Chichester District Council is making people aware of all of the support that is available to help them pay their bills during this challenging time.
The council offers a number of discounts for council tax payers, including Council Tax Reduction, which is a means tested benefit and does not take account of outgoings. For people that are already claiming Council Tax Reduction, the Government has announced a Hardship Fund to support residents who are struggling financially.
Residents who are eligible for the support will have their award automatically credited to their council tax bill. Residents do not need to contact the council to receive this payment because they hold all of the relevant details to apply this discount automatically. Payments are estimated to be processed from mid to late April and will be done as quickly as possible. People who are eligible will receive a revised council tax bill, which will reflect the hardship fund that has been applied.
“The coronavirus outbreak has affected everyone, and we want to support people as much as we possibly can by making sure that they can access all the financial help available to them,” says Councillor Peter Wilding, Cabinet Member for Finance, Corporate Services and Revenues and Benefits at Chichester District Council.
“What’s important to remember, is that if you are struggling to pay your bills, there is a range of ways in which we can help you. We would encourage anyone who is concerned about paying council tax due to the impact of the coronavirus, to please let us know as soon as possible.
“It may be that you have applied for Council Tax Reduction, but are still concerned about making payments. If so, we’d urge you to get in touch to discuss the other help that is available. Options could include paying in instalments over twelve months, or spreading instalments between June 2020 to March 2021, which may alleviate hardship for people that are struggling to make payments at the moment.
“The best way to do this is by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you do not have online access, please call us on 01243 785166. Please note that due to high call volumes we recommend using our online services in the first instance wherever possible. This will keep essential lines free for those without access to the internet.
“Where possible, we are also asking customers to sign up for online letters and bills. To do this, simply go to www.chichester.gov.uk/myaccount and select the service that you need.
“Our ‘My Account’ service is available 27/7 and allows you to: manage payments, including setting up a direct debit; access council tax or business rates records; advise us of a change of address; view account details and recent bills; claim housing benefit or council tax reduction; report a change in your circumstances for housing benefit or council tax reduction, and; update personal details. Simply visit www.chichester.gov.uk/myaccount and select the service you need.”
The council has created a range of new pages on its website with answers to frequently asked questions. This includes information about council tax help, benefit support, and business grants and rate discounts. For details of the support that is available, visit: www.chichester.gov.uk/taxandbenefitsfaq