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Financial Wellbeing and the Coronavirus

*Updated 5th May 2020*

In these strange times, many people have questions about their finances, so we’re coordinating some helpful resource.

Coronavirus Financial Help

Our Just Finance Black Country team have been working with ciolleagues at Capital Mass to create content and Zoom workshops to support people experiening financial crisis in these times.

Download their latest briefing - Coronavirus: Helping people at a time of financial crisis

The Just Finance Foundation have produced a Coronavirus Help Hub

This covers key areas such as mortgage payments, budgeting and Universal Credit

Debt Advice Locator Tool

The Money Advice Service Debt Advice Locator Tool lists organisations that provide free help to people and hold an accredited quality standard:

The Money and Pensions Service also have helpful advice:

· https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/coronavirus-and-your-money

· https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/coronavirus-what-it-means-for-you

Supporting financial wellbeing during the Covid-19 outbreak

Many people in the UK face uncertainty as the coronavirus situation further develops, not least when it comes to their financial wellbeing.

Throughout this period, our focus will remain on delivering for our customers and helping everyone make the most of their money and pensions.

The Money and Pensions Service have published guidance in English and Welsh on how to deal with financial effects that you, your employees and service users may be suffering from.

Our guides include topics such as:

Check out the latest changes and advice at 2

Changes in claiming benefits

The coronavirus has led to changes in claiming benefits. This new DWP website gives all the latest changes.

*Please check this page regularly for updates.*

Information for people already on Universal Credit

DWP are keen for all their customers to know the following:

  • Please can Universal Credit customers make contact via journal messages
  • If you need to call, try to use the phone registered to your Universal Credit account. This will make sure you are directed to the correct place. If you have changed your number, please update it on your journal
  • The Job Centre are phoning people this may come up as a private or withheld number, but it is important to answer these

Support for self employed people

The Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) whose income has been negatively impacted by COVID-19. The scheme will provide a grant to self-employed individuals or partnerships, worth 80% of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month.

Other good sites

Citizen’s Advice - Coronavirus - what it means for you

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/health/coronavirus-what-it-means-for-you/

Money Advice Service – Coronavirus and Your Money https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/coronavirus-and-your-money

Money Saving Expert - Coronavirus Financial Help & Rights: Sick pay, mortgages, rental help, energy top-ups, cancelled events & more

https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/news/2020/03/uk-coronavirus-help-and-your-rights/

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Photo by Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis on Unsplash

Information for Business

Many business owners are worried and scared right now, so Business Cost Saver have been in touch to share put a detailed guide they have put together detailing all the different forms of support available. It can be found at: https://businesscostsaver.co.uk/coronavirus-government-assistance/

WOLVERHAMPTON

Covid-19 Benefits Helpline for people living in Wolverhampton and people who work for the City of Wolverhampton Councilwho have been affected financially by the Covid-19 outbreak. The helpline is open Monday to Friday between 10.00 am to 12.00 noon and 2.00 pm to 4.00 pm. People may contact it by email:wrs.covid19@wolverhampton.gov.ukor telephone 07966 292321.

Please note that the Covid-19 Benefits Helpline will be closed for the Easter bank holiday weekend between Friday, 10th April 2020 and Monday, 13th April 2020 inclusive.

Citizens Advice Wolverhampton

Citizens Advice Wolverhampton is now operating most services online and via telephone.

Offices are closed for drop in surgeries. You can get advice from these sources.

For DEBT

Text: 07850 209529 with your name and we will call you back.

Or Email: debtadvice@wolverhamptoncitizensadvice.com

For general non urgent advice enquiries Adviceline: 03444111444

WCCU

Update from Wolverhampton City Credit Union:

"The Worcester Street branch is closed to the public.

For the foreseeable future, the Credit Union will close its Worcester Street branch to the public. They aim to make special arrangements for the small number of vulnerable members who do not have access to bank accounts or cash. Their advice to all members is, stay safe, stay at home.

The following information was circulated to members by Wolverhampton City Credit Union:

Postal loan applications

If you really cannot bank online, you can request a printed loan application form the credit union by emailing contactus@wccul.co.uk If you have a printer at home, you can also download it from our website. Alternatively, if you live in the WV10 area of the city, you can pick up a loan application form from Low Hill Community Centre on weekdays between 9.30am and 1.00pm.

Along with the completed form, you will also need to provide your last three months’ bank statements, your last three months’ payslips (if you’re working) or Benefit letters if you’re receiving Benefits.

You should post all this to us to: Wolverhampton City Credit Union 73 Worcester Street, Wolverhampton, WV2 4LE. Or email all the attachments to contactus@wccul.co.uk

Important: we will not start to process loan applications unless you have supplied all the information we require. Also, please, please allow for delays: we’re experiencing heavy demands for loans right now.

Top ups

We fully understand that members may be experiencing pressure on their income and that a top-up loan might be the answer. If you’re in this position, just make a loan application no matter when you had your last top up. We will take into account your individual circumstances and make sure you can afford to repay the loan. Please note, we’re introducing this change in order to be as flexible as possible at this difficult time. But, there are no guarantees your application will be successful.

Save time, bank online

If you have a PIN, please use it to bank online or via the mobile banking app. You can check your balance and transfer funds without having to visit or telephone the branch. You can also apply for a loan online.

Register for online banking

If you don’t have a PIN, please register for online banking as soon as possible. When you have received and activated your PIN, you can check your balance and transfer funds without having to visit or telephone the branch. You can also apply for a loan online. Please expect delays in getting your PIN.

Learn how to bank online

We’ve tried to make banking online or via the mobile banking app quite easy. If you need a bit of help to get started, we’ve produced some tutorials on YouTube. Check them out here.

Pop-up credit union shops are now closed at The Big Venture Centre, The Scotlands, Low Hill Community Centre and Stratton Street Community Centre

We are no longer offering a pop-up credit union service from these centres in WV10 for the foreseeable future.

Queries

If you have a query you should email us at contactus@wccul.co.uk. We have a member of staff dedicated to picking up and investigating your queries. For the time being, we will NOT be answering queries via Facebook Messenger and will be directing you to put your query to us via email. Remember, you can get answers to many of your queries by visiting our website at www.wccul.co.uk.”

Banner photo credit: Webaroo on Unsplash

SANDWELL

Centrepoint Christian Church Support Centre will continue to operate online during this Emergency Period.

Many will be in need of professional help with welfare benefits, Universal Credit applications, housing, residential permission to stay applications etc during this Emergency Period.

As many of you know Centrepoint Christian Church is part of the Sandwell Advice Providers Network and, like CAB and others, provide professional services covered by indemnity insurance and monitored by Sandwell Council Welfare Rights department.

Those requiring support can contact us by the following methods.

Online Appointments can be by

Phone:- 0121 318 4363

Email:- dannyk@centrepointchristianchurch.co.uk

Skype: - Centrepoint Support

Web:- www.CentrepointChristianChurch.com

Service available: -

Tuesday 10.00 ‘til 16.00

Wednesday 10.00 ‘til 12.00

Thursday 10.00 ‘til 16.00

Phone has answer phone facilities so just leave a contact phone number, email, name and nature of the Enquiry and we will get back to the Enquirer asap.

LICHFIELD

Council tax hardship relief for 1,630 households

Lichfield District Council will be using the majority of its hardship fund to provide residents, who are of working age and already receive council tax support, with up to £150 off their council tax bills over the 2020 to 2021 financial year.

It will apply this reduction automatically and will be sending a new council tax bill to the 1,630 households that are eligible for the extra help, as of 1 April 2020.

In addition to the hardship fund, local households on a low income may be eligible for a reduction in the council tax they pay through the council’s existing council tax reduction scheme.

Households that are not eligible for support, can also consider a number of options, including spreading their payments or delaying them to the end of the financial tax year.

To find out more information, visit www.lichfielddc.gov.uk/hardshipfund.

Claim Child Benefit by phone or post

HMRC is reminding new parents that they will still be able to claim Child Benefit despite the outbreak of coronavirus.

Even though General Register Offices remain closed for now, parents can still claim Child Benefit without having to register their child’s birth first to ensure that they do not miss out.

Find out more

South Staffs Water’s Assure Assist

The Assure tariff can help customers who are on a low income or struggling to pay their water charges; it aims to reduce water poverty and make our bills more affordable.

Support towards funeral expenses

Financial support helping families meet the costs of funeral expenses such as coffins and funeral directors’ fees has increased from £700 to £1,000.

The change, announced in November 2019, came into effect on 8 April 2020. It means that the maximum amount families can claim for these type of costs will rise by 43 per cent.

This payment is on top of existing allowances that pay for other funeral costs, such as burial or cremation fees.

Information around eligibility and how to apply can be found GOV.UK.

Coronavirus Financial Help Resources updated 12 05 20

Coronavirus-Financial-Help-Resources-updated-12.05.20.pdf (3.574 MB)