MABS has advised the public to check their budget based on a reduced level of income and reprioritise expenditure in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The state funded money advice and budgeting service, which has an office in Waterford, issued some helpful advice to assist the readers of the Waterford News & Star.
A spokesperson said, “Take up the payment breaks being offered by the banks or utility companies. Contact MABS to get help with budgets and planning and for intervention on behalf of those who do not feel they can contact their bank or lender themselves.
“Even though we cannot meet people face to face right now, there is a lot that can be done during a telephone appointment or on email. And in the months ahead, as we return to normal, we will open up our offices and prioritise meetings with those who are in most in need – just as we always have.”
“Many people have been temporarily left go already, so the financial implications of Covid-19 are already huge. MABS staff know that a financial crisis is coming hand in hand with the Covid-19 crisis and they are prepared to assist and support clients in need,” the spokesperson said.
When asked if there has been an increase in people contacting MABS locally the spokesperson replied, “What we are already seeing is the impact of the sudden closure of businesses and the subsequent loss of jobs. At the moment, the increase in queries is a request for information and intervention with the banks. In the months to come it will be dealing with unpaid electricity bills, unpaid rent or mortgages, an inability to return to the levels of income people once had.”
MABS has the latest information about the Covid-19 protections agreed with the main banks and how to go about applying for these.
MABS has already steered the public through difficult times. In 2008, the country faced an unprecedented financial crisis and MABS offered intervention for people, in debt due to unemployment, facing repossession of their homes. This developed into the Abhaile scheme and the appointment of Dedicated Mortgage Arrears advisors in MABS working on behalf of clients in deep mortgage arrears, supporting them in the courts, and negotiating restructures and write downs.
MABS staff also became qualified Approved Intermediaries so that they could offer Debt Relief Notices through the Insolvency Service of Ireland to get unsecured debts written off for low income clients
If you have queries and concerns about financial difficulties, about falling into arrears with loans, mortgages or rent, make sure to contact your local MABS office on 0761 072050.