fb-trackingSkip to main content

Coronavirus - Financial support and advice

Are your finances affected by the coronavirus pandemic?

The national picture for coronavirus is changing daily and we know that some people may be feeling worried or anxious about how the outbreak is affecting you and your family.

Being in debt is one of the most stressful things that can happen to us and we know there will be residents experiencing unexpected financial problems during this time.

If you’re struggling to pay things like your rent, mortgage or energy bills because of coronavirus, please don’t ignore your bills. We have a dedicated and friendly team at our Homes and Money Hub who are on hand to help you through any debt or financial issues you may have.

You can reach them by emailing homesandmoneyhub@lbbd.gov.uk or calling 020 8724 2115 / 020 8227 2927, Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm. While we can’t currently see people in person, this service is still running online and by phone during the coronavirus pandemic.

We’ve also set out some useful information and helpful links on this page.

Council Tax payments 

If your financial circumstances have changed in recent weeks as a result of the pandemic which means you may have difficulty paying your council tax, please let us know so that we can help.

It may mean that we work out a plan to help spread out payments across the remainder of the year after the crisis has ended, or you could be eligible to claim Council Tax Support.

The Government has announced there will be help for Council Tax Payers as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. We’ll share more information on this as we receive it. 

Homes and Money Hub

Rent payments

If you’re struggling with rent payments and are falling into arrears, please let us know and we’ll do our best to help and support you.

If you receive Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit, you may be eligible for extra financial support through a discretionary housing payment.

If you are not eligible for a discretionary housing payment, or you need help to apply, you can contact our Homes and Money Hub for help and advice.

Homes and Money Hub

Universal Credit 

If you’re unemployed or have experienced a sudden loss of income due to coronavirus, you may be able to claim benefits to support you. For most working-age people the benefit you need to claim is Universal Credit.

If you’re already claiming Universal Credit and your circumstances have changed you should report the change immediately by signing into your Universal Credit account. 

Universal Credit

Financial support for businesses and self-employed residents 

We know that this is a worrying time for businesses and self-employed residents. We want to reassure you that we are working with the NHS, Public Health England and other partners to prepare for the local impact.

Support for businesses and self-employed residents

Help and support for rough sleepers

We’re also housing every one of our rough sleepers, and working with The Source, a local charity, we’ve opened a day shelter in Relish Cafe, Barking, to provide hot food and advice and support. 

If you or someone you know need help, you can refer yourself for support through StreetLink or by calling 0300 500 0914. 

You can also contact our Housing Advice service by emailing housingadviceservice@lbbd.gov.uk

General support

BD CAN

Get in touch with BD CAN for support with things like shopping and collecting medication.

Food banks

We have a number of food banks in Barking and Dagenham that can provide emergency food parcels .

Money Advice Service

For more information and advice on debts. 

Citizens Advice

Online free advice from Citizens Advice to help you find a way forward, whatever the problem.

GOV.UK

To find more information on how to claim statutory sick pay (SSP) and employment support allowance (ESA).

FAQ - Frequently asked questions

If you can’t pay your bills because of coronavirus

There are things you can do if you’re struggling to pay things like your rent, mortgage or energy bills because of coronavirus.

It’s important you don’t ignore your bills. Speak to the organisation you owe money to - they might be able to help by letting you pay smaller amounts or take a break.

It’s also worth checking with your bank or building society - they might be able to help you with your debts or let you delay loan or credit card repayments.

If you've got less money because of coronavirus

If you’ve been affected by coronavirus, you might be able to claim benefits or get more money on your current benefits, if:

  • you have coronavirus, or you’re following guidance to stay at home
  • you have lost your job
  • you are self-employed and can’t get work
  • you can’t work because your workplace has closed

Check what benefits you can get if you’re affected by coronavirus. If you've been struck by disaster or have run out of money and can't afford essentials like food or heating, there are emergency funds to help you.

Universal Credit advance payments

You can apply for a universal credit advance payment if you claim universal credit.

You have up to 12 months to pay back an advance of universal credit. Please ensure that you only request what you need, as the repayments will reduce your monthly UC income for the next 12 months.

If you can’t pay your rent

If you’re renting privately, you should explain the situation to your landlord straight away - they might give you more time to pay, or agree to reduce your rent.

If you’ve fallen behind with your rent, don’t ignore it. Get in touch with our Homes and Money Hub for help and support. You can also check if you can get extra financial help.

If you’re a private renter and your landlord doesn’t offer to be flexible with your rent payments, it’s a good idea to pay as much as you can afford and keep a record of what you discussed.

You should also contact your nearest Citizens Advice - an adviser can help you explain things to your landlord.

You may be entitled to benefits to help with housing costs if your income has reduced, even if you’re still working.

If your landlord has started court action to evict you

The court service has postponed all eviction processes for three months from 27 March 2020. If your landlord has gone to court to evict you, you won’t have to leave your home yet.

You can find out more about what to do if you’re being evicted for rent arrears.

You can also find out more about Coronavirus support for renters on GOV.UK.

If you can’t pay your mortgage

The government has announced that if you can’t pay your mortgage because of Coronavirus you might be able to have a 3-month payment holiday. You won’t be able to do this if you’re behind with your payments.

Get in touch with your mortgage provider to find out more.

You can also find out more about dealing with mortgage problems.

If you can’t pay your energy bills

Speak to your energy supplier as soon as you can. You might be able to set up a payment plan with them to help spread the cost of your bills.

Find out more about what to do if you’re struggling to pay your energy bills.

If you have a prepayment energy meter

Your supplier will try to help you find ways to keep your energy supply connected if you can’t top up your meter because of Coronavirus.

Tell your supplier as soon as possible if you can’t top up. You’ll find their contact details on their website or on your bill.

Check our advice on what to do If you can’t afford to top up your prepayment meter.

Get in touch with our Homes and Money Hub for help and advice.

If you can’t pay your water bill

It’s best to speak to your water company as soon as you can if you’re having problems paying your bill.

You can find out more about what to do if you’re struggling to pay your water bill.