We aim to make our website as accessible as possible. However if you use a screen reader and require debt advice you may find it easier to phone us instead. Our phone number is 0 8 0 0 1 3 8 1 1 1 1. Freephone (including all mobiles).

We'll continue to update this page as the situation develops.

Click here for an accessibility friendly version of this page

Coronavirus and your finances

As coronavirus continues to spread, you may be worried about what could happen if you have take time off work, leaving you with less money coming in, but with debts and bills to pay.

Here, we'll keep you updated on the latest developments in the coronavirus outbreak, focusing on what you should do:

alert iconUPDATE: Government legislation re: bailiff home visits in England and Wales

From 23 August, bailiffs in England and Wales can resume visits to people's homes in order to collect goods towards debts owed.

If you've been contacted by a bailiff, and you're worried about a potential home visit from 23 August, please get in touch with us.

At present, home visits from sheriff officers in Scotland are on hold until further notice.

What should I do if I'm worried about debt and coronavirus?

If you're worried about the impact of the illness on your finances:

alert iconIf you’re worried about money, don’t wait to get help. Call us on 0800 138 1111 (Monday-Friday 8am-8pm, Saturday 8am-4pm) or use our debt advice tool 24/7.

What should I do about my finances if my health changes?

As with any change in your health, the quicker you review your finances and make changes if needed, the better. Here are just a few of the steps you can take:

  • Check your benefit entitlement as you may be able to claim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), Universal Credit (UC) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). Bear in mind that the the government has made changes to entitlement to these benefits in the current period, which could make it easier for your to claim
  • Get in touch with your council and make them aware of what’s happened. You may be entitled to council tax reduction/exemption or housing benefit. Local authorities are getting an extra £500m for vulnerable people, and it's anticipated that most of this will be spent on council tax support schemes
  • If you’re a homeowner, you may be entitled to secure a mortgage payment holiday from your lender, or switch to an interest-only mortgage for a set period
  • If you’ve got payment protection on your debts, check if you’re eligible to make a claim based on illness

I’ve been furloughed, what does this mean?

If you’ve been ‘furloughed’ it means you don’t have to attend work. You’re still on your employer’s payroll, however, and you may return to work when your furlough period ends. Many workers have been furloughed because their place of work has had to close.

You should continue to be paid when you’ve been furloughed. This is because the government has announced that employers can claim 80% of furloughed workers’ wages, you may be paid a reduced amount of your normal wage until at least the end of October 2020 (backdated to 1 March 2020).

Take a look at our furloughing guide to for more information about furloughing, your rights and if you could be made redundant.

If you’re not being paid at all during this period, you can claim Universal Credit. Read our guide to coronavirus, benefits and statutory sick pay.

Whether you’re being paid or not, if you’re worried about how your finances may be affected on a longer-term basis you can:

Money worries?

Find out how we can help you.

Get help now

I have an upcoming court hearing, should I still go?

HM Courts and Tribunal Services have confirmed that as long as you, or the people who are going to court with you, don't have confirmed or possible coronavirus, you should attend court as normal.

However, if you, or the people going to court with you do have confirmed or possible coronavirus, you should contact the court as soon as possible.

You can find more advice and guidance from HM Courts and Tribunal Services here.

I'm expecting a visit from a bailiff or sheriff officer. Will it still go ahead?

The government has now ordered that no further bailiff visits should take place in England or Wales while coronavirus lockdown restrictions are in place. However, bailiffs can still contact you by phone.

From 23 August, bailiffs will be able to recommence visits to people’s homes and to take control of goods for debts owed. 

In Scotland, the majority of sheriff officer firms have stopped home visits during the lockdown and are contacting people by letter or phone.

How will school closures affect my finances?

All schools are now closing to help stop the spread of coronavirus, and it's understandable that many parents are worried about how this will affect their finances.

You may have no choice but to take time off work to care for your children, reducing your income but increasing household bills.If you find yourself unable to afford food to feed your family, or other essentials, you can find information about emergency funding here.

The government is currently drawing up plans to help parents during this time.

What should I do about childcare?

  • Childcare for children of key workers - If you're a healthcare professional or a food delivery worker, you will still be able to send your children to school. However, if you have a partner who isn't a key worker, they will be expected to take on childcare responsibilities so you can still go to work
  • Childcare for vulnerable children - Schools will continue to care for vulnerable children who have a social worker, as well as children who are entitled to special needs support
  • Childcare for everyone else - Please don't ask grandparents to take care of your children so you can continue to work. Although this may seem like a good idea financially, people over the age of 60 are incredibly vulnerable to coronavirus and are strongly advised to self-isolate. Asking grandparents to help with childcare will put their health at high risk

    My child receives free school meals

    Schools are being encouraged to keep their kitchens open so they can continue to distribute free school meals. However, where this isn't possible the government is planning a voucher scheme to ensure that children who are entitled to free school meals don't go hungry.

What can I do to look after myself during the coronavirus outbreak?

Not knowing what's going to happen can be very stressful in any situation, so in times of uncertainty like this, it's natural that you might be feeling worried and anxious.

However, just because it's normal to feel this way, doesn't mean you shouldn't seek help or tell someone about it. We encourage you to get the help you need as soon as possible, whether it relates to your finances or any other part of your life.

  • I'm feeling anxious about coronavirus

    If you're feeling particularly stressed and anxious, there are a number of organisations to help. Why not get in touch with MIND or Samaritans for a chat?
  • I need urgent help with money and food

    A cash crisis could be caused by anything from delayed benefits to job loss that leaves you severely short of money that you need for essentials like food. If you find yourself in this situation help is available. If you're in a cash crisis situation and urgently need money for food or other essentials, you should first make a claim for available benefits, get payment holidays on whatever you can, and keep the rest of your money for food until your claim comes through.
  • Coronavirus has caused my life to change, what can I do?

    Changes happen all the time but by being prepared for these changes, you can sometimes lessen the impact they may have on your day-to-day life. However, some changes are just too unexpected to prepare for. They can happen quickly and through no fault of your own. If a loved one has died because of coronavirus and this has put you in financial difficulty,  help is available.

If I'm on a debt management plan (DMP), can I still request a mortgage holiday from my lender?

Being on a DMP won't affect your eligibility for a mortgage holiday, unless you have mortgage arrears (whether or not they're being paid through the plan). If you do have mortgage arrears, your lender may still be able to help you, but you should contact your lender as soon as possible to explain the situation. 

Money worries?

Find out how we can help you.

Get help now