The following information can be used as part of the Scottish Government’s campaign around accessing financial support during Covid-19. Local CAB are also able to advise and support people if they need further information or help, you can find your local CAB at here
Has Coronavirus had an impact on your finances?
The current situation has impacted a lot of people financially. Coronavirus has had a devastating impact globally and it’s no different in Scotland. Jobs have been lost, many people’s wages have gone down, childcare is limited and there is even more pressure on those who were already struggling to make ends meet.
The Scottish Government is working together with Citizen’s Advice Scotland to help you understand what help is available if you find you’re struggling to pay your bills. This includes things like your rent, mortgage, energy, council tax as well as benefits you may be entitled to.
In light of coronavirus most mortgage providers are offering mortgage holidays for up to three months. Due to demand and the effect coronavirus has had on the workforce most providers are asking you to apply online for a payment holiday where possible.
If you rent you should speak to your landlord to find out if they can be flexible with your payments during this time. The Scottish Government has asked landlords to be flexible and not to evict people who are struggling financially because of coronavirus.
There are a number of benefits that you may be entitled to if your income has been reduced as a result of coronavirus. The Entitledto benefit calculator is a useful resource for finding out what benefits might be available to you.
You should contact the DWP to find out if you are eligible for any benefits. You don’t have to attend any face to face appointments to lodge a new claim, you can apply online or by phone. A phone interview will follow for new claims. The phone lines will be busy during this time but please be patient and stay on the line to ensure you find out what you are entitled to.
Once you are in receipt of a qualifying DWP benefit you may be able to get payments from Social Security Scotland – they currently offer support to people expecting babies, those with young children, and carers among others.
Speak to your local council about support available to you in your area. You may be able to apply for housing benefit or a council tax reduction or payment flexibility.
You might be able to get a crisis grant from the Scottish Welfare Fund, managed by your local council. This fund pays out money to people in an emergency who have no other way of paying for what they need, such as food, gas or electricity - find out how to apply here.
Energy and other utility bills
If you are struggling to pay bills like your energy and utility bills you should phone your supplier to find out what support can be offered.
You can also call Home Energy Scotland – funded by Scottish government – on 0808 808 2282 for free impartial advice and support to save money and heat your home.
Energy suppliers are offering help to those who may struggle to pay bills as a result of the coronavirus pandemic; and Ofcom, the broadband regulator has told firms not to disconnect people who can’t pay. All providers say anyone who’s struggling to pay should contact them as soon as possible to discuss their options.
In addition to this, you should contact any service you subscribe to or have a membership for - many will be willing to pause your payments at this time. Sky Sports for example are now letting you pause your subscription by visiting the Pause Sky Sports page.
If you’re self-employed and need financial help
You may be eligible for support from the UK government's Self-employment Income Support Scheme - check if you're eligible.
If you are struggling to buy necessities check if you can receive money to help you buy food by looking into what benefits and council support is available to you - your council may be able to help by providing vouchers for food.
If you are struggling to pay other bills you should phone and explain your situation. Each financial institution is offering slightly different support so it’s best to contact your provider to find out if your loan or credit card or any finance deals can be reduced during this time.
Due to the impact of Coronavirus the BBC has delayed the planned changes to the free over 75 TV Licence. This means your current free licence will cover you until 31 July 2020.
Please be aware that there is high demand for many of these services at the moment. Going online may be the fastest way to get the information and support you need. If phoning is the only option be prepared to wait and check if there is a Freephone option.
We know these are difficult times and that you may want to follow up on applications by phoning but lots of calls can impact on services ability to process applications.
For free, confidential support call 0800 028 1456 or go to cas.org.uk/bureaux