Health Challenges and Their Financial Repercussions: Understanding the Connection to Debt

The intersection of health issues and financial well-being is a complex domain, with conditions ranging from temporary injuries to chronic illnesses potentially leading to significant monetary strain. A Health Foundation report highlights a stark reality in the UK, where 20% of individuals in problem debt also struggle with poor health.

The Economic Impact of Health Complications

Health complications can drastically alter one’s financial landscape, often necessitating reduced work hours or complete job cessation. Such disruptions can lead to a precarious financial situation, elevating the risk of accruing debt.

The financial implications extend to those assuming caregiving responsibilities for ill family members, possibly requiring a shift to less remunerative or part-time roles to accommodate caregiving duties.

Furthermore, the costs associated with managing a health condition, including medical appointments, travel expenses to healthcare facilities, and medication, can add to the financial burden.

Debt’s Detrimental Effects on Health

Debt not only results from health issues but can also be a catalyst for deteriorating health, especially mental well-being. The stress associated with financial difficulties can exacerbate mental health conditions, creating a cyclical relationship between debt and health.

The Predominant Impact of Debt on Mental Health

Mental health suffers significantly under the weight of financial debt. Research by the Royal College of Psychiatrists indicates that 50% of individuals with debt problems also experience mental health issues, highlighting the intertwined nature of financial and mental well-being.

For individuals whose mental health influences their financial management, obtaining a Debt and Mental Health Evidence Form from a healthcare professional can provide creditors with a comprehensive understanding of the situation, fostering a more empathetic approach.

What can I do if I’m struggling with my health and worried about debt?

Apply for benefits and grants
There are several different benefits that you may be able to claim if you’re suffering from a long-term or severe health condition that limits your ability to work. Depending on your circumstances, you might qualify for:
·       Free or reduced cost NHS treatment
·       Council tax and/or housing benefit
·       Government mortgage scheme help
·       Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
·       Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
Charities can also offer grants and loans for people affected by certain illnesses such as Macmillan, who are able to provide financial support to some cancer patients. You may also have payment protection insurance on some of your debts. Be sure to investigate and make a claim if you can.
Speak to your employer
If you’re employed full or part-time and unable to do your job normally due to illness, you can ask your employer to make reasonable adjustments such as allowing you to work for home until you recover. If you need to take time off, check your employment contract as you may be eligible for company sick pay. Statutory sick pay is also available for up to 28 weeks. To qualify, you must be employed and have been earning at least £112 a week in the two months before you stopped working.
Make a new budget 
Whether you’re expecting your income to be reduced for a short time or your health problems require you to make a more permanent change, it’s worth making a new budget that better reflects your current circumstances. Writing down all your essential payments can help you identify the costs that you can easily cut out of your monthly spend as well as offer reassurance that you know exactly how much you need to cover the basics.
Seek debt advice 
Getting professional debt advice can not only help you find solutions that could start to tackle your debts, but it could also alleviate some of the stress that is making your health problems even worse. Our friendly team will take the time to understand your situation and talk you through the different debt management solutions available so that you can find the right one for you. They could even help you enter a Mental Health or standard Breathing Space if that would be the best next step.
Navigating health problems and debt? Our team My Debt Plan is here to help. Give us a call on 0161 8260 585 or visit the website for more information.

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