Advice experts in Wiltshire say they have seen an influx of calls and emails for help with accessing financial support in the light of the coronavirus outbreak
Published: Thursday 2 April 2020
Citizens Advice Wiltshire is currently closed to face to face enquiries, but advisers are still helping people by phone and email.
Managers say they are dealing with a large number of queries from people whose employment has been affected by the coronavirus crisis.
Suzanne Wigmore, CEO of Citizens Advice Wiltshire, said:
“The biggest area of enquiries we are getting at the moment are work-related.
“We are getting about three times the number of calls we normally would from people concerned about their employment status and how this affects their income.
“Some are saying they have been furloughed, or laid off, or made redundant and they’re not sure what financial help they can get.
“People are very concerned, understandably. Many will never have found themselves in a situation like this before, like having to apply for benefits.
“A lot of what we are doing is explaining to people how this affects their personal circumstances, whether they qualify for certain support, what the process is and, particularly in the cases of those needing to make a claim for, how to apply.
“Our staff and volunteers are working hard to deliver advice services from their own homes, and have been fantastic in adapting to this new way of working, virtually overnight. I’d like to say a massive thank you to them.
“For more than 80 years Citizens Advice has been here to help people in difficult times and we will continue to be here to give people the knowledge and confidence they need now.
“Unfortunately, we have taken the decision to suspend face-to-face services for the foreseeable future to support the government’s latest guidelines.
“We’ll continue to offer advice over the telephone on our Adviceline, and by email through our local website. People looking for advice can also chat to an advisor online at the Citizens Advice website.”
There are a number of ways people can continue to get advice during this time:
- General advice will be given via our Adviceline which people can reach by calling 03444 111 444. This is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.
- People can contact us through our local website for advice by email
- People can find frequently updated advice on a range of issues related to the Coronavirus outbreak at citizensadvice.org.uk/coronavirus
- People looking for advice on consumer issues (e.g. issues related to products or services you've purchased) can contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133 or chat online to an advisor on the Citizens Advice website
- Anyone seeking to make a new claim for Universal Credit should call the Universal Credit Help to Claim line on 0800 144 8 444.
Waiting times for these services may be slightly longer than usual as we adapt to our new patterns of working.