'Pandemic has created a debt time-bomb' says advice service
- Credit: PA
The pandemic is creating a debt time-bomb and we are concerned about the impact it is having on people's mental health. The sooner people start to obtain help with the money worries they have, the better it will be for their financial health and their mental health.
You’ve already taken a great first step by asking for help, and it’s important to know you don’t need to face this alone. You can contact your nearest Citizens Advice for help.
In the meantime here are four steps you can take to get started:
1. Work out how much you owe - Make a list of whom you owe money to and add up how much you need to pay each month. If you don’t have your most recent statements, contact your creditor to find out what you owe. Some creditors will have special arrangements for people with Covid-related arrears.
2. Prioritise your debts - Your rent or mortgage, energy and Council Tax are called priority debts as there can be serious consequences if you don’t pay them. Separate these and work out how much you owe. Again, you can ask the companies or council what support might be available during the pandemic.
3. Work out how much you can pay - Create a budget by adding up your essential living costs, such as food and housing, and taking these away from your income. The Citizens Advice budgeting tool can help. Any money you have spare can be put towards your debts, starting with the priority debts first.
If you have any money left after paying priority debts, but not enough to make your usual payments on other debts, consider getting advice on the best way for you to start getting on top of them. Or contact your creditors and offer them what you can afford to pay.
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4. If you can’t pay your debts - If you’ve got little or no money spare to pay your priority debts seek advice from Citizens Advice straight away. If you’re struggling to pay for basics like food, seek help immediately to see what support might be available to you. If you can’t pay off other debts, such as credit cards and loans, it would also
INFO: Freephone adviceline number - 0808 278 7807 or visit the website.