Renfrewshire Council

Financial support during coronavirus

We understand that the coronavirus outbreak is increasing the financial hardship faced by many, and people may be concerned about their ability to cover costs, make payments and pay bills, including Council Tax or rent payments.

We're doing all we can to mitigate the impact and put additional support in place. Your patience and understanding is so important in helping us to do this.

The Scottish and UK Governments have announced new measures to support people's incomes. We ask again for your patience and understanding as we work to implement these new measures.

On this page:

I'm struggling to pay my bills/mortgage. Where can I get advice?

It's important to get the right advice as soon as you know you will struggle to pay your bills or your mortgage.

You should speak to your bank, energy supplier, our Council Tax team and any other organisation you are due to pay. Most organisations have ways to support you to change how you pay your bills or mortgage right now. 

You can get free, impartial and confidential advice from these services.

Advice Works

Our Advice Works service is a free and confidential service where trained advisers give money and debt advice.

You can call them on 0300 300 1238 or email for support.

Advice Renfrewshire

Advice Renfrewshire is a website that provides free, confidential, impartial advice on a range of issues that you may be facing.

If you can't find the advice you're looking for, you can call them free on 0808 1642922.

Renfrewshire Citizen's Advice Bureau

Renfrewshire Citizens Advice Bureau is a local, independent charity that provides free, impartial and confidential advice and information that will give you the tools you need to sort out any issues or problems.

You can call them on 0141 889 2121.

Self-isolation support grant

A £500 grant is available for those in low paid employment or self-employment who are in receipt of low income benefits and will lose income as a result of having to self-isolate to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). The grant is also available to people who have responsibility for a child, or are a carer for someone, who is having to self-isolate.

The grant will provide people with the financial support they need to comply with the Test & Protect Service's requirement to self-isolate during the 10 day period in which they are unable to work.

To be eligible for this grant you must meet all of the following criteria:

  • have been told to self-isolate at the request of NHS Test & Protect, on or after 28 September 2020; or are applying on behalf of a child under 16 who has been told to self-isolate by NHS Test & Protect
  • be employed or self-employed
  • be unable to work from home and will lose income as a result
  • be in receipt of a qualifying benefit, eg. council tax, or have a low income
  • be aged 16 or over.
  • have responsibility for a child, or be the carer of someone who has been asked to self-isolate

You can apply for a self-isolation grant on MyAccount.

You will be asked to provide:

  • 'Test & Protect' details such as the date you started self-isolating and any reference numbers you have been given
  • personal details such as name, date of birth, address, and contact details
  • proof of employment such as a recent payslip (if you are not self-employed)
  • proof of trading income (if you are self-employed)
  • proof that your business is affected by self-isolation (if you are self-employed)
  • bank account (or building society) details for receiving the payment.

Should I be claiming benefits?

If you are no longer being paid by your employer, you have lost your job and you don't qualify for any of the self employed support, you should apply for all the benefits that you are entitled to, such as:

Universal Credit if you are on a low income or out of work

Crisis Grants from Scottish Welfare Fund

Best Start Grants from Social Security Scotland

You should also apply for Council Tax Reduction and Housing Benefit if you are eligible. 

Can I reduce my Council Tax?

Council Tax Reduction is awarded to people on a low income to help with the cost of their bill. You can apply whether you own or rent your home.

You can apply for Council Tax Reduction online. 

Can I apply for Housing Benefit?

You can apply online for Housing Benefit to help with your rent.

Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP)

If you need help to pay your housing costs, you may qualify for help from a council fund called Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP).

These are extra payments made to help with housing costs like some or all of a rent shortfall over a few weeks or a new tenancy rent deposit

You can apply online for a Discretionary Housing payment or report a change in circumstance through MyAccount.

If you have any queries relating to Discretionary Housing Payment, please email our Benefits team

Note that Discretionary Housing Payments for under occupancy are added to a Housing Benefit claim automatically.

I don't have any money for food. What should I do?

You can apply for Universal Credit or a Crisis Grant from the Scottish Welfare Fund.

If you have children, you can apply for a Best Start Foods payment from Social Security Scotland.

Renfrewshire Foodbank can also help you with food if you are in crisis.

Can I get help with school meals and school uniforms?

The deadline to apply for a clothing grant has now passed but you can still apply for free school meals.

What should I do about energy bills? 

You can find advice on reducing your energy bills from the Energy Saving Scotland Advice Centre. You can call them on 0808 808 2282.We also have a directory of energy advice on our website. 

I need to pay for a funeral but can't afford it. Where can I get help?

Firstly, we're so sorry to hear that you've suffered a bereavement. The restrictions on attending funerals make this an incredible difficult time for you and your loved ones.

The Council runs a Respectful Funeral Service that can help you during this difficult time.

You can also apply for a Funeral Support Payment from Social Security Scotland.

You can read more information on this webpage: Death and bereavement support

Where to find additional support

Money and debt advice

Help and support