Money worries and illness are a bad combination. Quids in! reveals how dealing with money worries is key to recovering from ill health…
When you’re feeling unwell the last thing you want to be doing is worrying about money. Being in debt can cause stress and depression, but it can also put extra pressure on people who are already unwell. It leads to added worries and taking longer to recover.
However, you don’t need to deal with money worries by yourself. If you are in poor health there are many organisations out there who offer advice and support to people who are struggling with debt and illness. Struggling to pay your fuel bills? Well, why not talk to your local benefits office as you may be entitled to extra cash. Are prescription charges simply too high? If you are receiving Universal Credit, income support, a pension, or Job Seekers Allowance then you should know that you are entitled to money off prescription charges, dental treatment, sight tests and travel to and from the hospital if you need regular care or check-ups.
It is clear that for those suffering from long-term illness, the added stress caused by money worries does nothing to help them get well again. According to Macmillan Cancer Support money is the biggest worry for cancer patients after pain. 91% of people with cancer suffer a loss of income, with most people seeing their cash flow cut in half as they can’t work. Lisa Royle from Devon is a breast cancer patient who has struggled financially. “I tried to go back to work due to financial pressures but it was too much. I should get myself back to strength before returning but how, on statutory sick pay of £280 a month with nursery fees to pay for my 3 year old? I’m sure I could recover quicker without the stress and money worries.”
Cancer sufferer Barbara Talbot, from Norfolk, has also struggled to pay her fuel bills, and this has impacted on her health. “It’s not unusual for me to wear two sweatshirts at home. When my son visited he asked why I didn’t put the heating on. I daren’t because of the cost.”
It’s not just those with long-term illnesses who are struggling. The Mental Health Foundation have said that money worries are causing a growth in depression and anxiety-related illnesses, especially among those on a tight budget. One victim is Paul. “It all started in 2006 when things were not going quite so well for me. All of a sudden I had no work. I had to go to my GP as I was getting really depressed.”
Thankfully, there are schemes and organisations in place to help, so make sure you contact them to check you’re getting all the support you’re entitled too.
- NHS Live Well
Visit www.nhs.uk/live-well/ for advice on diet, exercise and healthy living
- NHS Stressline
Call 0300 123 2000 for expert advice and support on debt and health advice or counselling
- Healthy Start Scheme
Take a look at www.healthystart.nhs.uk to find out how to claim free vouchers
Government information website, www.gov.uk, has sections on redundancy, benefits, and managing debt including mortgage arrears.
- Talk to Macmillan Cancer Support on their helpline – 0808 808 00 00
- Other useful organisations are: National Debtline: 0808 808 4000 and StepChange Debt Advice: 0800 138 1111