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COVID-19: Money, Benefits and Advice

We understand people will be struggling to manage their budgets as a result of coronavirus. Advice and support is available for residents who are struggling with money and paying bills. The following local services may be able to help. 

The Money Advice Service have up to date information and guidance, coronavirus and your money, to help you plan for the financial impacts of the current situation.

Get benefits and money advice to make sure you’re getting all the help available. Use a free independent benefits calculator to find out:

  • what benefits you could get
  • how to claim
  • how your benefits will be affected if your circumstances change

If you need further help there are a range of advice and information services working across the City,

Further information about benefits is also available on the Live Well York - Money and Benefits page.

Government Benefits

DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) benefits for people who are looking for work or on a low income:

Universal Credit (UC) or 'new style' Jobseekers Allowance (JSA)

To be eligible for a 'new style JSA' you'll need to have worked as an employee and paid Class 1 National Insurance contributions, normally within the last 2-3 years. National Insurance Credits can also count.  

You may be able to claim Universal Credit if:

  • you're on a low income or out of work
  • you're 18 or over (there are some exceptions if you're 16-17)
  • you're under State Pension age(or your partner is)
  • you and your partner have £16,000 less in savings between you

You can check what benefits you can get and how to claim by using  the Independent Benefits Calculator

Employment Support Allowance (ESA)

You can apply for Employment Support Allowance (ESA) if you have a disability or health condition that affects how much you can work.

You can also apply for ESA if you cannot work if you are self isolating because of COVID-19.

Check out what benefits you get and how to claim by visiting the the Independent Benefits Calculator

Test and Trace Support Payment

You may be eligible for this payment if you have been told (on or after 28 September 2020) by the NHS to self-isolate because:

  • you've tested positive for COVID-19
  • you've been in contact with someone who has tested positive

To be eligible for the scheme you must be:

  • Employed or self-employed
  • be unable to work from home and will lose income as a result of self-isolating
  • currently receive one of the benefits

For more information visit the Self Isolation Payments page.

One-Off Benefits

COVID-19 Winter Grant Scheme

The COVID-19 Winter Grant Scheme is provided by City of York Council to support people who require urgent financial assistance as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

The COVID-19 Winter Grant Scheme will provide assistance with families with children and other vulnerable households, who have savings under £2000.

It can provide assistance with:

  • Food and other household essentials like toiletries 
  • Energy bills- electricity, gas, oil
  • Water bills (including sewerage)
  • Mobile phone and internet connection/data bills
  • Other exceptional costs

For more information visit the Winter Grant Scheme website.

COVID-19 Housing Hardship Fund 2020

This fund is a one off payment towards rent arrears accrued after 20 March 2020 for City of York Council tenants affected by the current COVID-19 situation where they have been:

  • Unable to pay their rent due to loss of job
  • Been unable to pay their rent due to a reduction in working hours
  • Financial hardship due to inadequate finances from 20 March 2020 specifically due to other COVID-19 complications.

Anyone applying for this financial support must be actively engaged in getting help and advice in maximising their income and debt advice where appropriate.

For more information on the fund please visit the Self Isolation Support Payment website.

COVID-19 Emergency Fund

This is support for a mobile phone or access to internet.

The support phone is available for people affected by the current Covid-19 situation, who do not have:

  • either a landline or mobile phone
  • access to the internet in their home
  • a computer suitable for their needs

Anyone needing support should be referred for advice and support to maximise income and identify the most appropriate support.

If the assessment identifies mobile phone or internet access as a priority the support worker should make an application with the customer.

Support workers should contact Susan Wood ( for more information and an application pack.

Council Support

York Financial Assistance Scheme (YFAS)

YFAS provides help to York residents in financial difficulties due to exceptional circumstances. Additional funding has been made available to help people affected by COVID-19.

Two types of assistance offered are:

  • Emergency Assistance- food and fuel
  • Community Assitance-exceptional pressures or financial difficulties

If you apply to YFAS because of coronavirus it will be treated as an Emergency Assistance, and their usual income rules will not apply-instead YFAS will consider your individual financial circumstances.

For more information, please visit the YFAS page.

Support with Housing Costs

If you're struggling to pay your rent or aren't receiving Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, you should apply for Universal Credit for help with housing costs.

If you're in receipt of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit housing costs you can also apply for extra help with your rent by claiming a Discretionary Housing Payment. Please visit the Discretionary Housing Payment page for further information.

Council Tax Support

If you are struggling to pay your council tax, claim Council Tax Support online.

Council Tax Discretionary Reduction Scheme

The Council Tax Discretionary Reduction Scheme provides assistance for those who are struggling to pay their council tax bill.

They only make reductions on the basis of hardship, for example:

  • you may be receiving benefits but your Council Tax Supportdoes not cover all your council tax bill
  • you do not qualify for Council Tax Support and you have a change in your circumstance which are affecting your payments, for example you are not working due to COVID-19 and have no savings.

For further information, visit the Tax Reduction Scheme page

Benefits and Contributions Advisers

City of York Council Benefits and Contributions Advisers provide information, advice and support to residents regarding all aspects of social care funding, as well as supporting all residents to claim the benefits they are entitled to.

Tel: 01904 552044   Monday – Friday 10.00 – 4.00 pm


Talking Points

The Council is now offering the Talking Points service online. Book an appointment with a member of the adult social care team on a given date and time, or opt to join a drop-in session and wait for a private conversation. Here you will enter a virtual waiting room and ‘wait’ in the virtual lobby for a contact worker to be free.

As usual, you will be able to access information, advice and support from adult social care staff as well as find out more about local activities, support and resources.

Booked video appointments with the team will also be available for people who contact adult social care and would benefit from a more in depth conversation. The team can be contacted on: 01904 555111.

Business Grants

Many of York's Businesses are eligible for grant payments under four government schemes:

  • Local Restrictions Grant-for hospitality and leisure businesses that were open during York's first Tier 2 period
  • Sector Support Grant- for businesses that remained closed during York's first Tier 2 period
  • Lockdown Restriction grant- if you pay business rates and your business was mandated to close during the second nationwide lockdown
  • Additional Restrictions grant-if you were not eligible for the Lockdown Restriction grant.

Information on all the grants can be found on the COVID-19 Business Grants page.

Local Advice

Citizens Advice provides advice on a wide variety of legal issues; including welfare benefits, money advice, employment, immigration, homelessness, housing, relationships and advice on other legal issues.

Due to the effects of the Coronavirus they are now unable to offer face-to-face advice.  Telephone advice is available by ringing our Adviceline:     

Adviceline: 03444 111 444             Monday – Friday 10.00 – 4.00pm

Please be aware that this number may be very busy

For assistance with making a Universal Credit claim or to book an appointment

Phone 0800 144 8 444       Monday – Friday 8.00 – 6.00pm


Christians Against Poverty specialist debt help services are free and local to you. A telephone appointment will be arranged to work out a realistic budget, as well as negotiating affordable payments with creditors.

Tel: 0800 328 0006


Local Area Coordinators work with individuals and families of all ages and abilities. They help raise awareness of available resources within the local community and support people with a wide range of issues. They take time to get to know you, your family, friends, carers and your community, so they can help you to build a strong support network.

Local Area Coordinators help you stay safe, well, independent and connected to your local community by:

  • helping raise awareness of available resources
  • providing links to local services
  • supporting people with a wide range of issues
  • developing resilience and social inclusion in communities

Local Area Coordinators currently operate in these wards:

  • Acomb into Holgate
  • Clifton
  • Guildhall
  • Haxby and Wigginton
  • Huntington and New Earswick
  • Hull Road and Heworth (Tang Hall)
  • Westfield

If your area isn't covered by a Local Area Coordinator, contact the Community Facilitator

Peasholme Charity usually provides support on a wide range of issues, however given the current crisis the service will focus on crisis related to the following:

  1. Income – new benefit claims, benefit advice, discretionary benefits and other sources of support, including YFAS & / or other grant support.
  2. Housing – threats / concerns regarding accommodation, including rent arrears or inability to make housing related payments.   

Tel: 0300 3657700         Mon, Tues, Wed and Fri 10am - 3pm Email: 

Age UK York  is continuing to provide expert advice and support on benefits to those State Pension age and over during the Coronavirus crisis and have adapted their service to complete benefit claim forms over the telephone for those who are eligible. Entitlement to disability benefits such as Attendance Allowance has not stopped as a result of the pandemic and help is still available to make a claim! If you are over State Pension age and are struggling financially or have been struggling with your personal care as a result of ill health for six months or more then please contact Age UK York on: 

Tel: 01904 634061/01904 627995 between 9.30am-3.00pm, Monday to Friday.


York Carers Centre provides support for unpaid carers of all ages who live, or care for someone, who lives in York. Carers can also get advice and information on a range of issues including benefits, training, employment, carers’ rights and how to plan for an emergency.

As the situation with coronavirus evolves, it's important to us that carers know how to access help, both for themselves and the person they support.  The team are here on the phones operating their usual service and offering support and advice.  If you need support or someone to talk to, please get in touch.

Their website is regularly updated with national and local information/resources for carers, including the official government advice.

 Tel: 01904 715490


Older Citizens Advocacy York is open and welcoming new clients.

They can provide advocacy support anyone over 50 living in the York area, helping with a wide range of issues from benefits and housing to utility complaints and power of attorney.

Tel: 07715099493


IDAS services are open and inclusive and available to anyone who has experienced or is experiencing domestic abuse.

When you contact us they will talk to you about your situation and the support you need. This can include anything from helping you through the criminal justice system, giving you information on benefits and housing, providing emotional support or referring you on for counselling.  Your safety is of paramount concern to us and we will always do our best to help you form a plan that will help you feel safer.

Tel: 03000 110 110


Last reviewed: 10/12/2020