Managing financial worries during the Covid-19 Crisis
Citizens Advice have put together lots of useful information for people who may be worried about their financial situation as a result of the Covid-19 crisis. You can find out more by clicking on the link below.
Debts and Bills
This also includes specific advice if you are concerned about not being able to pay bills.
The Citizens Advice Consumer Service
Citizens Advice run a consumer helpline that gives free, impartial advice to people who are worried about their energy costs and staying warm during winter. They may be experiencing high demand at this time.
Check GOV.UK to find out about:
Contacting utility Companies and grants to help pay off your energy debts
If you’re in debt to your energy supplier, you might be able to get a grant from a charitable trust to help pay it off.
The following energy companies offer grants and schemes that are open to anyone – you don’t have to be a customer:
There are also companies who offer grants specifically for their customers:
When you apply for a grant, you’ll have to provide detailed information about your financial situation in your application. It could take a while to complete, and it might be worth getting help applying.
Before you apply
Charitable trusts like you to show that you have received debt advice before you apply. Debt advice can help you manage your debts and increase your chances of making a successful application.
Extra help from your supplier
You might be able to get extra help and support from your energy supplier by signing up to the Priority Services Register. You can sign up if you’re a pensioner, disabled or sick, or if your energy network considers you ‘vulnerable’.
They would be able to help you with things like:
- reading your energy meter
- moving your energy meter free of charge
- getting your bills sent or copied to someone else, eg a carer
You can use the Simple Energy Advice calculator to find out how you can improve your energy efficiency, and see schemes run by your local council.
Winter Fuel Payment
The Winter Fuel Payment is an annual one-off payment to help you pay for heating during the winter.
You can usually get a Winter Fuel Payment if you were born on or before 5 April 1954.
Find how much you can get, and how to claim on GOV.UK.
DWP and benefits
This page (link below) provides information for you, if you are claiming benefits or considering claiming benefits during the COVID-19 Pandemic. You should continue to check this page as it will be updated frequently.
Appointments at Jobs and Benefits offices- From Monday 16 March, all appointments at Jobs & Benefits offices are postponed. Nobody will have to visit Jobs & Benefits offices at any stage of making a new claim, except in exceptional circumstances.
Job Seekers Allowance – If you are due to sign-on you are excused from signing.
Benefit Payments- If you are already receiving benefits, you will continue to receive payments. Payments will still be processed as usual. You will not be penalised as a result of a postponed appointment.
How the Department for Communities will get in touch – If you are claiming benefits a Work Coach will communicate with you via your on-line journal, by phone and will reschedule appointments for a later date.
Universal Credit-New claims to Universal Credit can still be made on-line with additional telephone support available via the Universal Credit Service Centre if you need help with a new claim.
Discretionary Support- If you are claiming Discretionary Support you will not need to visit a Jobs & Benefits office as part of that claim.
Make the Call- With immediate effect, all routine appointments for the Make the Call Service, compliance and benefit review interviews will cease and face to face appointments and assessments for the delivery of provision under work and wellbeing, including the Access to Work Programme and Steps 2 Success will also be temporarily suspended.
Access to Work- The Access to Work Programme is suspended.
Personal Independence Payment- All Personal Independence Payment (PIP) appointments at assessment centres have been postponed. To claim PIP contact the PIP Centre
Employment and Support Allowance- All Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) appointments at assessment centres have been postponed. To claim ESA contact the ESA Centre
You can also get information about benefits from Citizens Advice
Banks and loans
Most banks and lenders have put arrangements in place and are asking customers to contact them if they need assistance and they will try to support you. This includes mortgage and loan breaks (personal loans and car finance) of up to 3 months. Lenders are asking customers who are worried to contact them directly but to bear in mind services may be in high demand.