Frequently asked questions

Q: Can I check what benefits I could get?

A: Yes, you can use an independent benefits calculator to find out what benefits you could get and how to claim.

Q: I need help with my rent what should I do?

A: If you have lost your job and need help paying your rent you will normally need to make a claim for Universal Credit.

We are still able to pay housing benefit if certain criteria apply.

Q: I need help with my council tax what should I do?

A: If you need help with your council tax payments you should make a claim for council tax support with us as soon as possible.

Q: I own my own home; can I make a claim for council tax support?

A: You can apply for council tax support whether you own your own home, rent from a social or private landlord, are unemployed or are working. The more money you have coming into your home, the less support we can give you. Find out more including how to make a council tax support claim.

Q: I am already receiving housing benefit and/or council tax support and my income has reduced because of the coronavirus restrictions, what should I do?

A: You must tell us if you have a change in your circumstances. Please email the details of the change, including evidence where applicable, to benefits@cheltenham.gov.uk

Q: How can I supply information to you at this time?

A: We can accept electronic documents from you to support your application.  Please email them to us at benefits@cheltenham.gov.uk remembering to include your claim number in the subject title or your full name and address.

Q: I do not qualify for council tax support but my income has been disrupted and I cannot pay my council tax instalment this month, what should I do?

A: For council tax advice please visit the council tax FAQs.

Q: I am currently paying back a housing benefit overpayment and cannot afford my payment instalments because of the coronavirus restrictions.

A: If you are unable to make your payments because your income has been disrupted by coronavirus we may be able to reduce or temporarily stop the payments. Please telephone 01242 264219 or email benefits@cheltenham.gov.uk

Q: I am getting council tax support how do I get my £150?

A: We will be receiving a hardship fund from the government in April 2020 to help residents who are experiencing financial hardship due to the coronavirus.

If you are of working age and receive council tax support you may be able to get a one off payment of up to £150 towards your 2020/2021 council tax bill. Any additional payment will be credited to your council tax account to reduce the balance and will not be sent to you as a cash payment. 

If you receive 100 per cent council tax support, and the balance for 2020/2021 is nil, then no payment can be granted. If you have an outstanding balance that is less than £150 your council tax will be cleared in full. This additional award is for 2020/2021 only (even if you have a balance outstanding from a previous year).

If you meet the criteria you do not need to apply for this payment. It will be paid automatically in due course.  Once the discount has been applied, you will receive a new bill showing the deduction.  We will start issuing these revised bills week commencing 8 June 2020.

Please register to receive your bill via email to allow us to get your new bill to you as quickly as possible.

Q: I don’t know what my employer is going to pay me what should I do?

A: We will need to know what your employer is going to pay you so we can update your claim. However we realise that all employers are paying their staff different amounts, for example

  • Some people will continue getting their full wage and others will get 80 per cent of their normal pay through the new measures announced for furloughed staff. For further information please visit GOV.UK
  • Some people may be receiving sick pay as they are not able to work due to illness
  • Others will be receiving no pay at all.

Please notify us of the change in your earnings and provide all the information you currently have using this using this form. If we need further information to make a decision on your claim we will contact you.

Q: I am self-employed and cannot currently work due to coronavirus or my income has been temporarily reduced due to coronavirus

A: The government has introduced the self-employment income support scheme if you are self-employed and temporarily unable to work due to coronavirus.

In the meantime if you are unable to pay your council tax instalment and need advice please visit the council tax FAQs.

Q: I need to contact the benefits team, how should I do this?

A: You can email us at benefits@cheltenham.gov.uk or telephone the benefits helpline 01242 264341. Please be aware that our phone lines are very busy at this time. Thank you for your patience.

Whether you’re a benefits, council tax or business rates customer, you can view up to date information and check when payments are due 24/7 on our website through 'My Revenues and Benefits'. Please visit cheltenham.gov.uk/my-revenues-and-benefits to register and view your account.

Q: Where else can I get benefit advice?

A: 

  • Speak to our benefit and money advice officer for advice on all welfare benefits by telephoning 01242 387618.
  • If you are a Cheltenham Borough Homes tenant, further information can be found at CBH benefits and money advice team.
  • Caring for Communities and People (CCP) - telephone 0800 644 6448
  • Citizens Advice - telephone 01452 527202