The current COVID-19 crisis is creating massive changes across Australia and many people are confused about financial help during the coronavirus crisis. Many Australians are worried about their finances, particularly when managing household or business debt, paying mortgages and coping with rent. There is financial help on a number of levels, designed to ease the burden of financial stress. Many banks and non-bank lenders have stepped up to assist Aussies to get through this health and financial crisis.
Dealing With Credit Card Debt
Balance Transfer Card
One option for people concerned about paying off credit cards during these challenging times is to move the debt across to a balance transfer credit card. These cards typically have an interest free period of up to 26 months. With less interest, cards may be paid off faster and/or lower repayments.
Debt Consolidation Loan For Credit Card Debt
When a balance transfer credit card is unavailable do to poor credit history, there are other options such as a debt consolidation personal loan. These loans can range from $1,000 to $100,000 and some may be without needing security, such as property, although having security means you are more likely to qualify.
Negotiating the Terms of Your Credit Card Contract
If a debt consolidation loan is not the right option for you, then you can look at applying for financial hardship, and look into debt negotiation. It is important that you don’t bury your head in the sand, and apply before things get really serious, as financial institutions do make allowances, now more than ever. Many people are intimidated by creditors and need help with this, which is where Just Budget can help. We can liaise with your credit provider, the goal being to make payments smaller or reduce the overall debt, so the repayments become manageable for you.
Financial Hardship and Energy Providers
Energy providers understand that many customers had been hit hard financially by the COVID19 / coronavirus crisis and have put in place policies to help customers during this time. Most providers already have hardship policies, but these will obviously have to be increased. For example, customers who are finding it hard to pay their bills on time can request a payment extension online, and many have put a hold on suspended disconnections for customers for not paying bills.
Access to Superannuation
While super is your retirement savings and dipping into is not ideal, if you are experiencing extreme financial hardship, for those affected by the coronavirus, you can access up to $10K of your super to get you through these tough times. It is not a decision you should take lightly however, as it has serious financial consequences for your future.
Government Financial Hel During the Coronavirus Crisis
$1.3b in support payments to keep apprentices in work
The Government will offer up to $7,000 per apprentice per quarter to keep them in work. The measure will support around 70,000 small businesses.
Employees who have lost their job or had hours reduced as a result of coronavirus may be eligible for the government’s fortnightly JobKeeper payment of $1,500, paid through their employer.
Low-income earners one-off payment
Thos on benefits and concession cardholders received a payment of $750. This will come into effect from 31 March 2020 and will be added to your regular welfare payment.
Businesses can defer tax obligations
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has announced relief offering to those hit hard by the crisis, on a case-by-case basis. Contact the ATO on 1800 806 218 to discuss your situation if you have been affected adversely.
Government Guaranteed Loans for Small Business
The government has announced that they are also guaranteeing unsecured small business loans up to $250,000 if they need financial help during coronavirus crisis. This is being offered by many of Australia’s major banks, including NAB and Bankwest. No repayments will be required for six months. The unsecured loans are 50 per cent guaranteed by the Federal Government and no interest will be charged unless the money is actually used. Reach out to your financial institution to see what the options are.
Small Businesses Can Access Cash Payments up to $100,000
As part of the “Boosting Cash Flow for Employers” measure, these payments will be applied for a limited number of activity statement lodgments. The ATO should deliver the payment as a credit to your business when you lodge your activity statements.
Lastly, for additional financial help during coronavirus, the Australian Government has doubled the Jobseeker allowance to $550 per week, for the period of the crisis, for those people on Job Seeker, Youth Allowance or Parenting Payment to make life more affordable during this time. You’ll need to check your eligibility to see if you qualify.
In order to survive financially, it is important that you track your spending and income using one of many effective budgeting tools. We have listed a few of the best budget tools and apps here. This will help you see if you need help and make it easier if and when you apply for loans or balance transfer cards.
We Can Help
If you need debt relief and don’t know where to start, get in touch with our compassionate team, so we can help you plan your next steps and get you through this. We are all in this together.