How we can support you
Housing Benefit and council tax
The current Housing Benefit service is up and running in the normal way. For all information on how to claim help with Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction please see our Benefits and Council Tax section.
For existing private tenant claims your Local Housing Allowance rate upon which your housing benefit entitlement is based, will increase from April. You do not need to do anything this will be an automatic change.
The new Local Housing Allowance Rates can be found on our website.
From April, the additional earnings disregard has been increased to £37.10 to negate the increase in working tax credits being applied.
Tribunal for Council Tax Reduction and Housing Benefit
Face to face hearings (hearings where the parties are expected to be in attendance at a tribunal hearing centre) will be converted either to a case management hearing, a final hearing by telephone or other electronic means. The hearing will take place (unless advised otherwise) on the day already allocated for the hearing.
If you're on a low income, you may be entitled to some help towards paying your council tax. This is called Council Tax Reduction (CTR).
The free to use Benefits Calculator will advise you on your which benefit you maybe entitled to and how to claim them, this includes people affected by Coronavirus.
Housing Benefit Overpayment
Please contact the team direct if you are unable to make your normal payment. Please email us with your concerns or queries. If you do not have access to email then please telephone 01702 215241 between 8.45am and 5.00pm.
Essential Living Fund (ELF)
The scheme is designed to ease pressures on people unable to meet short term needs, through the provision of food and fuel funds.
All families, especially those on low incomes, face pressures at various times so that in itself is not a reason to award an ELF grant, the circumstance must be exceptional, beyond pressure than might normally be associated with low income.
More information is available and a link to apply can be found on our Essential Living Fund page.
If you do not have access to the internet, are having difficulties or need advice please telephone 03007900124 between 8.45am and 5.00pm.
Once you have submitted your application you will be contacted by phone to confirm if your application has been successful and details of any award that has been granted.
Coronavirus has had a large impact on the finances of some households; your income may have been reduced as a result of:
- being unable to continue to work due to self-isolation or illness, and only being entitled to Statutory Sick Pay
- your work hours being cut, or you have lost your job as your employer is unable to keep you on when their business is reduced or closed
- you currently being unable to work due to child care responsibilities, as your usual arrangement cannot continue due to the risk of the virus spreading, or due to school closures
Help with paying your Council Tax
If you are struggling to pay your Council Tax due to current circumstances and need to talk to us for advice we are currently offering a call back service.
Please email us and make sure you include the following important information which will help us deal with your enquiry:
- type “Call Back Request” in the subject of your email
- make sure you include your Council Tax account number, telephone number, your name and your address in your email
- give a brief description of your query
We aim to call you back as soon as possible, but please bear with us as we are experiencing an extremely high number of enquiries at present. Our staff will be working from home using mobile phones and their number will be withheld. If you cannot accept withheld numbers please state this in your request and we will contact you by email.
In light of the situation surrounding COVID-19 and the impact this may have on residents, Southend-on-Sea’s Council Tax department has suspended all enforcement action with its commercial partners. The Council Tax and Finance Teams are looking at additional measures of support for our residents. We will announce any updates through our website and dedicated Coronavirus pages as well as social media.
COVID-19 Hardship Fund
If you are in receipt of Council Tax Reduction and are of working age, a further reduction of £150 will be applied to your Council Tax charge for the financial year 2020/2021.This reduction is a standard Government set rate
The first round of new bills that include this Hardship Grant will be issued on 21 and 22 May 2020. All future awards and bills will be issued on a weekly basis.
You do not need to contact the Local Authority, the reduction will be automatically applied, a new bill will be issued confirming your reduction.
Please be aware that the Council has already prepared and posted your Council Tax bill for 2020/2021 without accounting for the £150 reduction. Therefore any bills posted prior to the 21 May will not include any hardship award if entitled.
If you have any questions please email us.