Most people will feel the financial impact of COVID-19 and some of us will need help to get through these difficult times. You may have had to reduce your hours for child care or other caring responsibilities, your partner may have been furloughed or lost their job, or there may have been other changes that have affected your household income. So if you’re worried about money and paying bills it’s important to get advice quickly before it affects your health and wellbeing.
There are lots of sources of money advice to help you sort out your finances and make sure that you’re getting everything you’re entitled to. If you’re self-isolating or sick, for example, you need to know that you’re entitled to statutory sick pay or sick pay in line with your usual sickness policy. If you’re caring for a dependant in your household who has developed COVID-19, you are also entitled to SSP, and if you’ve lost your job you should be eligible for unemployment benefit. There may also be top up benefits that you’re entitled to.
A range of extra supports and measures have been put in place to help people with all of this. You’ll find more information here. You may also be able to access to financial support services through your workplace.
At the Money Advice Service website you’ll find information on help with finances, your rights to sick pay, and changes to claiming benefits. For help with planning how you spend your money, and how you can make sure that you have enough to buy what you need and pay your bills, you can access their budget planner here.
Debt advice organisations can offer specific support and guidance on dealing with debts, so here are links to some organisations that may be able to help:
Scotcash is a Scottish organisation which provides affordable credit without credit checks, using other ways to provide loans to people who might not get one from traditional financial organisations. It also provides financial support and guidance to help you make the most of your money. Applications can be made online or an appointment can be booked to talk to an adviser. Their website can be accessed here.
If you’re worrying about keeping up with mortgage payments, you should be entitled to a 3-month ‘mortgage holiday’, so try contacting your mortgage lender to discuss this. If you’re a tenant, you may be able to get support through the Scottish Welfare Fund, and for information about eviction or rent arrears you can try Shelter Scotland’s housing advice page.
If you’re a member of a trade union, they may be able to offer welfare advice on support, so please contact them to find out what help is available. For support and guidance on how to maximise your income and make the most of your money, you’ll find help from Money Saving Expert Limited and from Pension Wise.
For free, confidential advice on any money worries, from rent and redundancy to furlough, benefits and bills, you can also phone Citizens Advice Scotland on 0800 028 1456 or visit their website here.
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