CAB – your first port of call for free info and advice on ANYTHING!
The CAB is a place people can turn to for information and advice on just about any topic under the sun. From ‘Can a ship’s captain marry us if we want to get married while on board a ship?’ to ‘Where do I turn to next now that my partner has kicked me out?’.
Now, in our third year of facing the COVID-19 pandemic, the CAB, more than ever, has proven its worth in helping clients navigate their way through many trying issues.
The North Shore CAB’s have assisted approximately 2000 clients facing financial difficulties and associated issues during the two years since COVID-19 restrictions were implemented in Aotearoa (as well as many other clients seeking help for other things). This is just a few hundred less than the number of clients helped during the same amount of time before COVID-19 restrictions.
Our services were impacted by not being able to offer face-to-face services for a time. However, our 0800 367 222 number, our online chat at www.cab.org.nz and local bureau’s answering calls and emails, ensured people were still able to get the information, advice and support they needed. We are so happy to be able to see clients face-to-face in our local bureau offices once again!
We know it has been a difficult time for so many people. Clients have been feeling isolated from family and friends, stressed in workplaces, concerned by health issues, and burdened with financial strains, all caused by the impact of COVID-19.
When clients are facing financial difficulties, we are helping them with budgeting and debt management, discovering benefit entitlements and connecting them with support services such as counselling, accommodation providers, and foodbanks.
Here are some examples of clients who have come to see us and the types of information and advice we have been able to offer.
Client (anonymous) Stories:
- The client needs to know what financial support they are entitled to. The client has a permanent injury due to an accident. Since they have started studying, their ACC allowance has been reduced. We were able to help the client understand the ACC dispute resolution process so that they could have their situation reviewed. We also suggested they contact a beneficiary advocate to confirm their entitlements.
- The client has not been able to do their usual work as a contractor due to the COVID-19 regulations. As a result, she now has no food, no money for petrol for her car, and no longer has access to the internet. We worked with the client to fill in the wage subsidy application form online and arranged for a food parcel to be delivered from a local foodbank.
- The client’s over-spending has landed them in financial strife. How can they get back on track without having to file for bankruptcy? We suggested that they consult with a budgeter or financial mentor to assess their situation and bring some control back into their financial situation. We provided the contact details of the many free community organisations offering this support.
Debt is out of control when you are unable to meet debt repayments and also pay your day-to-day expenses, eg. rent, groceries, transport, power.
Try to avoid getting into debt in the first place, eg. consider whether you really need to borrow money to buy whatever it is, or could you perhaps save up for it instead?
Lenders and credit providers have the responsibility to follow strict guidelines to avoid starting a loan or other credit contract that the borrower cannot comfortably repay.
To keep track of one’s financial position, it’s a good idea to put together a budget listing total income and expenses. Be sure to make debt repayments in full and on time.
For advice on managing one’s money efficiently, contact the CAB for free, confidential information and support. Not sure? Ask us.
CAB North Shore. www.cab.org.nz 0800 367 222
Birkenhead – 09 418 0032, firstname.lastname@example.org
Browns Bay – 09 479 2222, email@example.com
Glenfield – 09 444 9451, firstname.lastname@example.org
Hibiscus Coast – 09 426 5338, email@example.com
Northcote – 09 480 2971, firstname.lastname@example.org
Takapuna – 09 486 3139, email@example.com
Written by Tanya Gouws, Manager, Citizens Advice Bureau Hibiscus Coast Te Pou Whakawhirinaki o Aotearoa