Illness and debt
Illness and stress doesn’t just affect people physically and emotionally, it can also affect them financially…
Many illnesses prevent people from working thus affecting their income and their ability to pay bills etc. Illnesses are unpredictable and many fail to save money for such problems or take the appropriate insurance.
If income is affected by illness or stress it can lead to mounting debt problems, much like any loss of income would.
Outgoings can also increase due to illness resulting in further debts. Many prescriptions now have to be paid for and can be very expensive, which, over a long period of time, can amount to a large sum of money.
Some may also feel that seeking private treatment will be more beneficial for them, as it could aid their recovery, but again it can increase the need for credit.
Debts can actually be the cause of illness, especially stress and/or depression.
A leading mental health expert recently carried out a study that found 43% of adults suffer from ‘Money sickness syndrome’. It was also found that 20% began missing work due to stress caused by their debts. This too can lead to debts becoming more uncontrollable, emphasising the fact the help needs to be sought as soon as possible.
If the type of illness affects an individuals’ ability to work, employers may pay Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). This is payable after 4 days absence and the employee must earn over £111 per week gross pay. The standard SSP is £87.55 per week, which maybe considerably less than an individuals normal income. Any additional income such as overtime will be lost.
All these reductions contribute to the need for credit and can cause debts to spiral out of control.
Additional ways of minimising the level of debt caused by illness and stress can include, medical insurance, which will cover all or some of the income lost due to ill health.
Benefits such as Incapacity Benefit, disability living allowance or income support may also help subsidise a loss of income, depending on the individual circumstances and type of illness. For more details take a benefits check-up.