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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.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.
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.
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.
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
- Check whether you are entitled to universal credit on the government's website, and if so make an online claim.
- You should also claim council tax reduction from the council using this link.
- 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.