Coronavirus money help – the pandemic and your personal finances
As the number of COVID-19 cases in the UK grow daily, the pandemic is having a major effect on our lives. Businesses are closing their doors, job security is dropping and the future looks uncertain. But there are still bills to be paid – which means that, when it comes to Coronavirus, money help is going to be near the top of our agendas.
We are still in the early days of the pandemic, and many new measures and support packages are sure to emerge in the coming days and weeks. But for the time being, we all need to know what coronavirus money help is out there – and how we can access it.
This post is round-up of helpful information about coronavirus and your personal finances. If you’re looking for business specific help, check out our post: Coronavirus business help – 8 things you need to know.
1. Mortgage holidays are available
If you are struggling to meet your repayments, mortgage holidays of up to 3 months are available. There will be a fast-track application system, but be aware that you are not guaranteed a payment holiday. If you are, the good news is that your credit rating won’t be damaged.
Unfortunately, mortgage holidays aren’t currently being offered to buy-to-let landlords. If you own rental property and are facing problems, contact your lender as soon as possible.
2. Coronavirus money help for tenants
There are no current plans to offer rental holidays for tenants, although the Prime Minister has said there will be legislation to prevent people being evicted because of the pandemic. Housing associations have confirmed that they won’t evict people affected by the virus who fall behind with their rent. Private tenants with money problems should talk to their landlord as soon as possible – you may be able to negotiate extra time to pay. Landlords who run into problems are advised to check the terms of their rent protection insurance. Landlords with tenants unable to pay their rents can now also apply to defer payment of their buy-to let mortgages for three months in the same way as residential mortgagors.
3. Credit card repayments
Some lenders are offering repayment holidays, allowing emergency credit limit increases or waiving missed payment fees. Check with your credit card provider(s) for help and information.
4. Sick pay for employees
If you have to ‘self-isolate’ because you or a member of your household is ill (or as a necessary precaution) you now qualify for Statutory Sick Pay from day one. You’ll need to earn at least an average of £118 per week to be eligible).
5. Benefits for self-employed or freelance workers
If you work for yourself and you get ill, you don’t get sick pay – but you can apply for employment support allowance of £73 per week.
6. Paying bills
When it comes to paying other bills, speak to your providers if you are having problems. There are currently no plans to reduce or waive council tax, for example, so speak to your local authority if you’re having difficulties. Similarly, speak direct to utility and broadband companies if you need to. On a positive note, many mobile phone and broadband providers are making the NHS website ‘zero rated’, meaning you can access it even if your phone or broadband payments are in arrears.
7. Saving money
If you need coronavirus money help, saving cash is going to be more important than ever. We’ll be passing on some of our top tips in an upcoming post.
8. Talk to us
If you’re a THP client and you’re looking for help with your business or finances during this difficult time, please get in touch. We’ll do all we can to advise you.