Support for residents

Updated: 18.09.20

We understand that this is an incredibly difficult time for all of our residents and communities. We are offering as much support as we can to all of our residents, communities and businesses within the resources we have available.

The Government have announced new restrictions for our residents in Darwen and some areas of Blackburn. You can read our FAQ here. Please continue to check the website for updates.

Financial support for those self-isolating

Blackburn with Darwen is part of a Government funded pilot to provide financial support to people who are self-isolating. This pilot is expected to last for up to three months.

To be eligible for the funding, individuals must meet the following criteria:

  1. to have received a notification from NHS Test and Trace asking them to self-isolate. This only includes isolation periods on or after 02 September 2020
  2. must have a vaild 8 digit Test and Trace reference number. This is provided by National or Local Test and Trace teams
  3. have agreed to comply with the notification from NHS Test and Trace and provided contact details to the local authority.
  4. be employed or self-employed. Employed people will be asked to show proof of employment. Self-employed will be required to show evidence of trading income and that their business delivers services which the local authority reasonably judges they are unable to carry out without social contact
  5. be unable to work from home (checks will be undertaken on all applicants) and will lose income a result
  6. be currently receiving Universal Credit, Job Seekers Allowance, Income Support, Employment Support Allowance, Pension credit, Housing Benefit, Working Tax Credit.

For those that qualify, a payment of £13 per day for the period of isolation, per person, will be made available to eligible individuals. This funding amount is set and funded by the Government. Payments will be provided within 48 hours of the eligible individual providing the necessary evidence. Individuals will be asked to provide a notification from NHS Test and Trace and a bank statement.

If you are unable to provide information we may check the NHS Test and Trace system to confirm that you have been asked to self-isolate. We will also put in place checks to prevent fraud and ensure compliance through welfare check-ins, phone calls and employment checks.

You can read the Government’s press release on this scheme.

You can read Blackburn with Darwen Council’s press release on this scheme.

Apply for financial support

Shielding

For residents who have been shielding; the restrictions are to be eased in the wards with national restrictions (to the South and West of Blackburn, Darwen and rural) from Monday 21 September. This is to give those who are shielding time to adjust and prepare.

Residents shielding in the restricted area (to the North East of Blackburn) are to continue shielding until Monday 5 October. You can check to see which ward you live in.

The Help Hub is still operating to support those who need it.

Council Tax

Your Council Tax pays for our essential services that are delivered to all residents in the borough, so it is really important that if your circumstances have not changed that you continue to pay what you should, by maintaining your direct debit payments or instalment plan, as detailed on your bill.

If you are struggling to pay your Council Tax, there is support available and the Council can help you if you have been affected:-

Make sure that you have claimed all of the benefits that you are entitled to. For working age families this is Universal Credit from the Department of Work and Pensions and Council Tax Support from the Council.

Apply for Council Tax support

If you are struggling to pay your council tax, contact us on 01254 585585.

We may be able to agree to a special payment plan so that the Council Tax due for 2020/21 is split over 9 months (from July 2020 to March 2021).

We can also look at your arrears so that we consider everything you owe to us and help you to avoid any extra costs or charges.

If you wish to discuss any of the above options, please contact us on 01254 585585, or you can use our online chat facility or our online enquiry form below.

Make a Council Tax enquiry

Housing Advice

If you need advice because you have nowhere to live or are at risk of becoming homeless, please complete the online enquiry form using a computer or smartphone. You can find further information about our homelessness advice and support.

If you need support to find rented accommodation, landlord advice and other support please check our website.

Shelter can also offer financial, welfare and housing advice.

Help Hub

Partners in the BwD Help Hub are working together to support local residents to move forward with their lives during the coronavirus crises. Please see the Help Hub pages for more information.

Other financial support

Please see the Council website for further information on council benefit claims.

Please see the Government website for further income support.

Find out more information on our debt and welfare advice page.

Protecting yourself against fraud and scams

Unfortunately, criminals are using COVID-19 to target people online and in person with different types of fraud and scams. Lancashire Police are reminding people to be vigilant and suspicious of cold callers (in person and on the telephone) as the scams can appear realistic.

Please use the advice below to protect yourself and your family:

Stop

  • Take a moment to stop and think before handing over money or sharing personal information online.

Challenge

  • It is okay to say no. Only criminals and fraudsters will rush you to make a decision. If in doubt, call the company to confirm that the visit is official.
  • Official organisations will never ask you for online money transfers, cash or passwords.

Protect

  • Call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or the Police on 101.
  • Contact your bank immediately if you think you have been the victim of a scam.

Lancashire Police have identified many scams recently which include men claiming to disinfect/spray houses in Blackburn, people selling fake COVID-19 tests online, appeals for fake charities and offers for fake medical support. Further information is available on the Lancashire Police website

Please share this information with vulnerable friends or family and those who are not on social media.