Coronavirus and Your Money
To help you understand these changes we've put together a list of questions and answers that our helpline has been asked and where you can get further information
Age Scotland's helpline
The Age Scotland helpline is a free, confidential phone service for older people, their carers and families in Scotland. Our team provide information, friendship and advice. Our helpline is free to call and available Monday - Friday 9-5pm. Call us today on 0800 12 44 222.
Money Questions and Answers
I can’t get my money from the Post Office
If you need someone to go to the Post Office for you and you have a Post Office Card Account (POCA) – you can ask for a second card with a separate PIN number to allow one other person to be your Permanent Agent and withdraw money from your account. You can get a form from your local Post Office or call the helpline on 03457 22 33 44.
I can’t get my money from the bank
If you contact your bank they may allow you to set up a third party mandate to allow someone else to collect money on your behalf or set up a joint account where you both have cards for the account and separate PIN numbers.
If you need to contact your bank, you can email them but many have also set up phone lines for older people which are listed here
If you can’t get to your bank, the Post Office has two schemes which could help:
Post Office ‘Fast PACE’ – if your bank, building society or credit union is part of the scheme they can permit a friend, family member or volunteer to cash at cheque for you at the post office.To set this up contact your bank and say you want to use the Fast Track Cheque Encashment service. Your bank will let the Post Office know the maximum that can be withdrawn, you write a cheque as normal payable to ‘The Post Office’, write the name on the back of the cheque of the person collecting it for you and sign the back of the cheque too. They will need to prove their identity when they collect the money for you.
Post Office ‘Payout Now’ voucher service – if your your bank, building society or credit union is part of the scheme they can send a barcode voucher by text, email or post which can be exchanged for cash in any Post Office branch. The voucher can be issued to someone else to be able to collect the cash. Contact your bank to see if they are part of the scheme.
All my budget has changed what can I do?
If your income has dropped and your spending has changed you should look at your budget. Have a look at our Money Matters guide or use the Money Advice Service online budgeting planner here
I can't repay my overdraft
Although the deadline has passed for requesting a 3-month interest-free overdraft of £500, some banks are continuing to offer this.
Even if they are not, speak to your lender about what help is available if you are struggling to repay an overdraft due to coronavirus.
The help could include reducing or waiving overdraft interest for a period of time, reducing the overdraft limit gradually, or moving the overdraft debt to a different product such as a personal loan.
I can’t pay my mortgage or rent
I can’t pay my credit card or loan
If you are struggling to make your credit card or loan repayments, talk to your lender about the support they can offer you. This could include a period of reduced payments, or changing to a different lending product that suits you better.
If you can afford to make some of your repayments, you should do this even if it's a smaller amount that you usually pay. Don't cancel or reduce your payments without speaking to your lender first.
Some types of support may mean you pay more overall, or could affect your credit rating. Make sure you fully understand any new agreement you are entering into.
Visit the Financial Conduct Authority website for more information about help with credit card or loan repayments.
I'm worried about my debts
If changes to your budget mean you can’t pay your way just now, and it also looks like you may struggle in future it is a good idea to get advice about your debts. There are charities and services that can give you good, free, independent advice and many of them are seeing people who were managing before coronavirus changed things.
You can get advice from
- Advice for Scotland https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/scotland/debt-and-money/
- Stepchange debt charity https://www.stepchange.org/
- Money Advice Scotland https://www.moneyadvicescotland.org.uk/
- Business debtline https://www.businessdebtline.org/S/Pages/default.aspx
I can’t pay my council tax
I need to access my savings quickly
If your savings are tied up in an account where you need to give notice to access them, ask your bank or building society if they can let you have access to your money early without penalty.
What about my work or private pension?
You can find information about coronavirus and your pension here.
Beware of pension scams; you do not want to risk your life savings. You can find warnings about pension scams here.
I have a Motability car which I can’t use at the moment; can I get a refund of any of the costs?
You can apply to access your GCB (Good Condition Bonus) of £600 early if you are experiencing temporary financial difficulty due to the Coronavirus pandemic. You can click here to request a call back about this. You can also contact them by telephone on 0300 020 5050.
I receive Personal Independence Payment enhanced mobility component; can I get a Motability car?
You are eligible to join the Motability scheme if you have at least 12 months remaining on your award. Visit the Motability website to find a vehicle that is suitable for you and to find your closest dealership, or call them on 0300 456 4566. Their customer service team may be busier than usual due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
My Motability car lease is due to end soon; what should I do?
The Motability scheme website says: "if you haven’t placed a new order, or you don’t return your car on the date your lease is due to end, we will automatically extend your lease for six months, even if you have already had a lease extension due to the COVID situation. You will also automatically receive a Certificate of Motor Insurance or a temporary cover note from RSA Motability (RSAM) covering this six-month period. You can place a new order, or return your car, at any point during this six-month lease extension".
How can I avoid being caught out by a scam during the pandemic?
Unfortunately, while lots of people are offering their help and support, some are taking advantage of everything that’s going on. If someone you don’t know offers help, you don’t have to accept it if you think it might not be genuine. If someone claims to be from a recognised organisation, don’t be afraid to ask for proof and never hand over money to someone you don’t know.
I’m struggling to pay my gas/electricity bill; can I get any help?
The government have introduced emergency measures to help people who are struggling with their gas or electricity bills, or can’t get out to top up their pre-payment meter.
Speak to your energy provider, who may be able to assist by reviewing your monthly payments, agreeing a short payment break or giving you longer to pay.
The government and the energy industry have agreed that no pre-payment meters will be disconnected during the outbreak. If you can’t get out to top up as usual, contact your energy provider to discuss alternative ways of keeping your meter topped up.
If you haven’t looked your energy bills and the energy efficiency of your home for a while contact Home Energy Scotland for advice and ideas for saving energy in lockdown. Click here to go to their website
Do I need to tell my home insurance provider that I am working from home?
The Association of British Insurers says home insurance with its members (over 200, including most well-known and specialist insurance providers) will not be affected if you are an office-based worker and need to work from home due to government advice. You do not need to contact your insurer to update your cover.
If your insurance provider is not a member of the Association of British Insurers, check with them directly to see if you need to change your cover while working from home.
What about my tax?
If you are confused about your income tax you can get independent information from Tax Help for Older People here https://taxvol.org.uk.
If you are struggling to pay a tax bill you should contact HMRC – you can call their Coronavirus helpline 0800 0159 559 or see the gov.uk website here.
If you have to work at home on a regular basis, for all or part of the week, you may be able to claim tax relief on your additional household costs such as extra heating. Click here for more information about tax relief for home working.
Can I claim anything for the extra electricity I’m using while working at home?
You may be able to claim tax relief of up to £6 per week to cover your costs if you have to work from home on a regular basis. You can only claim for additional costs such as extra electricity or business phone calls, not rent or broadband that are also for private use. You will not need to keep any records. Click here for more information or to check if you can claim.
Who else can help?
You can call Age Scotland's helpline on 0800 12 44 222. The below organisations also have useful information and advice on their websites.