Draft information for consumers: dealing with financial difficulties during coronavirus

This page accompanies our updated draft guidance for firms on mortgages and coronavirus. It contains draft information for consumers on dealing with financial difficulties during the coronavirus pandemic. 

If you have taken a full or partial payment deferral to help you cope with the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, or if the pandemic has affected your income, find out what you can do to help get back on track.

If you’re concerned about managing your money during coronavirus, there are some steps you can take to help.

Find out more about:

  • understanding your financial situation 
  • steps you can take to manage your situation 
  • organisations that offer free help and advice 

Understanding your financial situation

If you would find taking any of the steps difficult, a debt adviser can help. See below for organisations you can contact for help.

  • If you are able to, you should work out how much your payments are and whether you have fallen behind on any of the payments you’ve agreed to make. To do this, you will need to make a list of all the organisations you make payments to.
  • If you are coming to the end of a period of partial or full deferred payments, make sure you know what happens next. Consider contacting the organisations you make payments to, if you haven’t already agreed a way forward with them.
  • Understand which of your debts are priority debts. Some debts will be more urgent than others, because the consequences of not paying them can be more serious than for other debts. These priority debts may include your:
    • mortgage or rent
    • council tax/ rates
    • gas or electricity arrears

For more on this, see the Money Advice Service ‘How to prioritise your debts’ page.

Once you have prioritised your debts, you can work out a budget to understand how much money you will have available going forward to pay your commitments. You might wish to use a tool such as the Money Advice Service online budget planner or a tool provided by a debt adviser.

Steps you can take to manage your situation

If you are worried about being able to make future payments, it’s important that you contact the organisations you make payments to and let them know.

They may be able to talk to you about options for changing how or when you pay.

If you can’t contact them by phone, consider writing to them or sending an email if you can.

  • For more information on managing your money during and after the coronavirus pandemic, see the Money Advice Service page Coronavirus and your money or contact the Money Advice Service for help (see below for contact details).
  • If you find it hard to keep up with payments, or if you are already having trouble managing your debts, you should seek free help and advice. Your rights and options depend on the type of agreement you have, and the law can be complex. However, you can get free independent help and advice from a number of organisations – see below for details.

Organisations that offer help and advice

You can contact a number of organisations for free, confidential and impartial debt advice.

Money Advice Service: For free, easy-to-use money tools, information and advice, visit www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk. You can also phone 0800 138 7777 to speak to a money expert, use typetalk at 18001 0800 915 4622, or add +44 7701 342744 to your WhatsApp to send a message.

Money Advice Scotland: If you live in Scotland, visit www.moneyadvicescotland.org.uk where you can use webchat to speak to an adviser, or email [email protected]

Citizens Advice: For advice and information on debt and other topics, contact your local Citizens Advice or go to www.citizensadvice.org.uk.

Citizens Advice Scotland: For advice and information on debt and other topics, contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau, go to www.cas.org.uk, or call the Helpline on 0800 028 1456.

Advice NI: If you live in Northern Ireland, phone 0800 028 1881, email [email protected] or visit www.adviceni.net

Citizens Advice Wales: If you live in Wales, visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk/wales, or you can call Advicelink on 03444 77 20 20 if you want to speak to someone about your debts. Calls cost the same as calls to landline numbers.

AdviceUK: Member centres offer debt advice including specialist advice for minority communities and people with disabilities. Visit www.adviceuk.org.uk

Christians Against Poverty (CAP): For free debt advice. Check post code coverage at www.capuk.org then call 0800 328 0006.

National Debtline: If you live in England, Wales or Scotland phone 0808 808 4000 or visit www.nationaldebtline.org for debt advice and information.

StepChange Debt Charity: For free debt advice throughout the UK phone 0800 138 1111 or visit www.stepchange.org.

Business Debtline: If you are self-employed or a small business owner, phone 0800 197 6026 or visit www.businessdebtline.org for debt advice and information.

Other useful organisations

Civil Legal Advice

You may get legal aid if your home is at risk. Check at www.gov.uk/civil-legal-advice or phone 0845 345 4345.

Financial Ombudsman Service

If you have a complaint that you can’t resolve with your lender, the Financial Ombudsman Service may be able to help – phone 0300 123 9123 or 0800 023 4567 or visit www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk.