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Loss of income due to coronavirus – now what?

Loss of income due to coronavirus – now what?

By: Nicole Gardner | April 21, 2020

If you’ve lost all or part of your income due to coronavirus, you’re not alone in wondering what to do next. Don’t worry, there are plenty of ways to get support, save money, and keep your home and family safe!

Claim government benefits

The UK government has several benefits for people who are dealing with a loss of income due to coronavirus. Check the UK government website to see if you’re eligible.

Use an approved calculator to find out what you’re entitled to.

If your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit doesn’t cover your rent, apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment from your council. After 20 June 2020, you might be able to apply for a no-interest Budgeting Loan.

Reduce your expenses

Cut back your spending

If you’ve lost your income due to coronavirus, maybe make a budget and reduce your spending. 

There are plenty of free alternatives to paid subscriptions and memberships. Do you really need a gym membership at the moment? Can you survive without Netflix or Sky until things settle down? The article 4 ways to stay sane without travel during Covid-19 has heaps of subscription-free ways to stay entertained for free during lockdown.

Bills are unavoidable. To save money on electricity, turn the heating down, turn lights and appliances off, and fix draughts. The Simple Energy Advice website has information about how to reduce your energy bills and apply for grants to help pay them.

By creating a food budget for your family and checking out these tips for how to feed your family during the coronavirus pandemic, you may be able to cut down your food spending without going hungry.

As you stay close to home, your petrol bill will drop instantly. Once lockdown is over, use public transport, cycle or walk rather than driving. Keep your fuel bills low, stay healthy and help the environment too!

Talk to your creditors

Millions of people are dealing with loss of income due to coronavirus. Everyone knows it, and most organisations are willing to help.

If you talk to your bank, you can arrange a mortgage holiday, negotiate a lower mortgage interest rate, change to a lower-fee account, negotiate a higher overdraft, or even change banks to take advantage of the bonuses. There are pros and cons to all of these, so do your research.

Your electricity or gas provider may be able to give you a temporary payment break or reduce your bills and repayments for a while. Disconnections of pre-payment meters are suspended, but try to keep your meter topped up – it will stand you in good stead. You may be able to save money by switching providers. Ofgem has independent advice for how to find a better deal.

On the same note, check if Boost Your Broadband can find you a better broadband deal. It can’t hurt to look!

A new law protects renters from eviction for 90 days. Talk with your landlord and get an agreement in writing. The law requires at least 90 days’ notice for evictions, and all court proceedings for eviction are on hold until at least 25 June. Find more information at Shelter UK.

Reduce your tax

If you pay council tax, have a low income, receive benefits, and have less than £16,000 in savings, you can apply for a council tax reduction here.

If you’re married and one person earns more than the other, contact contact HM Revenue and Customs or get tax help. You may be able to reduce tax contributions by transferring a portion of the lower earner’s personal allowance to the higher earner, or taking advantage of other tax benefits. It never hurts to ask, especially if you’ve lost income due to coronavirus!

Find community support and advice

Citizens Advice UK and National Debtline offer free advice. Work out what assistance you’re eligible for, and find charities to help with rent, manage your debts or help you with budgeting. Check with the Trussell Trust to find a food bank and access food parcels or vouchers in your area.

Look after your mental health

It’s normal to be stressed and anxious when dealing with loss of income, whether it’s due to coronavirus or some other reason. Your mental health is as important as your finances. The NHS Every Mind Matters website can help you look after your mental health while you deal with the turmoil of the coronavirus crisis. The help is there, so use it!