Coronavirus COVID-19: Latest updates

Many council services are reduced or disrupted. Check our coronavirus page for the most up-to-date information. Read the latest and sign up for updates.

Benefits advice

We have expanded capacity in our benefits support services to deal with the increase in applications for Universal Credit and benefits advice. 

If you need advice on your entitlement, support to manage your claim or to complete an application, contact our Welfare Rights and Universal Support Team:

We are experiencing a really high volume of queries and we will get back to you as soon as we can. If we cannot answer the phone, please leave a message and we will get back to you.

More information about Universal Credit

Emergency support scheme

We have amended the criteria to qualify for the emergency support scheme to take into account the COVID-19 situation. Changes include:

  • suspending the limit of three awards in a year
  • relaxing some of the restrictions for students and those with no recourse to public funds 

Cash payments via the emergency support scheme are being issued via post offices as normal (where post offices are able to open).

We are still accepting applications for community support awards, however there is likely to be a delay in processing them as our suppliers are experiencing challenges in being able to operate at the moment. 

Apply for the emergency support scheme or community support awards

Alternatively, contact our Community Hub - they may be able to help with things like delivering food packages, picking up prescriptions and connecting you to local services.

Help with housing costs

Financial help towards housing costs and rent is provided through Universal Credit and Housing Benefit. 

Universal Credit has replaced Housing Benefit for most new claimants. However, there are some limited exceptions which may mean some new claimants are eligible for Housing Benefit.

Find out more about Housing Benefit

If you need to claim Universal Credit, any existing benefits you claim that have now been replaced by Universal Credit (e.g. tax credits) will stop and you won’t be able to reclaim them in future.

Some people are not better off claiming Universal Credit. Contact our Welfare Rights and Universal Support Team for advice if you need to check your position on 020 8921 3333 (Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm). 

More information about Universal Credit housing costs

Help with council tax 

Council Tax Support provides financial help for people on a low income. If you cannot get Council Tax Support, there are other ways to reduce your council tax bill including a number of discounts and exemptions which you may qualify for depending on your circumstances.

Find out more about Council Tax Support and council tax discounts

COVID-19 hardship fund

Royal Greenwich has been allocated £3,188,238 through the government’s COVID-19 hardship fund, which is mainly intended to provide council tax relief to working age residents, alongside existing local council tax support schemes. 

If you are experiencing hardship and need support to pay your council tax bill, please apply through our council tax support scheme

Many people will receive their full bill covered through this scheme, as recent changes have increased the maximum support to 100%. 

Where there is a shortfall, the hardship fund can provide an additional £150 towards their bill. Residents do not need to specifically apply for this additional council tax support but should apply for local council tax support scheme

The remainder of the hardship fund will go toward the emergency support scheme, and discretionary housing payments. 

Existing Housing Benefit and council tax support claimants

If you currently claim Housing Benefit, council tax support or both and your income has recently reduced, please report your change of circumstances through our change in circumstances online form. If you cannot use our online form, email benefits@royalgreenwich.gov.uk

We are receiving a high number of requests at the moment and we will process these as soon as possible. If you have received the acknowledgement for your change of circumstances form being submitted you do not need to chase it up.

Extra help with housing costs 

If you are entitled to Housing Benefit, or Universal Credit which includes the housing element, you may be able to apply for a discretionary housing payment

Homelessness

If you are concerned about someone you have seen sleeping rough, please use Street Link to send details to the local authority. This will help to connect them to local services that can support them. 

For further information

We have created several factsheets with information and contact details of services that may be able to help with any financial concerns you might have during the pandemic.

Download the benefits and financial concerns factsheet

Download the housing and financial concerns factsheet

Download the food and financial concerns factsheet