We understand you might suffer unprecedented financial hardship as a result of coronavirus; in this difficult time, there's support available immediately, for all who need it.
See information on:
- York Financial Assistance Scheme
- Energy bills
- Council Tax Support
- Housing costs
- Employee guidence
- Help if you're self-employed
- Financial advice
Additionally, there are a range of advice and support services across the city, with more information available at:
York Financial Assistance Scheme
The York Financial Assistance Scheme (YFAS) provides help to York residents in financial difficulties due to exceptional circumstances. Additional funding has been made available to help people affected by COVID-19.
Two types of assistance are offered:
- Emergency Assistance for a disaster or crisis
- Community Assistance to help with exceptional pressures or financial difficulties
If you apply to YFAS because you're affected by coronavirus it will be treated as Emergency Assistance, and our usual annual income rules will not apply - instead YFAS will consider your individual financial circumstances.
Emergency Assistance supermarket vouchers are available to people who don't have any money for food and other household essentials when they make their application.
Vouchers are provided by email to be used in a specific supermarket: Tesco, Asda or Morrison’s. Vouchers cannot be used for home delivery. If you're not able to go to the supermarket to collect your shopping, and no one can go on your behalf, contact York's COVID-19 Helpline, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone: 01904 551550, to arrange support.
Children eligible for free school meals are also being provided vouchers by their school. These are ongoing. Parents who have not received these should contact their children’s school.
Any energy customer in financial distress will be supported by their supplier, which could include debt repayments and bill payments being reassessed, reduced or paused where necessary, while disconnection of credit meters will be completely suspended.
If you're unable to top up your pre-payment meter contact your supplier immediately, to discuss how you keep your energy supplies working.
If you have other heating costs, such as oil, and need assistance please apply giving as much detail as possible. These will be considered on the basis of need.
This part of the scheme provides help with basic necessities.
Applications can be considered for essential appliances where people do not have a working Cooker, fridge, freezer or washing machine.
Other items will be considered on the basis of need.
Make a YFAS application
To help us deal with your application as quick as possible, tell us about your change of circumstance, the help you need, and why. You'll also need to tell us about your income and savings.
If you can, please send a copy of your current bank statements to show your income and any savings with your application. You can send us these by either:
- uploading them as part of your online application (PDF, JPG or GIF)
- emailing them to email@example.com separately with your name, address and application reference
If you're unable to upload or email the files, explain in your application form why you've been unable to do so; we'll contact you about your claim.
If you're not able to apply online and no-one can do this on your behalf, contact York's COVID-19 Helpline to arrange support, telephone: 01904 551550.
Council Tax Support
If you are struggling to pay your council tax:
- claim Council Tax Support online
- if you are already in receipt of Council Tax Support and your income has changed - contact us to notify us of your change in circumstances
- if you do not have access to a computer to make an application contact our Benefits Advisers on 01904 552044
Working aged people who claim Council Tax Support will receive an additional award for £150 towards their total bill for 2020/21. This will reduce their monthly repayments.
Those who receive Council Tax Support will automatically be awarded the additional amount. We'll be making these awards to accounts and you will receive a new bill with revised monthly payments.
Anyone making a new claim for Council Tax Support will have the amount added once their claim has been assessed.
If you're in receipt of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit housing costs, you can also apply for extra help with your rent by claiming Discretionary Housing Payments.
Many employees will be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if they fall ill. Recent changes have been made to make this payable from the first day of illness.
The government has advised people who aren't entitled to SSP, including those who are self-employed, to claim Universal Credit (UC) or contributory ‘New Style’ Employment Support Allowance (ESA).
Depending on your circumstances you may be able to claim other means tested benefits. Use an independant benefits calculator to find out what you can claim.
Help if you're self-employed
Until further financial help packages are announced, some additional support is vailable:
- for Income Tax Self-Assessment, payments due on the 31 July 2020 will be deferred until the 31 January 2021 - this is automatically applied
- if you have to take time off work and you don't get paid while you're off, you might be entitled to claim benefits - if you're already claiming benefits, you might get more money
- if you already get benefits like Tax Credits or Housing Benefit, tell the office paying you that you can't work because you're sick - you might be entitled to more money while you're off work
If you are already receiving benefits:
- Tax Credits: Contact HMRC to notify them of your change in income
- Universal Credit: tell the DWP about your change of circumstances
- Council Tax Support or Housing Benefit: Contact us to notify us of your change in circumstances
The Money Advice Service have up to date information and guidance:
- coronavirus and your money - planning for the financial impacts of the current situation
- coronavirus: what it means for you - your rights to sick pay, changes to claiming your benefits and what it means for travel