Financial help with utilities (bills)

Even with the government benefits you may need help with your utility payments. Many companies are offering customers help. Call a company you pay monthly or owe money to. They should be able offer delayed payment or a more flexible payment plan. Here’s how some companies are trying to help during  COVID-19.

BC Hydro

The COVID-19 Customer Assistance Program gives you the option to delay paying bills or arrange a flexible payment plan to help you pay your bills.

The Customer Crisis Fund grant  is a one-time grant of up to $600 for residential customers dealing with financial hardship of job loss, illness or loss of wages.

BC Hydro also has a COVID-19 Relief Fund, to help customers who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19.

* The Relief Fund provides a credit to your account to reduce your bill.

* The credit will be equal to three times your average monthly bill.

* You will not have to pay this back.

* The application window opens next week and you can apply until June 30, 2020.

Visit BC Hydro more information as the situation changes.

ICBC

Customers who are finding it difficult to make their monthly payments due to COVID-19 may delay their payments for up to 90 days  with no penalty. New driving licences can be applied for online.

Shaw

* Shaw Go WiFi, Canada’s largest WiFi network is now available to everyone even if you are not a Shaw customer.

* There are no caps on any internet plans (use as much data as you need).

* All Shaw Cable and Shaw Direct customers have been given access to a number of channels for free during this period.

Telus

The Telus response to COVID plan includes

* No charges for going over data if you are on a limited data plan – until at least April 30.

* No fees for 2 months for families participating in the Internet for Good program

* No cell phones will be disconnected during this time if you don’t pay

Rogers Wireless

The Rogers plans include:

* no customers who cannot pay bills during COVID-19 will be disconnected. Rogers will work out a more flexible payment plan with customers.

* long distance fees across Canada will not be charged until April 30th

* customers outside of Canada will not pay roaming charges until April 30th

Mortgage and other debt repayment deferrals

Canada’s largest banks and many credit unions are offering mortgage and credit card deferrals (delayed payments) of up to six months for people who are having difficulty paying during this crisis. Each case is individual and you must contact your provider.

If you do defer (delay) payments, be careful…. You will still have to pay , and you will also have to pay interest on the money you delay paying. This means your total mortgage or debt will eventually cost you more. Only defer (delay payment) if you really need to.

Income Tax

The deadline for filing income tax has been extended to June 1 and the date for paying your 2019 income tax has been extended to September 1. Remember, though, it makes sense to file your taxes as soon as possible so you keep qualifying for benefits and refunds.

Student Loans

Starting March 30, 2020, both federal and B.C. student loan interest and payments are automatically frozen for six months (until September 30).