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COVID-19 - Guidance, support and FAQs for residents

Guidance, support and the answers to the questions residents are asking us most frequently since the CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) outbreak.

Decorative image - coronavirus (COVID-19) - Resident; do you need support?

Decorative image showing the  brand logo for the Basildon COVID-19 Community Hub
If you are unable to find the information you are looking for, please contact the Basildon Community Hub for further information by either of the following methods:

Email: coronavirusresidents@basildon.gov.uk - (recommended for an early response)

Phone: 01268 533333 (select option 1)

Basildon Community Hub continues to support vulnerable people since government Shielding ended on Friday 31 August

Basildon Council's Community Hub and its partners will continue to support the most vulnerable and isolated residents in our community with food and medication deliveries, hearing aid battery replacement and a befriending service, as well as giving general advice and guidance to borough residents during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Who the Community Hub can help

The Community Hub can help If you do not have the support of family and friends and...

  • you still need support with essential supplies now that deliveries from the government shielding service have ended
  • you are self-isolating due to showing COVID-19 symptoms
  • you are self-isolating due to having been advised to do so by the COVID-19 Test and Trace service.

To contact the Community Hub

Please note: If you have the support of family and friends you should continue to seek that support.


The George Hurd Activity Centre for the over 50s is now being used by the NHS as a Covid-19 Vaccination Hub.

Please do not contact the George Hurd Centre  reception staff with Covid-19 Vaccination enquiries.

The Covid-19 Vaccination Hub is managed by the NHS and George Hurd Centre reception staff are unable to assist with enquiries or  appointments in relation to the Covid-19 Vaccination roll-out.

The NHS has published the following advice:

  • The NHS will contact you when it's your turn to have the vaccine, so please do not contact the NHS for a vaccination before then.
  • Please act on your invite when it comes, and make sure you attend your appointments when you arrange them.
  • Continue to abide by all the social distancing and hand hygiene guidance, which will still save lives.
  • The order in which people will be offered the vaccine is based on advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

For further information on Covid-19 vaccine roll-out see::

Basildon University Hospital  has issued a warning to inform the general public about a bogus text message scam which asks people to PAY for their COVID-19 vaccination.

Pay for COVID-19 vaccine bogus text message scam

If you receive a text message claiming to be from Basildon University Hospital which asks you to PAY FOR A COVID-19 VACCINATION - IT IS A SCAM!

Basildon University Hospital will NEVER ask you to pay for a COVID-19 vaccination and will NEVER ask for your bank details.

You should DELETE THE TEXT MESSAGE immediately and definitely DO NOT GIVE YOUR BANK DETAILS!

Genuine COVID-19 vaccination text messages from Basildon University Hospital

The Government has asked the NHS to focus initially on vaccinating those who are at highest risk of serious COVID complications - this principally being people who are over 80 years old, alongside people who work in care homes and some people who work in health and care who are classified as 'high risk'.

If you have received a text message from Basildon University Hospital it means that you are eligible to have the COVID-19 vaccine during the first wave of the vaccination programme.

A  genuine text message you receive from Basildon University Hospital will have clear NHS mid and south Essex (MSE) branding and include a link that allows you to book a COVID-19 vaccination appointment and there will also be a telephone booking option.

Decorative image showing the  brand logo for the Basildon COVID-19 Community HubHelp is available for the clinically extremely vulnerable who need help with food or supermarket deliveries.

  • Have you been advised by the government to shield?
  • Are you clinically extremely vulnerable and unable to leave your home as it is not safe to do so?

If the answer to either of the above questions is YES and you have no-one to help you with collecting or purchasing food on your behalf, please do not worry. Basildon Community Hub can help. All you have to do is complete and submit our online form. See...

Basildon Community Hub will contact you as soon as possible to discuss how we can help.

 

On this page...

In response to the Coronavirus the Government has announced that individuals losing income after being asked to self-isolate by the NHS Test and Trace scheme may be eligible for a lump sum payment of £500.
 

Please note: We are currently receiving a very high volume of applications for Test and Trace Support Payments. All applications are processed in date order.

You can help us to process your application quicker by making sure to include all the supporting evidence asked for when completing your online application. Not giving us all of the correct information causes delays. Failure to provide the supporting evidence asked for will result in your application being rejected.
 

Help that is available

From 28/09/2020, low-income residents can receive a lump sum payment of £500 if:

a) self-isolating after testing positive

b) have been identified as a positive contact for COVID-19 and have been asked to self-isolate by the NHS

Please note an application can be made at any time up to 28 days after the first day of self-isolation.  The Council will not accept any applications after this point. 

Your eligibility

To be eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment, an individual must:

  • have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace either because a) they've tested positive for coronavirus or b) have recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive
  • be employed or self-employed
  • be unable to work from home and will lose income as a result
  • be currently receiving Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, income-based Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and/or Pension Credit.
  • Have engaged with Test and Trace to complete the contact tracing journey, the link to do this will be on the text or email received from Test and Trace

Versions of the scheme you may be eligible for

The Standard Scheme

Under the standard scheme you must be receiving a qualifying benefit to be eligible for the Test and Trace Support Payment. For full details of the Standard Scheme see:

The Discretionary Scheme

The Test and Trace Payment Discretionary scheme is open to those that cannot apply under the standard scheme, those that are in employment or self-employed. For full details of the Discretionary Scheme see:

Apply for a Test and Trace Support Payment

Important: evidence that must be included with your application

The government has set out that the following supporting evidence must be supplied with the application for the Test and Trace Support Payment. The evidence needed can be attached to your online application and we will accept: scanned images, photo images, screenshots etc.

  • the unique eight-digit ID number provided by NHS Test and Trace asking that you self-isolate (this will include your Unique ID number)
  • recent proof that you are receiving one of the qualifying benefits (If applicable)
  • a recent bank statement (which shows the full name on the account, the full account number and sort code)
  • recent proof of employment (most recent payslip), or, if you are self-employed, evidence of self-assessment returns, trading income and proof that your business delivers services which cannot be undertaken without social contact.

Please help us to process your application quicker by making sure you have included all the supporting evidence asked for when completing your online application. Not giving us all of the correct information causes delays.

Failure to provide the supporting evidence will result in your application being rejected.

How to upload evidence at a later date, if you were unable to include it with your original application

If you were unable to supply any or all of the supporting evidence at the time of submitting your original application, that evidence can be  be sent to us at a later date using the following online form. We will accept: electronic documents (.pdf, .doc, .docx or similar), scanned images, photo images, screenshots etc.

Financial support for parents and guardians of someone who has been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace

Since 8 March 2021; Parents and guardians may be entitled to a Test and Trace Support Payment or a discretionary payment if they are a parent or guardian who is not legally required to self-isolate, but who needs to take time off work to look after a child or young person who is self-isolating.

Parents and guardians will qualify for this financial support if they match all of the following criteria...

  • you are the parent or guardian of a child or young person in your household who is self-isolating, and you need to take time off work to care for them;
  • the child or young person is aged 15 or under, or aged 25 or under with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) Plan, normally attends an education or childcare setting, and has been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or by their education or childcare setting;
  • you are unable to work from home and will lose income because you have to care for the child or young person while they are self-isolating;
  • you meet all the other eligibility criteria for a Test and Trace Support Payment or discretionary payment ( See eligibility criteria above )

Important: additional evidence that parents and guardians must  include with their application

Parents and guardians will need to provide the following evidence as part of your application:

  • A Contact Tracing and Advisory Service (CTAS) ID Number for the child (if available)
  • A letter from the child's school or childcare setting which includes the child's name and dates of isolation
  • If the child is over 15, then evidence of the child's Education, Health and Care plan
  • A recent bank statement (which shows the full name on the account, the full account number and sort code).

Applications for a Test and Trace Support Payment from parents and guardians

Parents and guardians can submit a Test and Trace Support Payment online here...

Basildon Community Hub continues to support vulnerable people since government Shielding ended at the end of August 2020

Basildon Council's Community Hub and its partners will continue to support the most vulnerable and isolated residents in our community with food and medication deliveries, hearing aid battery replacement and a befriending service, as well as giving general advice and guidance to borough residents during the COVID-19 lockdown.
 

Contact the Community Hub if you do not have the support of family and friends and you still need support with essential supplies now that deliveries from the government shielding service have ended.
 

Please note: If you have the support of family and friends you should continue to seek that support.

Our town centre offices at The Basildon Centre in St. Martins Square, Basildon are now open from 9am-5pm for pre-booked appointments only. Appointments can be booked by calling 01268 533333.

The Essex Library branch in The Basildon Centre has now reopened.

Residents and customers are advised to access council services and information from this website in the usual way.

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) enquiries

NHS Test and Trace in use

Visitors to the Basildon Centre who are not pre-booked will be asked to provide their details in order to comply with the Essex wide approach to NHS Test and Trace.
 

Details to be collected;

  • The name and contact phone number of any customers or visitors, or if it is a group of people, the name of the lead member of the group (or person booking a facility), who is able to contact other members of the group, and the number of people in the group
  • Recording the date, arrival and departure time of all visitors or visiting groups.

Details are not required if;

  • The visitor is on site for less than ten minutes
  • Pre booked appointment/or booking where the details are already held (visitor must agree to the details being used for this reason)
  • When visiting a partner agency in the Basildon Centre as they have their own arrangements in place.

For further information on NHS Test and Trace see:

Decorative image showing the  brand logo for the Basildon COVID-19 Community Hub
If you are self-isolating or staying at home due to being vulnerable and are without any support from friends or family who could help you with food shopping or collecting a medical prescription , please contact Basildon Community Hub for support by either of the following methods:

Email: coronavirusresidents@basildon.gov.uk - (recommended for an early response)

Phone: 01268 533333 (select option 1).

 

    Please note: this is a limited service and so we can only provide support to those most in need.
 

Guidance on safe and secure ways to pay a shopping volunteer for your groceries

If you are self-isolating and someone has volunteered to do your food shopping, you should use a safe and secure way to pay the shopping volunteer for your groceries during coronavirus lockdown.

For guidance and advice on the safest and most secure ways to pay a shopping volunteer for your groceries, visit:

Decorative image showing the  brand logo for the Basildon COVID-19 Community Hub
The Basildon Community Hub can offer help with the delivery of replacement hearing aid batteries.

If you usually receive your replacement hearing aid batteries from the hospital, and you are self-isolating or staying at home due to being vulnerable, and you need a replacement hearing aid battery, please contact Basildon Community Hub for support by either of the following methods:

Email: coronavirusresidents@basildon.gov.uk - (recommended for an early response)

Phone: 01268 533333 (select option 1).

NHS replacement battery postal deliveries back to normal

NHS deliveries of hearing aid batteries by post are now back to normal and patients can contact Basildon Hospital's Audiology Dept to request replacement batteries:
 

Phone:  01268 394732 ( Monday - Friday - 8am - 5.30pm)

Email: audiologyadult@btuh.nhs.uk
 

    Please note: this service is exclusively for those who have an NHS record card for their hearing aid batteries.

Replacement batteries from libraries back to normal

Replacement hearing aid batteries are once again available from local libraries. 

The Essential Living fund is a grant based scheme open to anyone to claim. The scheme covers everything from furniture to day to day living expenses such as groceries, nappies, toiletries, money for pay as you go fuel meters.

For more information or to make an application please visit: Essential Living Fund Applications - Essex County Council Area or:

Phone: 0300 7900124.

 

 

 

 

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has now suspended all face to face interviews. This is for the safety of employees and visitors, in light of the coronavirus outbreak. 

Residents receiving benefits do not need to attend their job centre in person. Those who receive benefits will continue receiving their payments as normal. 

For information on applying to Universal Credit, please visit:  Gov.UK - Apply for Universal Credit.

A response we received from DWP stated:
 'We are seeing an unprecedented volume of intake and are currently redeploying everyone and giving everyone limited training to enable them all to deliver part or all of this Universal Credit process.  We will work with our local contact to address this where possible. The advances are paid by DWP not by the Council, we will still assist with our discretionary rent and council tax payments as normal.'

The DWP are not expecting normal activity during this time, including any eligibility conditions that are monitored. They have suspended all face-to-face intervention, including for new claimants. 

You will need to notify the DWP and the Council for Universal Credit and other benefits. Reducing your working hours, generally, increases your benefits/tax credits support.

From 13th March, if you are self-isolating with symptoms of COVID-19, you are eligible for SSP. 

From 20th March, if you are advised to self-isolate or you are showing symptoms COVID-19, you can obtain an 'isolation note'. Complete an online form from NHS 111, do not go to a doctor. In addition, Jobcentre Plus as reason for not attending events will accept this note.
Residents entitled to SSP will get £94.25 per week if they are too ill to work. Your employer pays this for up to 28 weeks. 

The government has set out a Hardship Fund for local authorities in England, enabling them to reduce council tax bills for 2020 to 2021. This applies to all working age people receiving Council Tax Reduction and does not include residents who only receive a discount or exemption, e.g single persons discount. 

  • If you're in receipt of Council Tax Reduction, you will receive a further reduction of your council tax bill up to a maximum of £150.00.
  • If you're in receipt of a Council Tax Reduction and your council tax liability is less than £150.00, then your liability will be reduced to nil.
  • If you're in receipt of a Council Tax Reduction and your council tax liability is nil, then no reduction will be made.

The majority of Basildon's Council Tax Reduction customers will receive a maximum £150.00 further reduction to their council tax bill.

A one off payment will be automatically credited to your account, there is no need to contact the council. For ALL working age Council Tax Reduction customers we will reduce your council tax accounts and send you a revised council tax bill with a revised instalment payment plan.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a payment to help with living costs, it is paid monthly and is calculated based on your household and income circumstances. Universal Credit can also help you with your housing costs.

For more information or to make an application please visit GOV.UK - Universal Credit or:

Phone: 0800 328 5644

Textphone: 0800 328 1344.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

If you are unable to work, because you are ill or self-isolating because of the coronavirus you may be able to claim Statutory Sick Pay. This currently includes people who are self-employed.

You are not eligible for SSP if you earn less than £118 per week or are self employed. Instead, you are advised to claim for Universal Credit (UC) or 'new style' Employment and Support Allowance. 

For more information on Statutory Sick Pay please visit GOV.UK - Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) or:

Phone: 03000 560 630

Pension Credit

Pension Credit is an income related benefit to help people who can claim as state pension there are 2 parts of Pension Credit. Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit, which one you are entitled to depend on your income and savings circumstances.

For more information Pension Credit or to make an application please visit GOV.UK - Pension Credit or:

Phone: 0800 99 1234

Universal Credit

If you have not old enough to claim State Pension Credit, to claim financial assistance with your Housing Costs you need to claim Universal Credit.

For more information or to make an application please visit GOV.UK - Universal Credit or:

Phone: 0800 328 5644

Textphone: 0800 328 1344.

Housing Benefit

Housing Benefit is financial assistance for those on low income to help with their rental charges. It will be administered by Basildon Borough Council, and is paid to people who are old enough to claim a state pension

For more information or to make a claim please visit Apply for housing benefit and/or council tax support or:

 Phone: 01268 533333.

The government has announced that your landlords are not allowed to evict you or take any court action for the next 3 months.

If you rent from the council and would like more information about the rent please visit Housing, rent and homelessness  or:

Phone: 01268 533333.

Further Help for people claiming Universal Credit or Housing Benefit but still unable to meet their rental charges

Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) is additional financial help for people who are in receipt of Housing Benefit or the Housing Costs element of Universal Credit.

For more information or to make an application please visit Apply for Discretionary and/or Exceptional Hardship Payments or:

Phone: 01268 533333.

If financial insecurity caused by COVID-19 has left you unsure on how you can pay council tax, speak to us. We have not been advised by the government to offer council tax holidays, but other help is available.  Including council tax reductions for those who are eligible and alternative payment methods for direct debits. 

For support on any of these schemes, please call 01268 533 333. 


What help may be available?

Council Tax Reduction (CTR)

Council Tax Reduction is a discount for persons of working age who are on a low income or unemployed.  

For more information or to make an application please visit: Information on Council Tax Assistance 

Local Council Tax Support

Local Council Tax Support (LCTS) is available for those on a low income who are old enough to claim a State Pension.  The discount is administered by Basildon Council.

For more information or to make an application please visit: Information on Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction 

Discretionary Essential Hardship Payment

Essential Hardship Payment (EHP) is additional help for those who are in receipt CTR but are still unable to meet their Council Tax costs.

For more information or to make an application please visit: Information on Discretionary and / or Exceptional Hardship Payments 

With many people struggling financially it can be concerning about how to repay your debts and ingoing costs. Some options that you may wish to consider are:

  • Asking for a mortgage holiday
  • Speaking to your landlord about your rent
  • Talking to your debtors.

Free independent debt assistance from Citizens Advice

First, Citizens Advice have developed a new digital tool, full of helpful ways to maximise household income, save money and prevent financial problems. The guide has been designed specifically to help anyone living in the south of Essex and is available to download via the link below. 

Icon for pdf Download 'Making Every Penny Count' from Citizens Advice [3.29MB]

For more information from Citizens Advice please visit: Citizens Advice - Help with debt or:

Phone: 03444 111444

Text relay: 03444 111 445

PLEASE NOTE: At the moment Citizens Advice are unable to make face to face interviews because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

It's important we look out for our family, friends and neighbours, especially if they live alone, are elderly or have pre-existing health conditions.

You may be able to help without having face-to-face contact. You could:

  • pop a note through their door giving them your phone number, if they don't already have it
  • keep in touch by phone or social media
  • help them by doing their food shopping and leaving it on their doorstep
  • pointing them to trusted and reliable information, such as Basildon Council, the NHS Website , or the information from central Government at GOV.UK - Welcome to GOV.UK
  • encourage people to stay active at home where possible.

If you, or a friend or family member feels anxious or worried, there is some helpful information on the Mind website, please visit: MIND - For better mental health.

For more volunteering ideas and downloadable resources on how you can make a difference, see also: Community volunteering and helping others.

We recognise that staying at home for long periods of time can be difficult and can feel lonely at times. Regular conversation with others can make a huge difference to how we feel.

If you or someone you know may be feeling isolated or lonely, there are a number of local support agencies who may be able to provide assistance:

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