universalcredit
Maximum Rent Social Sector – Size Criteria Changes 1st April 2017
There have been some recent changes to Housing Benefit and Universal Credit Regulations which make provision for the inclusion of an extra bedroom when calculating housing benefit for properties rented within both the private rented sector and social rented sector where:
Conditions to entitlement will be subject to satisfying the qualifying conditions:
Where a disabled child or disabled non-dependant adult requires and has overnight care on a regular basis from a non-resident carer (or group of carers).
An additional bedroom will be allowed when the claimant is able to demonstrate that:
In addition, the disabled child or non-dependant adult must be in receipt of:
middle or higher rate care component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
Attendance Allowance (AA)
the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or the Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP)
Couples unable to share a bedroom due to disabilities
When considering an additional bedroom for a couple with disabilities the Local Authority will be required to establish that at least one member of the couple is unable to reasonably share a bedroom with the other member due to his or her disability. The outcome of this may depend upon a further qualifying conditions which must be applied:
If you believe you are eligible for an extra bedroom allowance please contact us in writing or email explaining your circumstances.
From 2016 the government have introduced a limit to the amount of benefit that a working age household can receive.
From 7th November 2016, The Benefit cap was set at, and remains as:
£384.62 per week (£20,000 a year) for a family or couple
£384.62 per week (£20,000 a year) for a single person with children living with them
£257.69 per week (£13,400 a year) for a single person.
Did You Know?
Flintshire residents could be losing out on Housing Benefit and Council Tax reduction entitlement when changes are reported late. Report all changes within one month of your change happening. Failure to report changes on time could result in your claim being overpaid. Do not delay report changes today!
Change in Circumstances form.
Universal Credit Update
If you no longer claim Housing Benefit as you are now claiming Universal Credit, please note that you can still apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment.
Holiday Hunger Programme
This programme is to supply children in playschemes with a hot meal every day over the summer holidays.
'Share Your Lunch' summer campaign will help us ensure that as many children as possible return to school well fed, engaged and ready to learn.
For more information and forms please click on the link below