National Debtline

Advice you can trust

Coronavirus and your money


Coronavirus and your money

The latest information on help that is available in Scotland.

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Loss of income because of coronavirus?

If you are at risk of being made redundant, see if your employer can keep you on as a furloughed worker. This means your employer can keep you on their payroll rather than being laid off.

Check if you are able to claim benefits. Depending on your exact situation you may be able to claim Statutory Sick pay, Employment and Support Allowance and/or Universal Credit.   

Try and access other forms of help if you are struggling, types of help available include:

  • food banks if you are unable to buy food at the moment;     
  • charitable grants to help you pay emergency bills or buy essential items; and
  • council assistance support schemes. These may help you buy essential items, pay important bills or buy food. Ask your local council about the help they may provide.
​Our coronavirus fact sheet has more information on the help that is available if you have lost your income.
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Can't pay your bills because of coronavirus?


Help with Council Tax

If your income has reduced or you are now claiming benefits, consider applying for Council Tax Support . You may get help to pay some or all of your council tax bill.

If you already get Council Tax Support and are of working age, you may see your council tax bill for 2020-2021 reduce by a further £150.

  • You do not need to have been directly affected by coronavirus to be eligible.
  • You do not need to apply to the council for this extra reduction. Councils already have details of households that get help through the Council Tax Reduction scheme and should contact you directly.

Help with energy bills

Energy providers have agreed that the disconnection of credit meters will be completely suspended . Also, if you are self-isolating and unable to top up your pre-payment meter, you can:

  • nominate a third party for credit top ups;
  • have a discretionary fund added to your credit; or
  • have a pre-loaded top up card sent so that your supply is not interrupted.
If you are struggling to manage repayments to your energy provider contact them to see what help they can provide. New guidance means that your debt repayments and bill payments ​could be reassessed, reduced or paused where necessary.

 

Help with your TV licence

TV Licensing have taken steps to help if you are struggling to pay your TV licence:

  •  If you are unable to keep up with payments, call them on 0300 555 0300 to see how they can help
  • All arrears letters have stopped being sent to people who have fallen behind on payments. Collection visits by officers have also been stopped.
  • ​If you are in financial hardship and urgently need to stop your Direct Debit payments, call them on 0300 790 6068. If you are unable to get through, cancel the Direct Debit with your bank. You will need to make up any payments that you miss later on.​​

 Our coronavirus fact sheet has more information on the help that is available if you have are struggling to pay your bills.

Can't pay your mortgage? 


If you are affected by coronavirus and struggling to pay your mortgage: 

  • Ask your mortgage lender for a three month payment holiday. This means you won’t have to make any payments for three months, but interest will still build up as normal. You have until 31 October 2020 to request one. Contact your lender about how to ask for a holiday.
  • If you have already had a payment holiday and need further help, your lender may offer a further three-month payment holiday.​
  • Mortgage lenders have announced that no repossession action will be taken until 31 October 2020.​
  • From March 2020 all new and existing possession proceedings will be suspended for at least 90 days.  

Can't pay your rent? 

The Government has introduced new temporary laws to protect tenants. From 26 March 2020 until 30 September 2020, landlords must give at least three months' notice before they can start court action to evict you.  

The Housing and Property Chamber ​ has postponed all scheduled hearings, they are due to restart from 28 May 2020. This means if a decision to evict you has not already been made, you can't be evicted from your property before this date.

The Scottish Government has announced that if you are unable to pay your rent because of a delay or failure in the payment of welfare benefits protection from eviction will be increased from three to six months.

Can't pay your debts? 

Contact your lender if you have been affected by coronavirus, they should agree a three month freeze on your loans and credit card payments.
 
If your lender agrees to a payment freeze, this will not affect your credit file. However your lender will continue to charge interest during the payment freeze.
 
If you have an overdraft you can ask for up to £500 to be interest free for three months.
 

If you have debts which are now unaffordable contact us for advice. Whilst you are waiting to receive the advice you need you can send the creditors a letter asking them to hold action on your acc​ount​ due to coronavirus​.  

We are open and ready to help you


 

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