Coronavirus information and advice
What does this mean for you as a tenant?
If we are short staffed, we won’t be able to provide a full service. If this happens, we’ll keep you updated through our website (this page), social media accounts and on our telephone answering service 0330 303 0089.
If you, or someone in your household, is unwell with symptoms and are self-isolating
Please let us know immediately by calling 0330 303 0089. We’ll put a temporary note on our system to make sure staff and contractors don’t visit you during this period. We need to reduce the risk to staff and contractors whenever possible.
If staff arrive at your household unaware you, or a family member, is unwell with symptoms and are self-isolating
If we don’t know about your situation and arrive at your property to find you, or any members of your family, have the virus or are self-isolating, we won’t come into your home. We’ll also put a temporary note on our system to make sure staff and contractors don’t visit you during this period. Please let us know when you (and all other people who live in your property) are clear of symptoms.
Response times for our enquiries, complaints and customer services teams will be slower as we focus on emergency contacts.
- Housing team
Our housing officers are offering a telephone service for urgent enquiries but visits will only be carried out if an emergency occurs. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0330 303 0089.
- Money and benefit advice
The team will continue to provide benefit, money and debt advice, through a limited phone service. Please email email@example.com or call 0330 303 0089.
- Housing allocations
Our allocations team has a limited service at this time. We are still letting properties but are prioritising urgent cases to assist in preventing homelessness.
- Housing repairs
Our teams will be carrying out emergency and urgent repairs only. If you have an emergency repair, please click here for more information on how to report this.
- Paying your rent
You should continue to pay your rent as normal.
We understand some tenants may have their income reduced as a result of this situation.
If this is the case, please make sure you contact your housing officer as soon as possible.
You may also wish to check the new Citizens Advice Scotland guide.
If you need to make a payment and are able to make it online please refer to the Tenant section of our website or call 0330 303 0089.
- MyHorizon app
Download the MyHorizon app by following the instructions on www.horizonhousing.org/resource-library/latest-news/day-or-night-manage-your-tenancy-at-a-touch/.
- General enquiries
FAQs for claiming benefits during the COVID-19 outbreak
Please note: This guidance is primarily for Horizon tenants and only Horizon tenants can access our internal advice services.
- I work full time and my employer has advised me to self-isolate for 14 days. Am I entitled to claim any benefits?
Your employer should pay Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from the first day you were advised to self-isolate. SSP is £94.25 per week. If you are not entitled to SSP and or need help with rent costs you may be able to claim Universal Credit. Entitlement will depend on your household income. There is currently no need to provide medical evidence or attend a work capability assessment. If you do get an appointment to attend a Job Centre contact them immediately to explain your situation to avoid a sanction.
- I have lost my job/been laid of temporarily with no income. Can I claim anything?
You should make a claim for Universal Credit. Claims can be made at www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit. You can access the claim form online, on your local authority website or by telephoning them. If you do not have access to a computer or iPad, please call Universal Credit on 0800 328 5644. You may also be able to claim for a reduction in your council tax.
- How do I make a claim to Universal Credit (UC)?
Claims can be made at www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit. You will need to create a user name, password and answer two security questions. You will then be sent a code by email which you need to enter in the appropriate box which will then allow you to complete your claim.
You must provide details of your rent and services charge amounts separately on the claim to confirm your total monthly rent charge. Please contact your Housing Officer if you are unsure how much these are.
Couples need to make individual claims to Universal Credit therefore both need to have email addresses and create passwords and security questions. Although the claims are made individually, they must be made at the same time and the claims are joined for entitlement purposes.
If you are self-isolating or are infected with Coronavirus, please let DWP know so your ID can be verified without the need to attend the Job Centre. If you do get an appointment to attend a Job Centre contact them immediately to explain your situation to avoid your claim being closed. If you are unable to complete an online claim, please contact Universal Credit on 0800 328 5644.
The Citizens Advice Bureau’s “Help to Claim” service can support you in the early stages of your Universal Credit claim, from the application, through to your first payment. Their National helpline number is 0800 023 2581.
- When will I receive my first Universal Credit payment?
One month plus one week from the date of claim. e.g. for a claim made to Universal Credit 18 March, the first payment will be made 24 April. Any subsequent payments should be paid on the 24th of each month.
- I have no money to keep me going until I get a payment from Universal Credit. What do I do?
You can claim an advance from Universal Credit. This must be paid back at an agreed amount. You may also be able to claim for a Scottish Welfare Fund crisis grant from your Local Authority. This is usually payable in the form of food and utility vouchers.
If you require a food parcel you can contact your local foodbank. If you need advice or help with this please contact Horizon on 0330 303 0089.
- Will I need to attend the Job Centre if I am self- isolating for any claims I make to benefits?
Currently, anyone self-isolating or infected with Coronavirus, will not be required to attend the Job Centre for the initial interview with the Job Coach and ID interview. The work search and work availability requirements for Universal Credit will be temporarily switched off also.
Please contact Universal Credit on 0800 328 5644 and make them aware you are self-isolating, failing to do this may result in your claim not being processed or if you have an ongoing claim, prevent a sanction.
- I am self-employed and due to current situation have no work or I am having to self- isolate, what can I claim?
Claim Universal Credit at www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit, or by calling 0800 328 5644. Currently, Universal Credit has suspended the minimum floor income (an assumed level of income) applied for a period of time. Alternatively, you can make a claim to Employment and Support Allowance Contribution at www.gov.uk/employment-support-allowance or call 0800 328 5644 or Jobseekers Allowance Contribution online at www.gov.uk/jobseekers-allowance/how-to-claim or call 0800 055 6688.
The 7 waiting days for Employment and Support Allowance for new claimants suffering from coronavirus or required to self-isolate will not apply, so it will be payable from day one.
- I work a zero hour contract. If I self-isolate will I get SSP?
People on zero-hour contracts may be eligible for SSP. It will depend on how many hours you have worked regularly, and the income received, but in the first instance contact your employer directly to find out if you are entitled.
- I am on partial housing benefit due to my earnings, but my income has reduced/stopped. How do I make up the difference to pay my rent?
Contact your local authority benefit team and advise them of your change in circumstances. If you are unable to do this, your local authority should have a change of circumstances online form which you can complete. Your entitlement to housing benefit will then be amended to reflect your change in income.
If your income reduces, your entitlement to housing benefit will usually increase.
- I am currently on Universal Credit and my income has reduced/stopped. How will Universal Credit know?
Let Universal Credit know by putting a note on your online journal, detailing how and when your circumstances changed, and your Universal Credit award should be adjusted accordingly.
You can ask for a further advance until your Universal Credit is adjusted but remember any advances will be recovered by deductions from your ongoing Universal Credit award.
- I am in receipt of Personal Independence Payment or Employment and Support Allowance and I completed a review form recently. Will I be called in for a face to face medical assessment?
The Department for Work and Pensions has taken the precautionary decision to temporarily suspend all face-to-face assessments for health and disability-related benefits.
This is aimed at reducing the risk of exposure to coronavirus and safeguarding the health of individuals claiming health and disability benefits, many of whom are likely to be at greater risk due to their pre-existing health conditions.
If you already have an assessment appointment arranged, you do not need to attend. Your assessment provider will contact you to discuss your appointment and explain the next steps to you.
- I feel like my situation is critical, I have no one to assist and I don’t know where to turn for help.
Contact Horizon on 0330 303 0089 and ask to speak to your Housing Officer. They will discuss your situation and provide you with any necessary advice or available assistance, and where appropriate, refer you to our Tenancy Sustainment Team.