The fallout of COVID-19 has thrown many of us into difficult financial waters. Suddenly being made redundant or having your income severely affected can be overwhelmingly stressful. Fortunately, there are a number of options available to help you weather through this tricky time.
Listed below are resources available dependent on your particular circumstance. Some of these aids can be stacked on top of each other so make sure to use the full range of resources available to you.
If you are made redundant due to COVID-19 or are on a reduced income due to the closure of your employer – whether permanently or temporarily – you may be eligible for universal credit.
The standard payments of universal credit have risen due to the coronavirus, and now range from £342.72 to £594.04 per month, subject to personal circumstances. This is often supplemented with additional elements for housing costs, childcare costs and so on.
For more information on what could be available to you, see: https://www.gov.uk/how-to-claim-universal-credit
If you are self-employed and your means of income has been affected by social distancing measures you can apply for a grant from the Self-employment Income Support scheme that covers 80% of your average monthly profits up to the amount of £2,500. This will come into effect in June 2020.
If you are too unwell to work because of COVID-19 or have been advised to self-isolate, you will be able to obtain an ‘isolation note’ from NHS 111 online by completing an online form – no need to visit your GP.
You may also be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) – £94.25 per week - which is paid by your employer for up to 28 weeks. Some companies also offer contractual sick pay, so make sure to check with your employer.
For more information on SSP, and to apply, see: https://www.gov.uk/statutory-sick-pay
The government has also promised mortgage holidays of 3 months and an eviction ban for at least 3 months for both homeowners and renters.
If you are a landlord yourself you may also be eligible for these holidays if your tenants are experiencing financial difficulties.
Aside from government mandated assistance's, you may also be able to come to an agreement with your landlord or lender on a set payment holiday. You will, however, eventually have to pay back those missed payments either in the form of slightly increased monthly payments or a short extension to your term. You should be able to discuss these in advance with your lender or landlord.
Utility providers are offering similar flexibility in payments, so make sure to stay updated with their offers available.
If the impact of COVID-19 has caused you to struggle to pay back personal loans or credit card bills you may be able to negotiate a payment holiday or reduced rates.
Lenders have been urged by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to be flexible in their support for consumers. So, many major lenders have made statements offering exceptional leniency. You should stay updated with your lender’s policy should it change and get in direct contact with them to discuss payment flexibility – which they should record in such a way that will not impact your credit score.
All the ordinary elements of financial savvy apply including smart budgeting and tapping into existing savings – of which a financial planning app like Wagebox may be of use.
Remember, millions of Brits are in the same boat when it comes to financial struggles during this exceptional time, so don’t hesitate to claim the support owed to you. We are all in this together, together we shall overcome this.