West Berkshire Council

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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Find information about community support and our services during the coronavirus pandemic, on our information for residents pages, our information for businesses pages, and our community support hub page which has guidance to help coordinate community organisations.

See a summary of our Local Outbreak Control Plan and read our frequently asked questions. 

Coronavirus: Council Tax, Benefits and Financial Assistance

We realise that you have many questions around processes for people who are self-isolating and the services that may be impacted due to the coronavirus and the information currently available from DWP can be found below:

Universal Credit guide finder has been published by the government to help you find the information you need. This provides links to all the current guidance available.

April 2021 Rent Increases for Sovereign and other Housing Association Tenants

If you are a tenant of Sovereign Housing association and currently receiving Housing Benefit, you may have received a rent increase letter advising you to bring that letter to the Council Offices in order for your Housing Benefit to be reassessed. For your safety, and ours, we ask that you only send information to us where necessary and avoid trips to Council Offices at this time.

Instead, if your Housing Benefit is paid directly to Sovereign you are unlikely to need to take any action. In accordance with previous years, we are expecting Sovereign to send a file directly to us providing details of rent increases where Housing Benefit is paid directly to them. Please only contact us if your new rent is not correctly stated within a Housing Benefit notification you receive from us in March 2021, where the reason for issue is identified to be 'Annual Uprating'.

If you are a tenant of another Housing Association and your Housing Benefit is paid direct to your landlords, the likelihood is that your April 2021 rent increase will also be advised to us directly by the Housing Association. We would also advise against bringing rent increase letters into the office as this may prove unnecessary. Instead, you may wish to wait for your Annual Uprating letter to arrive in March to see if your new rent is already included within the Housing Benefit assessment. If you wish, or need, to send your rent increase letter to us, please scan and email this to benefits@westberks.gov.uk, wherever possible.

If you are a tenant of a Housing Association and Housing Benefit is paid to you rather than your landlords, or you receive your annual uprating letter which does not include your April 2021 rent increase, we would still advise against bringing rent increase notices to our public offices unless you have no other option available to you. Instead, please scan and email rent increase letters to us at benefits@westberks.gov.uk.


Will there be a Council Tax holiday?
Information about paying your Council Tax during the current coronavirus pandemic
Can I apply for Council Tax Reduction or housing benefit online?
Information about applying for a Council Tax Reduction or housing benefit online during the current coronavirus pandemic
I am already receiving Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Reduction. How can I advise you of a change in my circumstances?
Information about advising us of a change in circumstances during the coronavirus pandemic.
Should I apply for benefits online?
Information about applying for benefits online during the current coronavirus pandemic
Will benefit reviews and reassessments be suspended?
Information about benefit reviews and reassessments during the current coronavirus pandemic
Will there be an increase to the Universal Credit standard allowance and basic element in Working Tax Credit?
Information about increases to Universal Credit and the basic element in Working Tax Credit during the current coronavirus pandemic
Will there be changes to Local Housing Allowance rates?
Information about Local Housing Allowance rates during the current coronavirus pandemic
What is the coronavirus Job Retention Scheme?
Information about the coronavirus Job Retention Scheme during the current coronavirus pandemic
How do I provide proof of my coronavirus absence?
Information about providing proof of your coronavirus absence during the current coronavirus pandemic
Do I need to attend my routine face-to-face appointments at the Job Centre?
Information about attending appointments at the Job Centre during the current coronavirus pandemic
Is there support for children eligible for free school meals?
Information about free school meals during the current coronavirus pandemic
What should I do if I'm worried about my energy bills?
Information about energy bills during the current coronavirus pandemic
Is there additional protection for renters and landlords?
Information about protection for renters and landlords during the current coronavirus pandemic
Are face-to-face health assessments suspended?
Information about face-to-face health assessments during the current coronavirus pandemic
When is sick pay available from?
Information about when sick pay is available during the current coronavirus pandemic
Is the government helping Council Tax reduction claimants?
Information about Council Tax reduction claimants during the current coronavirus pandemic
How do I protect myself from scams?
Information about protecting yourself from scammers during the coronavirus pandemic.
I am struggling to pay my water bill. Is there any support available?