If you’re receiving benefits already but your income has stopped or dropped

If you’re receiving benefits already, it’s really important that you tell both us and the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) about any changes to your income. This is so that we can adjust the amount you’re entitled to. You can tell us about changes by emailing benefits@camden.gov.uk or by filling in a ‘change in circumstances’ form

To find out more about how to report changes to the DWP visit gov.uk or telephone the Job Centre on 0800 169 0310.

Change of circumstances form

You can tell DWP about a change to your circumstances here.

If you’re currently receiving benefits, please also seek advice to check you’re receiving everything you’re entitled to, using a benefit calculator to help you.

Accessing benefits for the first time if your income has stopped or dropped

If you’re struggling financially and not on benefits already, you may be eligible to apply for both of the following:

  1. Council Tax Support: this is a type of benefit that reduces the amount of council tax you need to pay. The discount you’re entitled to is worked out by looking at your income and your individual circumstances which are explained on this page. If you think you’re eligible, you can make a claim here.

  2. Universal Credit: if you’re not claiming benefits at the moment and you’re now unable to work or your income has dropped, as long as you fit the criteria, you can apply for Universal Credit. The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) manages this so you will need to apply online at gov.uk or if you need help call them on 0800 328 5644. You do not need to go to the job centre and you can receive an advance payment from DWP.

  3. Contributions-based benefits: If you have recently lost your job, you may also be eligible for contributions-based benefits - Job Seekers’ Allowance or Employment Support Allowance - which you can apply for at gov.uk. Your eligibility will only depend on your National Insurance contributions – the amount you have in savings and/or your partners’ income won’t be taken into account. Please use a benefit calculator to help you.

If you're unable to top up your pay-as-you go energy or struggling with energy bills

The government has agreed measures with energy providers to support vulnerable people through COVID-19. Proposals will make sure vulnerable customers who may fall into debt remain supplied with energy while in self-isolation.

Measures include making sure prepayment and pay-as-you go customers remain supplied with energy and supporting all customers in financial distress. Those with pre-payment meters who may not be able to add credit should speak to their energy provider about options to keep them supplied.

The agreement has been signed by all UK domestic suppliers and will come into force immediately. The Government and energy industry have agreed to prioritise those existing customers most in need, while identifying customers whose circumstances may have changed as a direct or indirect result of COVID-19.

Customers that are unable to top up their pre-payment meter are advised to contact their supplier immediately to discuss how they can be kept on supply. Ofgem recommends consumers leave the meter box unlocked if they need someone else to top up the meter. Smart meter customers should be able to top-up remotely, such as by phone, mobile application or online.

More information is available on the GOV.UK website.

If you are struggling with money and can't pay bills or buy food

If you are having very bad problems with money, you may be able to get a one off emergency payment from Camden Council. This is to help towards your food or gas and electricity bills. 

It will usually be an e-voucher payment or sometimes a direct payment to you of about 60% of your standard benefit amount. It will depend on your circumstances and household. For example, a single person may get a one-off payment of £50.

When we consider making an award we will look at your household income and situation. We use our data systems and the information you give us to decide whether we can help you.

We do NOT give you awards to:

  • cover rent
  • replacement white goods or furniture
  • pay debts

Apply for help through our Local Welfare Assistance Scheme 

Provide as much information as possible. 

You can also call us on 020 7974 4444 (option 9).

The Council makes the final decision on whether to give you an award. You do not have an automatic right to an award.

 

For additional financial and benefits advice you can also speak to one of the following organisations:

1. Money Helper

MoneyHelper

2. Mary Ward Legal Centre
020 7831 7079
marywardlegal.org.uk

3. Citizens Advice Camden
0808 278 7835
camdencabservice.org.uk

If you’re worried about losing your home

Advice for council tenants:

If you’re a council tenant and are worried about paying your rent, council tax or bills, speak to your neighbourhood housing officer as soon as possible. No tenant will be evicted from their home if they are unable to pay the rent because of COVID-19 and we are committed to supporting you through this very difficult time.

If you are still able to pay your rent, council tax and bills, you should pay as normal. We really don’t want any of our tenants to build up debt, and we need to carry on collecting rent so we can keep looking after you and keep all of our housing services running. For questions about rent, other bills or any other concerns, you can call your neighbourhood housing officer on 020 7974 4444 (option 3 then 5).

Advice for leaseholders:

If you're a leaseholder and you think you will have difficulty paying your service charge or major works invoices because of COVID-19, we are here to help. Please email leaseholder services at leaseholderservices@camden.gov.uk or call 020 7974 3559.

Advice for private renters:

If you are a private renter and you’re struggling to pay your rent, speak to your landlord first. They might agree to a rent reduction or accept a late payment to your rent. Get any agreement in writing. You might also be eligible for Universal Credit. If you are already receiving Universal Credit or Housing Benefit you can apply to the Council for a Discretionary Housing Payment.

For help and advice, contact the Homelessness Prevention Team on 020 7974 5801 (9am-5pm, Monday-Friday).

 

Advice for home owners:

If you’re a home owner, please call your mortgage provider to explain your change in circumstances because they will be able to pause mortgage payments for up to three months.