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What financial support is there for flood victims?

With the UK experiencing some of the worst floods in living history, and many people homeless and struggling to come to terms with the devastation, there is the added worry of the financial consequences. And although practically there may not be much people can do about their flooded properties at present, there are ways to ease the financial burden.

Image © BBC

Image © BBC

Financial authorities have suggested several ways of making it through this period. The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) advised that your first point of contact should be with your insurers: “With images everywhere of flooded countryside and local residents battling the elements, it’s unsurprising that many people are feeling overwhelmed by what the recent storms and floods are likely to cost – and when things might finally return to normal. Speaking to your insurer as soon as you can, keeping records of personal items that may have been damaged and finding out what your policy will cover, should you not be able to return to your home straight away, can go a long way when it comes to easing the burden of making a claim.”

Image © BBC

Image © BBC

Insurers should send a loss adjuster out as soon as possible and they may be able to release an emergency payment to tide you over in the short period. But what else can you do?

1. Talk to your bank

Banks and building societies have promised that they will consider waiving overdraft fees for those who are facing a sudden rise in outgoings but are experiencing a loss in income, such as the self-employed and small businesses.

2. Speak to your local council

Most councils in the worst affected areas, where people cannot use the local services, have said that there is a possibility that council bills could be waived or temporarily cancelled. These will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

3. Mortgage relief

Homeowners who are struggling to pay their mortgages can apply for a payment holiday, which means that they could get their bills cancelled for up to three months. This will then be added onto the end of the mortgage term.

4. Utilities and energy bills

If you have not had power due to flooding, you may be entitled to some compensation. The power companies will typically offer compensation for households who have been cut off for more than one day as a result of the flooding. The energy companies have also stated that they will listen to anyone who has been financially affected and are having problems paying their bills.

5. Tax bills

Anyone eligible to complete a self-assessment tax form will know that the cut off date was January 31. However, HM Revenue and Customs have told business customers that there would be special treatment for those affected by the floods. The UK tax authority said that they would consider cancelling penalties for late admissions, payments by installments for those unable to pay, help for those who have lost vital documents in the floods and a suspension of debt recovery.

Source: BBC News

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