What financial help is available

At Raven we understand that our residents may be anxious about the impact that the Coronavirus and economic downturn may have on you.  We have put together some frequently asked questions that may help. We will regularly update these, as the information is changes quickly.

Our teams are here to help. With our Moneywise Team who can help with most money matters, to our Income Team who can help you with payment options for your rent. If you are a leaseholder or shared owner please refer to the Home Ownership Team.

If you dial through to our Customer Service Team on 0300 123 3399 or email raven@ravenht.org.uk and they will be able to refer you to the right person, if the information we have provided doesn’t help.

Disclaimer: This advice is generic and may not be correct for your circumstances. If you would like tailored advice please contact our Moneywise Team.


I am employed and self-isolating or unwell. Does this affect my money?​

If you are employed and earning on average £118 per week or more then you should be entitled to statutory sick pay (SSP).  The current rate of SSP is £94.25 per week, and it can be paid for up to 28 weeks.  If you are not entitled to SSP you may be entitled to claim employment and support allowance (ESA) from the Department for Work and Pensions instead.

The government have made some changes to SSP, which means you are entitled to help from day 1 (it used to be from day 4).

Your employer may also pay you contractual sickness pay (such as half pay or full pay) whilst you are off, that can be used to top up your SSP.

Neither SSP or contractual sick pay are “public funds” and so they are not affected by a person’s immigration status.

You may also be entitled to claim universal credit (UC) on top of any SSP you are entitled to.  UC includes elements to help with the cost of your family and your rent.  It is a means tested benefit and so your entitlement can be impacted by any savings you/your partner have and any other earnings you/your partner have.  UC is a public fund and so entitlement can depend upon your or your partner’s immigration status.  Once you have claimed UC you can ask for a repayable advance so that you get your money sooner.

If you are over pension age, or if you have a partner you are both over pension age, then you will need to claim pension credit rather than universal credit.  If you are over pension age and have a partner who is under pension age you will need to claim universal credit.

If you already get benefits and these include a “severe disability premium” in them you should not claim universal credit, but claim tax credits, jobseeker’s allowance, employment and support allowance, housing benefit instead.

For most people, UC can help cover the cost of their rent.  However if you are in temporary accommodation or sheltered accommodation, are over pension age (or you and your partner are both over pension age if you have one) you will need to claim housing benefit for help towards your rent as well as any UC you claim for yourself, your partner, and your children.

You can also claim help with your council tax.  Even if you have paid for this year, you should still claim help.  Council tax support is claimed from your local council. 

It is important to not delay making a claim for benefit as you may miss out on money.

There is a list of websites and phone numbers for where to claim in the section “How do I claim benefits?” 

I am self-employed and unable to work. Can I get any help with my money?

You may be entitled to claim new style employment and support allowance (ESA) from the Department for Work and Pensions.  This is based for most people upon their national insurance contributions in the 2016/17 and 2018/19 tax years.  ESA is £57.90 per week if you are under 25 and £73.10 if you are over 25.

You may also be entitled to claim universal credit (UC) on top of any ESA you are entitled to.  UC includes elements to help with the cost of your family and your rent.  It is a means tested benefit and so your entitlement can be impacted by any savings you/your partner have and any other earnings you/your partner have.  UC is a public fund and so entitlement can depend upon your or your partner’s immigration status.  The government have announced that the minimum income floor (an assumed level of earnings for self employed people) that could impact on how much UC self-employed people could receive has been removed so if you have no income you will not be assumed to have one.  Once you have claimed UC you can ask for a repayable advance so that you get your money sooner.

If you are over pension age, or if you have a partner you are both over pension age, then you will need to claim pension credit rather than universal credit.  If you are over pension age and have a partner who is under pension age you will need to claim universal credit.

If you already get benefits and these include a “severe disability premium” in them you should not claim universal credit, but claim tax credits, jobseeker’s allowance, employment and support allowance, housing benefit instead.

For most people, UC can help cover the cost of their rent.  However if you are in temporary accommodation or sheltered accommodation, are over pension age (or you and your partner are both over pension age if you have one) you will need to claim housing benefit for help towards your rent as well as any UC you claim for yourself, your partner, and your children.

You can also claim help with your council tax.  Even if you have paid for this year, you should still claim help.  Council tax support is claimed from your local council.

It is important to not delay making a claim for benefit as you may miss out on money.

There are website links and phone numbers for where to claim in the section “How do I claim benefits?”

What if I can’t work because I have to look after my child. Do I get any help?

If you are classed as an essential worker, your child has an Education, Health and Care Plan (ECHP) they can continue to go to school from Monday 23 March 2020.  A list of who is an essential worker can be found here.

Parents are entitled by law to time off work to help with someone who depends upon them.  However, your employer can insist that this is unpaid.  You may also be entitled to ask your employer for a flexible working option if you have been employed by them for at least 26 weeks.  You may also be able to take some time as paid holiday.

If you lose income as a result of having to take unpaid leave, or being unable to work because you are self employed, you may be entitled to help through welfare benefits. 

You may be entitled to claim universal credit (UC).  UC includes elements to help with the cost of your family and your rent.  It is a means tested benefit and so your entitlement can be impacted by any savings you/your partner have and any other earnings you/your partner have.  UC is a public fund and so entitlement can depend upon your or your partner’s immigration status.  If you are self-employed, no assumption will be made that you have earnings if you do not have any.  Once you have claimed UC you can ask for a repayable advance so that you get your money sooner.

If you are over pension age, or if you have a partner you are both over pension age, then you will need to claim pension credit rather than universal credit.  If you are over pension age and have a partner who is under pension age you will need to claim universal credit.

If you already get benefits and these include a “severe disability premium” in them you should not claim universal credit, but claim tax credits, jobseeker’s allowance, employment and support allowance, housing benefit instead.

For most people, UC can help cover the cost of their rent.  However if you are in temporary accommodation or sheltered accommodation, are over pension age (or you and your partner are both over pension age if you have one) you will need to claim housing benefit for help towards your rent as well as any UC you claim for yourself, your partner, and your children.

You can also claim help with your council tax.  Even if you have paid for this year, you should still claim help.  Council tax support is claimed from your local council.

It is important to not delay making a claim for benefit as you may miss out on money.

​I have an assessment at the Jobcentre but I can’t get there. What will happen with my benefits?

If you are unable to attend a medical assessment you should contact the assessment centre as soon as possible and your appointment will be re-arranged.  Whilst this happens you will continue to receive your benefits. 
If you are unable to attend an appointment at the Jobcentre due to coronavirus COVID-19 your benefit should not be sanctioned if you let them know you cannot attend in plenty of time.

I’m worried about paying my rent, what can I do?​

If you are struggling as a result of a reduction in income due to coronavirus COVID-19, you need to contact us.  We can offer help and advice as well as flexible payments.  However, we can only do this if you let us know.  If you don’t tell us you are experiencing problems we are likely to continue our arrears collections process.

I am worried about paying my service charge/major works bill, what can I do?

Please contact us as soon as possible, we are following the governments position that no one should lose their home as a result of short-term loss of income as a result of corona virus. We can agree repayment terms depending on your personal circumstances and may be able to refer you for additional support.

I’m a leaseholder/shared owner and worried about paying my mortgage, what can I do?

Mortgage lenders have agreed that they will provide support for people who are unable to pay their mortgage, including those with buy to let mortgages, as a result of the coronavirus COVID-19.  This can include payment holidays.  You should contact your mortgage company as soon as possible to let them know there is going to be a problem and discuss your circumstances.  Mortgage lenders have indicated that help will be provided on a case by case basis.

Even if your mortgage provider agrees to a payment holiday they may still charge you interest and you may end up paying more and/or paying over a longer period of time.  Usually a payment holiday would have no impact as it is not a missed payment but an agreement to not pay.

I have credit card debts and/or car finance that I am going to struggle to pay. What can I do to help?

You should contact the provider of the finance as soon as possible to explain the situation.  They may agree to freeze payments until the coronavirus COVID-19 crisis is over or come to some other arrangement with you.  If you are worried about debts that you have, you can contact Reigate and Banstead CAB who have a dedicated debt project for Raven residents (including leaseholders and shared owners) on 03444 111 444.

What if I can’t pay my gas/electricity bill or can’t get out to top them up?

If you have a trusted friend, neighbour or relative that can top up for you then you could ask them to do so. 

You should contact your energy provider as soon as possible.  Energy providers have announced that they will do what they can to assist those affected by the coronavirus COVID-19 to make sure they stay connected.  This could include sending you out a prepaid top up card, sending someone out to top up the meter, or rescheduling your debt so that you can repay it once the coronavirus COVID-19 crisis is over.  Each utility company will have their own schemes in place.

Are there other ways that I can save money?

You may be able to save some money by switching your gas/electricity/phone/TV package or insurance to a cheaper supplier.  Our digital inclusion team can help you to compare providers and you can contact them on 0300 123 3399.

There are other money saving tips on out website There are other money saving tips on our website.

What do I do if I need to claim benefits? (If you do not claim benefits immediately you may miss out on money.  You can also ask our Moneywise team for support with making or maintaining your benefit claim.(

Universal credit​ - If you are able to claim online you should do so here. If you are particularly vulnerable and would struggle with maintaining your claim online then you can claim by calling the DWP on 0800 328 5644.

Information regarding Universal Credit during the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic can be found here.

Employment and support allowance - For new style employment and support allowance call the DWP on 0800 328 5644.

Housing benefit, discretionary housing payment, and council tax support - For housing benefit, discretionary housing payment, and council tax support contact your local borough or district council or look on their website.  

For those in Reigate and Banstead, housing benefit and council tax support can be claimed here.

Below shows what benefit you could be entitled to dependent on your circumstance.

Employed and wages drop

Claim universal credit. Claim council tax support from local council as may be able to get help with the cost of the council tax.  If in TA or sheltered accommodation must claim HB for the rent even if claiming UC

Still employed and unwell

Employer should pay SSP and possibly contractual sick pay to top up to half or full wages (like Raven does). Claim universal credit as a top up. Claim Council tax support from local council. If in TA or sheltered accommodation must claim HB for the rent even if claiming UC

Self employed and unable to work due to sickness

Claim new style employment and support allowance (ESA) but is based on national insurance contributions in tax years 2017/18 and 2018/19. Claim universal credit as a top up. Claim Council tax support from local council. If in TA or sheltered accommodation must claim HB for the rent even if claiming UC

Lost job

Claim new style jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) based on national insurance in 2017/18 and 2018/19 but not usually available for self employed.  Claim universal credit as a top up or instead.  Claim council tax support from local council.  If in TA or sheltered accommodation must claim HB for the rent even if claiming UC

Universal credit

Needs to be claimed online unless unable to cope with the online journal – phone number to claim is 0800 328 5644. Is means tested so takes into account claimant’s earnings and partner’s earnings.  Not available if over £16,000 in savings (or joint savings if a couple). If third or more child born after 6/4/17 then only pays for 2 children unless multiple birth or non consensual sex or looking after someone else’s child.  For people in TA and Sheltered accommodation they must claim HB for their housing cots as well as any UC for themselves and their children.  Once they have made their claim for UC they should be able to apply for an advance payment (get money right away).  Remind them to check their journal and their to do list as claim not complete until to do list complete.

Cannot be claimed by people already getting a severe disability premium in their means tested benefits.  This is awarded where the person gets disability benefits (PIP daily living component), (DLA middle or higher rate care) or (attendance allowance).  They live alone and nobody claims carer’s allowance or carer’s element in their UC for looking after them.  These people need to claim old benefits like tax credit and HB

Their existing benefits will stop (e.g. child tax credit) once they claim UC.  For housing benefit they will get a two week run on if they are getting HB and it stops because they make a new claim for UC as it is the DWP who tell the council to stop paying.

Jobseeker’s allowance

https://www.gov.uk/how-to-claim-new-style-jsa

Employment and support allowance

They may need a fit note (sick note) from their GP to confirm they are unwell 0800 328 5644 or https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/new-style-employment-and-support-allowance-esa-claim-form

Discretionary housing payment

If they are actually getting housing benefit or the housing element in their universal credit AND there is a shortfall in the rent they are required to pay and the amount of benefit they are entitled to for their rent they can claim a discretionary housing payment from their local council

Surrey crisis fund

If they live in Surrey and are without food/gas/electric etc they can apply for a surrey crisis payment – they are sent a prepaid mastercard to spend on essentials https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/people-and-community/surrey-crisis-fund