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Getting help early saved Hannah's home

Hannah on holiday

Before getting into financial difficulty, Hannah was a home care assistant. She explains how her financial situation took a turn for the worse, and how getting help early meant that she’s now able to get back to doing what she loves- spending quality time with her family.

“I loved my job as a home care assistant, but after dislocating my knee and ending up in the office for a short time, I was made redundant because I couldn’t drive. I also happened to get pregnant around the same time.

“We were managing to make payments towards our existing debts whilst I was working, and after the redundancy I used some of my maternity allowance to pay down some of them. But I realised that soon we wouldn’t be able to afford to make any more payments.

“Both myself and my husband had an overdraft, but his was a lot bigger than mine. We also had a personal loan, furniture bought on finance, and we also owed money to HMRC and the DWP. So we had 5 or 6 big debts that we knew we just couldn’t pay.

Hannah was stressed and scared until she asked for help

“I was stressed out constantly. I remember it was a really hot summer, but I kept all of the windows and doors shut because I was so scared that a debt collector would come round.

“One day, I was watching the TV and Martin Lewis recommended getting in touch with StepChange - I rang them up there and then. It was a huge relief to know that I wasn’t alone and had someone to talk to. It eased the pressure off me, and that night, I actually managed to sleep for the first time in a long time.

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“I’m so lucky I heard about StepChange and got help early otherwise I don’t know what would have happened, really.

“If I hadn’t picked up the phone, I wouldn’t be stood in my house right now. I would have had to go bankrupt or sell the house to get rid of the debts. It’s through blood, sweat and tears I’ve managed to carry on a get to where we are now, and to save our home.

People need to talk about debt more so they get the help they need

“I don’t think people realise how simple it is to get in touch and get help - do it as early as possible.

“I’m not afraid of being outspoken and telling people that I’ve been in debt. People need to talk about it a lot more- they would be less ashamed and more able to open up. People take their own lives over money problems, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

“I now work in administration in a care home and I’ve been recommending to everyone that I come across to get help early with their debts. It always happens differently to everyone, but I would say don’t put your head in the sand.

“It’s not a nice feeling. If people just spoke up, they maybe wouldn’t be in such a bad situation. I’m a very big advocate for StepChange. Without you I probably would have considered ending my life or I wouldn’t have the house or both. It got that bad.

Now Hannah's life is back on track

“Being close to debt free has enabled me to go back to work, because I don’t think I would have been able to do that with all of that going on. We can even go out, with careful budgeting.

“I don’t have to rely on family for nappies or anything like that anymore.

“Nowadays, I love going swimming with my boy- tackling my debt problems have freed up more time to spend relaxing with my family.

“I was put on a DMP and I’m almost there with paying off the last of my debts. It’s given me much more confidence handling my finances, which is such a great feeling. Thanks to the knowledge and skills I’ve gained, I’m paying off the last 2 remaining debts myself, and I’m on track to just have one more left by the end of 2020.

“I can’t thank StepChange enough, you’ve saved us.”

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