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Debt and your health

Your health is very important, but it’s often something that people tend to neglect, especially when dealing with other problems in life. An illness or injury that affects you for any length of time can have a serious impact on your finances.

Being ill can force you to reduce your hours at work or stop working altogether, which means you have less money coming in to pay your bills and debts.  If a family member is ill, it may be up to you to look after them and have to take a reduction in income as a result.

Aside from the physical illnesses or injuries that you may face in life, there are also mental illnesses that many of us may deal with at some point. If not dealt with, debt can seriously affect your mental health and worsen existing conditions such as depression.

If you're dealing with mental health issues, you can send your creditors a 'debt and mental health evidence form' (DMHEF) completed by a health or social care worker. This can help them to understand your situation and encourage them to be more considerate when dealing with you.

Debt can impact the quality of sleep you get every night, which can in turn affect other areas in your life such as energy levels, concentration and mood.

Many people suffer from addictions from things such as alcohol, drugs and gambling. These things can either cause debt, be a symptom of debt stress, or both.

If you’re worried that your debt is affecting your physical or mental health, please tell someone you trust how you’re feeling. You may also feel less anxious about your debt once you seek free and confidential debt advice. 

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What should I do if my health changes?

The quicker you respond to a change in your health or that of a loved one, the better:

  • Check your benefit entitlement as you may be able to claim Statutory Sick Pay or Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
  • Check whether you're eligible for free or reduced-cost NHS treatment 
  • Get in touch with your council and make them aware of what’s happened. You may be entitled to council tax or housing benefit
  • If you’re a homeowner, you may be entitled to help from a government mortgage scheme
  • If you’ve got payment protection on your debts, check if you’re eligible to make a claim based on illness
  • If you have a long-term illness or condition you should consider an application for Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

I think my health is being affected by debt – what can I do?

No matter how your physical or mental health may be, we’re here to help. Our online advice tool can help you put together a personal action plan, at any time of the day that suits you. Alternatively, you can also speak to one of our friendly advisors about your debts.