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COVID-19 Financial Advice

UPDATED: 18 June 2020

 

Useful resources for those facing financial difficulties as a result of the COVID-19 crisis

 

GENERAL

 

Citizens Advice Scotland has an online guide for the public with lots of useful information and links to further information.

 

MoneySavingExpert offers a comprehensive guide on a range of financial topics related to Coronavirus. In particular there is information on the policies of specific financial providers such as mortgage providers, banks, and utility companies.

 

The Money Advice Service has a guide, particularly useful for those facing changes to employment and self-employment

 

UK Government Advice and Guidance on Coronavirus and Scottish Government Advice and Guidance on Coronavirus includes information relating to financial matters.

 

Money Advice Scotland provides advice on key topics with a focus on debt & financial hardship

 

EMERGENCY HELP WITH FOOD OR ESSENTIALS

 

For urgent help with essentials or in an emergency, you can apply to your local council for a crisis grant. You can also see here for information about foodbanks.

 

Ready Scotland provides more information on additional support to obtain essentials. In a crisis, you can also contact your local council social care team.

 

If you are facing financial difficulty you can also contact our team for advice

 

PRACTICAL ISSUES ACCESSING MONEY OR PAYING BILLS

 

Banks are offering support to vulnerable customers including setting up dedicated helplines, cash delivery services, and enabling trusted third parties to have limited access to their account. This Which article outlines what each bank is doing to help older and vulnerable people and NHS workers.

 

Utility companies are offering support to prepayment customers where they are having difficulty topping up their meter due to Coronavirus. Click here for more info.

 

If you need further information about any practical money issues you may be facing, then please get in touch with the team

 

CLAIMING BENEFITS

 

It’s worth checking Government Information on Coronavirus and claiming benefits.

 

Disability Benefit Face2Face Assessments and Job Centre appointments are now suspended for a 3-month period. Assessments will be progressed using paper-based and telephone assessments. More information.

 

Disability benefit awards under review and due to end are being extended, and return dates for PIP forms have been extended to 3 months. However seek advice if you have not received confirmation of this. See UK government update and ASKCPAG for further details.

 

Benefit Appeals and other Tribunals will be conducted with the face-to-face hearing replaced by telephone conference calls. More information

 

Social Security Scotland have extended claim deadlines for devolved benefits such as the Funeral Support Payment and the Young Carer Grant.

 

People who claim Carers Allowance are to receive a one-off  doubling of the usual 6 monthly supplement from the Scottish Government. They will be paid £460.20 from 26th June, an increase of £230.10 Find out more.

 

EMPLOYERS/EMPLOYEES

 

To protect jobs, the government will pay up to 80% of employee’s wages up to a maximum of £2500 monthly. This is available for any employee who has been ‘furloughed’ as a result of Coronavirus, ie not doing any work but kept on payroll. This scheme has been extended to October, with employers required to contribute more from August. See Guidance for Employees

  

 ACAS guide for Employers & Employees affected by Coronavirus

 

Business Gateway guidance for business owners affected by Coronavirus

 

Scottish Government and UK Government advice for businesses affected by Coronavirus.

 

Statutory Sick Pay available from Day 1 of sickness absence from work or self-isolation due to Coronavirus

 

The need for Fit Notes has been suspended. Find out more about Disability Rights and Understanding Universal Credit.

 

Self-Employed Income Protection Scheme: the government will pay a grant to self-employment individual’s worth up to 80% of their profits worth up to £2500 per month. Average profits from the last three years’ tax returns will be used to determine entitlement, The scheme has been extended, with a second payment to be made in August. More information.

 

Looking for more information? Click here  for the full range of support measures for businesses in Scotland.

 

HOUSING

 

Shelter Scotland Housing Advice for those affected by Coronavirus:

 

Key housing protections have been put in place, including:

 

  • The Scottish Government has announced that it will stop all new evictions from private and social landlords for up to 6 months. Housing Associations have already agreed that no housing association tenant will be evicted as a result of hardship due to COVID-19.
  • Mortgage lenders have agreed to provide 3-month payment holidays where needed to customers struggling due to the Coronavirus crisis. The scheme has been extended to October, and customers will need to contact their lender to discuss their circumstances. Lenders have also agreed that there will be no new repossession claims during this period. More information.

We advise anyone experiencing difficulty paying their rent or mortgage to seek advice about their individual situation.

 

DEBT

 

If you are worried about paying your mortgage on time, please to speak to your mortgage provider. Some are offering 3-month payment breaks while others are offering a lower interest to help. More information

 

Many banks are being helpful with loan repayments. More information at Moneysavingexpert and Rightsnet.

 

Overdrafts are being amended with some banks offering £500 interest-free overdrafts on request. Find out more at Moneysavingexpert.

 

Anyone paying benefit overpayments directly from their benefits will see an increase in the amount they receive as this is temporarily suspended. See Government announcement and Rightsnet. Third Party deductions for instance for council tax or rent will however continue, as will Advance Payment deductions.

 

Most importantly, whoever the debt is with, if you are concerned about missing payments please speak to your lender. Most companies are being reasonable in this situation.

 

STUDENTS

 

The Scottish Government has announced a series of support measures for students, most recently announcing Summer Support.

 

WE’RE HERE TO HELP

 

We provide 1-2-1 advice about how to manage your household finances during this difficult time. To speak to an officer from the Financial Wellbeing Service, please click here for contact details.