Just thought I'd clarify a few bits and pieces, so that those that need supprt, know where to go for help.
1) Housing Benefit (HB) has been replaced by Universal Credit (UC), with the exception of a few excluded groups (those receiving the severe disability premium in certain benefits, those living in specified accommodation (in general terms, this means supported accommodation), or those living in specified accommodation), so if you need help to meet your rent costs, you are more likely going to have to claim UC for help towards your rent, than HB.
The advantage of claiming UC, is that it combines 6 means tested benefits, into one universal credit, so you only need to make 1 claim, rather than multiple claims that people needed to make under the legacy benefits, which UC is replacing.
The disadvantage, is that there's currently a minimum 5 week wait before a payment is made, due to how UC is designed (it was billed as being a welfare wage), though advance payments can be made, which are recovered from future pay beta of UC.
UC is administered by the DWP, rather than your local council, and can be claimed online, and you used to be able to verify your ID online, which is a plus in this current climate,though I think that as a result of fraudulent claims everyone needs to be seen at a jobcentre.
The entitledto website is really good at telling you what you would be entitled to and where to claim it.
2) In addition to UC, council's operate the Discretionary Housing Payment scheme, which provides further financial assistance to renters who are experiencing financial hardship as a result of a shortfall between their rent costs and award of UC (and is also available to those who still receive HB). The additional measures announced by the chancellor on Friday, may mean this isn't needed as much, but it is available and you need to make applications directly to your council.
3) Council Tax Benefit was abolished in 2013, and since then, each council has had to design their own Council Tax Reduction Scheme, meaning that whilst there are some similarities between some schemes, every Council will have it's own Council Tax Reduction Scheme, and they are all different. Applications need to be made directly to your local council. A claim for UC doesn't always mean a claim for a Council Tax Reduction has been made, so it's always best to make a claim for Council Tax Support with your council.
In addition to Council Tax Support, some councils have an additional hardship scheme to provide extra help, so it's always worth checking your council's website.
In the budget, the chancellor announced a new £500m hardship fund for help with council tax, as a result of Covid-19, but I've yet to see any further details on what this means in practice (I thought he'd have covered it off in Friday's announcement, but I'm not aware that he mentioned it).
4) The minimum income floor,as i understand it, was a mechanism used by DWP when calculating how much an applicant earned/received from their business, and rather than basing the assessment on what was received, enabled DWP to say that as you are self
employed, and as you work 37hrs per week, we can assume you earned minimum wage, and calculate a notional income for the applicant, and base the award if UC, in that.
Abolishing the minimum income floor, is a positive measure and means that if some who is self employed, and they've seen their income reduce to nil as a result of Covid-19, the DEL will accept this, rather than saying you should be earning £xxx per week.
I think that's it...