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Benefits and financial support

Residents' Support Scheme

The Residents' Support Scheme is designed to help residents who are either in or at risk of being in crisis or are in need of immediate help and have no source of financial support available to them.

The scheme can help with short-term living costs such as credit food and gas/electric pre-payment metres. It can also help in some circumstances with white goods and furniture. Cash will not usually be awarded, but a pay point voucher can be supplied to the applicant where necessary.

You can apply online.

If you are finding it difficult to apply online, or if you have a query about a new or existing application, please email lwpqueries@northgateps.com or call 020 7520 7217.

If you would like to appeal a previously refused application, or you wish to make a formal complaint, please email lwpappeal@northgateps.com

Praxis Hardship Fund – For no recourse to public funds (NRPF)

Praxis has been awarded funding from the council to give small emergency grants (£50-£100) to migrant residents at risk of poverty and homelessness as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Migrants with no recourse to public funds are at more risk during this period as they cannot claim benefits if they lose their job or get ill.

Praxis is offering immigration advice and support to migrant residents. This is in addition to the small emergency grants funded by the council to help people buy food, toiletries, mobile data and other essential items.

Praxis currently has a long waiting list for advice referrals so please apply as soon as you can.

You can apply or refer clients to us by using the online advice form or call 020 7749 7608 or 020 7749 7605 for advice on

  • Wednesday 2–4pm
  • Thursday 10am to 12.30pm 

Support with new Universal Credit applications

The council has a dedicated phone line for people who want help with Universal Credit.

To book a phone appointment with a  council officer, please call 020 7364 7010.

Welfare benefits advice

The council is working with local advice agencies to continue providing welfare benefits advice remotely. Their contact details are listed below. All our partners are experiencing unprecedented demand so we would ask you to keep trying if you cannot get through at your first attempt.


Telephone advice


Account 3

020 7739 7720


Age UK

020 8981 7124



020 7001 2266


Bromley by Bow Centre

020 8709 9757

020 8709 9745


Carers Centre Tower Hamlets

020 7709 1765


Citizens Advice Bureau

020 3855 4472



077 4570 8878 (Text only)


Fair Finance

020 3475 8811


Financial Health Centre

020 7364 2200


Island Advice Centre

020 7987 9379


Legal Advice Centre

020 3606 0372


Limehouse Project

020 7538 0075


Local Link/Real

020 7001 2175 


Mind in Tower Hamlets and Newham

020 7510 1081


Ocean Somali Community Centre




020 7749 7608 (Wednesday 2 - 4pm)

020 7749 7605 (Thursday 10am - 12.30pm)


Positive East

020 7791 2855


St Hildas

020 7739 8066 (Monday to Thursday, 10am - 2pm)


St Peter

020 7729 1036


Stifford Centre

020 7790 3632


Tower Hamlets Law Centre

020 7538 4909


Tower Hamlets Resident Support Outreach Service

020 7364 7010 



020 7392 2953 



Tower Hamlets Community Advice Network

The Tower Hamlets Community Advice Network (THCAN) is a partnership of local advice centres that provide free advice and representation in areas of social welfare law. The advice centres work together through THCAN to ensure that Tower Hamlets residents have access to free, high quality advice on welfare benefits, debt, housing and other areas of social welfare law.

The THCAN website is kept up to date with resources and information about advice providers that can help during this crisis and beyond.

Housing benefit

Protecting and supporting vulnerable residents who are affected or experience hardship as a result of the coronavirus pandemic is one of our top priorities. We are working with the government on this and working through plans on what this will look like.

 We will of course continue our usual housing benefit administration. We are also making changes to our processes to help residents who may have to self isolate, particularly where we need information and evidence from them in support of their claims. 

While housing benefit is a Department for Work and Pensions benefit administered by local authorities, we are also aware that residents may experience sudden reductions in their income and that this may be the case for the weeks ahead. In these circumstances, we will adjust the housing benefit entitlement to help our residents pay their rent.

Council tax

We have a council tax reduction scheme, which offers support to residents. The scheme is means tested and the council offers a 100 per cent discount on council tax for residents on the lowest incomes.

What to do if you’re income suddenly stops or reduces:

If you currently receive housing benefit and/or local council tax reduction 

If you do not currently receive housing benefit and/or local council tax reduction 

  1. Check whether you are entitled to universal credit on the government's website, and if so make an online claim.
  2. You should also claim council tax reduction from the council using this link. 
  3. If you are not eligible for universal credit you can claim both housing benefit and council tax reduction from the council using a single application form.

Support from energy suppliers

Working with the government, energy suppliers are in the process of putting in place new measures to help customers who need support around prepayment meters, or for people who are in vulnerable circumstances and may be unable to pay their bills.

You can find a summary of how prepayment suppliers are helping customers, along with helpful contact information on the MoneySavingExpert website. This page will be continually updated as more information becomes available.

Changes to the Taxicard scheme

London Councils are contacting members of the Taxicard scheme via text message or letters with changes to the Taxicard scheme.

The rules for the taxicard have been relaxed to 

  • allow Taxicard drivers to pick up and deliver essential supplies for you; and
  • allow friends and family to travel on your behalf using your Taxicard for the same purpose.

Find out more

Extra support available for people with direct payments

 We understand that during this period additional support may be needed for people with direct payments and/or a personal health budget. To make things easier, we have allowed additional flexibility for direct payment recipients to amend their support package if this is required and meets their needs.

Further information is available on our direct payments page.