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FAQs – Coronavirus and BVT services

This information is correct as of 14/01/2021. We will update this information as regularly and quickly as we can.

1: If I have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, should I tell you?

Yes, if you are reporting a repair then we will need to know so that we are able to ensure the safety and welfare of our staff and prevent the spread of infection.  There is further information about reporting repairs below. We are cancelling all other non-essential face-to-face meetings with you and looking at different ways of holding these meetings.

2: I have been told to self-isolate, should I tell you?

Yes. In the event that you have been told to self-isolate we want to prevent the spread of any infection but also ensure that you are not put at risk from any visits from our staff.

3: I have been affected by the coronavirus and am worried about my benefits, what should I do?

The government is advising that if you are already claiming Universal Credit and think you may have been affected by coronavirus, to contact your work coach as soon as possible. You can do this by using your online journal or calling the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644 .

They also advise that if you can’t attend a jobcentre appointment because you need to self-isolate, don’t worry. Tell them as soon as possible to avoid a sanction. Contact your work coach via your online journal or by phone to explain your situation.

If you are in work and already claiming Universal Credit, and are self-isolating, you should report this in the usual way via your online journal. If this means you are working fewer hours, the amount of Universal Credit you receive will adjust as your earnings change. Jobcentre Plus staff are ready to support you if you need to self-isolate.

4: I need to make a new claim for Universal Credit, what should I do?

The government is advising not to delay making your Universal Credit claim, even if you think you may be affected by coronavirus. You can apply for Universal Credit online at www.gov.uk/universal-credit. If you need to make an appointment, call the number you are given when you submit your claim, and explain the situation. Jobcentre Plus staff are ready to support you if you need to self-isolate.

5: What should I do if I’m self-employed and not working?

HMRC have set up a helpline specifically for the self-employed and businesses who will be struggling due to the impact of coronavirus, where you can receive help and guidance on your tax and benefits. The coronavirus helpline is: 0300 456 3565/ www.gov.uk/business-support-helpline

6: How can I check what benefit support I may be entitled to?

To check your benefit entitlement, you can use the Benefit Calculator on our website.
7: Is there any help available to small businesses?

The government has set out a package of measures to support businesses through this period. Please visit the government’s website www.gov.uk and search for support for businesses. The government has also launched a business support finder tool to see what support is available for you and your business.

If you are commercial tenant with us and are experiencing difficulty in paying your rent, please contact us as soon as possible in the usual way. For details of additional local support provided by local authorities, go to www.birmingham.gov.uk or www.telford.gov.uk

8: I’m an elderly / vulnerable customer and am worried about the situation.

To help protect the most vulnerable and support those in need in the communities we work in, we are providing services in direct response to coronavirus. We are also working with community partners to support the great work that they are doing in the areas that you live. You can read more about this and the specific services in your area on our Well Winter page. Statutory services such as Adult Social Care are also available to provide support and guidance at all times.

9: What happens if I need a repair completing to my property or I have a gas / electric service booked?

We have made some changes to our repairs service following the continuing rise in Covid cases in our areas. We have temporarily paused routine repairs to minimise non-essential contact and keep you and our staff as safe as we can.

To understand more about the changes to our repairs service, please go to our  Repairs Service and Coronavirus page.

Our repairs operatives will always wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for the repair that they are carrying out to keep you and them as safe as possible.

We are asking you to tell us if you are self-isolating or exhibiting symptoms of coronavirus when you book a repair with us. Before we visit your home to carry out a repair, an operative will also call you to ask these questions.

If you are self-isolating we may still be able to attend, but we will ask you or anyone else in your home to keep away from the room or area we are working in (at least 2 meters) whilst the repair is being carried out.

10: Are you going to freeze rents?

We understand there are lots of concerns about the impact of coronavirus, in particular financial worries and the uncertainty that this brings. Currently, there are no plans to freeze rents. We want to work with customers affected to maintain, where they can, their current payments to prevent further challenges in the longer term. If you are struggling with your rent, please continue to contact your rent officer or our financial inclusion officer for support as you would normally.

We continue to support customers on a case-by-case basis to access financial help if needed through our income teams and provide benefit advice to ensure you are receiving everything you are entitled to. You can get further advice at www.gov.uk/universal-credit 

11: Is there any help available from energy suppliers?

To find out what help is available from your energy supplier, including support for prepayment customers and those customers in vulnerable circumstances, please follow this link: www.moneysavingexpert.com

12: I am experiencing lots of noise nuisance / loud music during the day, can you stop the noise?

We are living very differently to usual right now and although you may hear sounds that you’re not used to, like music, children playing, grass cutting, DIY, this is not necessarily ASB. It’s therefore important that we are more patient and understanding at the moment. Your neighbour may also not be aware of the impact of their actions. In the first instance, we would advise that you have a calm and rational conversation with your neighbour – keeping your social distance – to explain how their nuisance is disturbing you. If you really can’t do this, then please contact us. We are also launching an app for residents who may be experiencing noise nuisance. Called the Noise App, it helps you record sounds which can be sent straight to us through your smartphone. This will help us to investigate and determine the level of noise nuisance you are experiencing. You should continue to report cases of noise nuisance to us, where necessary, and we will direct you to the app if this is the right service for you.

13: I am being or have been affected by domestic abuse, am I able to get any legal help to protect me at the moment?

There are local groups that may be able to support you, but you can also talk to us and we can connect you to them. We’re also able to link you to a service which specialises in injunctions which will advise you of the legal action you can take. They can provide immediate legal action to ensure the safety of you and your family. In the majority of cases this will be at little or no financial cost, dependent on your financial circumstances. The courts are still operating and it is important that you’re able to get the support you need.  If you’re at risk of an immediate threat of violence, please call 999.

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