Debt recovery guidance for Covid-19: Guidance for customers
We are aware that many of our customers and taxpayers will be experiencing very real difficulties during this uncertain period. While we try to continue to provide services to support our taxpayers, especially our most vulnerable people, we also have to collect our income from those that can afford it. Below is some guidance about our collection of debts for those on payment plans and those who pay by direct debit.
It is really important that you contact us on 01935 462462 if you have difficulty in continuing your payments. We are here to support you where we can.
We will still be collecting direct debit payments for those that have signed up to this, and have an agreed instalment schedule in place for monthly collections. Should customers feel they are unable to continue at this time with their instalment plan they should contact us and we will discuss a pause or reschedule to their plan. Each customer will have to be assessed on an individual basis.
Cancelled Direct Debits
It is important to contact us and not to cancel direct debits without discussion. We will be contacting all those customers who have cancelled their Direct Debit to inform them that their instalment plan has now been cancelled and payment is due on the full amount, unless they contact us to arrange another instalment plan.
Please make payments via our website or by telephone 01935 462462 or contact us if you wish to set up a direct debit. Please do NOT send us cheques, as we are not currently receiving post.
Council Tax Support
If you have made a claim for Universal Credit and you told the DWP that you have a Council Tax liability they will send us your information direct so you do not need to complete one of our forms. We will process your application once we receive confirmation of your Universal Credit award – we will also get this direct from DWP.
If you have not claimed Universal Credit you can claim Council Tax Support if you need help paying your Council Tax using our online form https://www.southsomerset.gov.uk/services/benefits/housing-benefit-and-council-tax-support/can-i-apply/
If you are still struggling to pay your Council Tax after we have awarded you Council Tax Support you can make an application for further help using our online form https://www.southsomerset.gov.uk/services/benefits/housing-benefit-and-council-tax-support/apply-for-housing-benefit-and-council-tax-support/
The Hardship Support fund provides for all customers of working age, who qualify for Council Tax Support during the 2020/21 financial year to receive an additional reduction of up to £150 for the year. If you have less than £150 to pay on you Council Tax bill after any other discounts and Council Tax Support has been applied then a hardship fund award will reduce your bill to zero. If the balance to pay is more than £150 a hardship fund award of £150 will be credited to your Council Tax account.
Our aim is to apply these reductions to Council Tax accounts as soon as possible. You do NOT need to claim this reduction. We will send you a new bill once we have made the hardship fund award on your account.
A letter or an e-mail has been sent to all current working age Council Tax Support customers giving more details. The letters should arrive with customers this week.
Help with paying your Rent
If you need help with paying your rent and you are of working age, you need to claim Universal Credit in most cases, if you are not already claiming Housing Benefit.
You can do this online at gov.uk/universal-credit.
There is more information about claiming help with your rent on our website – https://www.southsomerset.gov.uk/services/benefits/.
You can find out more about a range of benefits you may be entitled to using a benefit calculator at https://benefits-calculator.turn2us.org.uk/AboutYou