Are you worried about money? You’re not alone.
January is always the toughest month of the year and this time around, the usual post-Christmas pressures are compounded by COVID-19.
UNISON is able to support members with several different forms of financial assistance, ranging from specific COVID-19 grants to debt advice and support on writing off debts, benefits advice and winter fuel grants.
COVID-19 response fund
Have you or your partner had your hours reduced or lost your job as a result of coronavirus? Have you been furloughed? Are you having to rely on statutory sick pay during isolation, shielding or COVID-related sickness?
Grants of up to £500 are available to help members struggling financially due to the pandemic. An anonymous member who received a £500 grant just before December said: “It couldn’t have come at a better time. I’ve had such a bad week: me, my mum and my Dad have all had COVID-19 and it’s been a scary time as my Dad is in the vulnerable category.
“Thankfully, he was strong and pushed through it, and we are now all on the mend. This grant meant so much for my family.”
If you’re struggling under the weight of debts, including mortgage payment holidays, UNISON’s Debtline service is available to help you manage money and stay in control of your debt. UNISON’s Debtline can help you access a debt relief order, individual voluntary agreement or bankruptcy.
UNISON’s Debtline service is available free to all members to help. Simply call UNISON Debtline on freephone 0800 389 3302. You’ll have an initial chat with one of our trained advisors to get a true reflection of your circumstances.
UNISON member Jackie Dolphin has used Debtline’s services. She said: “After 18 months of worrying, I now feel like a huge weight has been lifted.”
She described how she felt conflicted about reaching out for support. “It’s pride. You think ‘no, I can’t’, and then you’ve got to admit that you’ve got into debt, that you’ve made errors. It’s facing up to the fact that that’s what’s happened. Once you’ve faced it, that’s the way forward.”
UNISON has built a benefits calculator to help you find out what benefits you can claim.
If your finances have been affected by coronavirus – for example, if your or your partner’s income has changed or you need to self-isolate – you may be entitled to benefits.
Winter fuel grants
If you’re worried about the cost of turning the heating on this winter, our winter fuel grants scheme will be launched on 25 January.
Grants of up to £200 will be available – a huge increase on the usual cap of £40.
Members on low incomes who are financially struggling will be eligible to apply. We welcome applications from members whose income has been affected by COVID-19.