Each year Martin Lewis and Money Savings Expert produce an incredibly helpful booklet especially for mental health sufferers with money advice and debt advice. They key message from Martin Lewis is that all debt problems are solvable and this Mental Health and Debt Guide can be a valuable guide to sorting out debt problems. Debt worries can be overwhelming and debt recovery letters very intimidating and contribute greatly to anxiety and depression illnesses. But on your own or with the help of a carer or friend, using this guide; you can tackle the problem and resolve the crisis.
I have a lot of time for Martin Lewis of Money Savings Expert, for his advice on consumer finance and his annual debt advice booklet for people suffering with mental health illness.
He is also the face of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, based in London UK. I am proud to contribute to their research by being a member of the research community. This involves completing online questionnaires and surveys from time to time. There is no obligation to complete all surveys and there is also an opportunity to partake in online discussion groups.
I had been receiving DLA and then PIP for the past 5 years or so, because of my mental health and Ulcerative Colitis. Following a mid award review which started in August 2017 and a medical assessment by Capita in November 2017, my PIP award ended on the 11th December 2017.
I have been reflecting on this a lot over the past 6 months. Financially the impact was significant, as it meant I also lost my Tax Credits award from the 11th December, and any day I expect a bill for £500 over payment following the year end tax credit review.
I have been receiving PIP for a few years and was asked in the Summer to confirm my current health situation by submitting a medical questionnaire form back to DWP. I think I may have blogged about my quandary and in the end I confirmed that my ability to dress and bathe had improved. I then had an anxious couple of months waiting to hear further from the DWP. Then I was asked to attend a medical assessment with Capita on the 10th of November.
I thought I would share with you what I have learnt about the financial help that is available to those with a disability. This blog is based on my experience of claiming benefits and getting financial help as I have a long term ill health in the form of a mental illness and Inflammatory Bowel Disease. I have linked the benefit types to relevant part of disability benefits on GOV.UK website
I have a lot of time for Martin Lewis and MoneySavingsExpert.com I have found his advice on various matters including: insurance, utility providers, benefits and debt management very helpful over the past years. I also acknowledge that my financial situation had a significant contribution to my breakdown in 2009.
Therefore I feel it is important to recognise the impact debt and money problems can have for someone who is struggling with a mental health illness. I am personally very pleased that Money Savings Expert produce a guide specifically for those with mental health challenges on the subject of debt.
You can download the 2016 issue of Mental Health and Debt here
If you are on certain benefits including ESA income based on the 20th July 2013, you can qualify for a £135 discount on your electricity bill for the winter of 2013/2014. Government website link is here. You have to make an application direct to your supplier. Find out more at your energy suppliers website - EDF Support Plus link here
12th June 2013
Hi, moneys getting tight for us as well as many many other households. I must admit I am a keen fan of Lidl's and my distrust and hate of Tesco's grows every day, but lots not go there today.
Many purpose of this blog is that I wanted to check my own benefits entitlement as we have had a few changes. I used the government one - Benefits Adviser which i found poor as it didn't touch on DLA or CA. But then found via my trusty pal, Martin Lewis entitledto, which i found was great to use and you could enter different scenerios and see what the effect was on most benefits. So if you need a to check your benefit entitlement, I suggest entitledto
By the way, having worked solidly for 30 years and paid a fortune in tax, 'entitled to' is what I and the majority of others are, when it comes to the benefit system.
6th June 2013
Martin Lewis (Money Savings Expert) & Mind have released their 2013 Guide to Mental Health and Debt. Well worth a read if you are struggling. Click Anxiety and Debt for pdf version.
I can also recommended My Money Steps which is part of National Debtline. This is all truly independent and no fees! I have used them for a senior family member and sorted out her credit card and loan problems very easily.
6th June 2013
My Anxiety was asked: 'My friends have a middle aged son with mental health illnesses who can no longer work, what financial help & support is available for him? He is struggling more and we are getting older and are worried about him now and when we are gone'
The first step is for him to acknowledge that he is ill and go to his GP for help.
For mental illnesses the GP may treat the illness in terms of medication and/or therapy at the primary care level, or they may refer the person to secondary care and the mental health team for medication and therapy. He will need a medical certificate if he wants to claim sickness benefits.
Once you have a medical certificate and there is medical evidence/records of an illness he could submit a claim for Employment Support Allowance , which is managed by the Department of Work and Pensions, like Jobsseekers Allowance.
If the initial application satisfies the DWP they will make payments whilst they investigate and you attend a medical. If the person does not fully acknowledge their illness and discuss it openly they will NOT pass the medical. See my recent blog on Atos Medical
Following the medical the DWP will write to advise whether their application has been accepted and how long before a review is required (6 to 24 months)
Link to ESA claim details: https://www.gov.uk/employment-support-allowance/overview
If someone is successful with an ESA application they may want to consider a Disabled Living Allowance which comprises of a care element and a support element.
Link to DLA Claim: https://www.gov.uk/dla-disability-living-allowance-benefit
Details of the benefits available for people who are ill can be found at my benefits post, click on each of the tittles to access more information from government websites.
To help matters the government is changing both the ESA and DLA benefits at the moment.
To be blunt if the person is not able to acknowledge their illness and seek and engage in medication and therapy treatment - then the benefits system is likely to fail them completely.
More help can also be found at http://www.mind.org.uk/ and http://www.sane.org.uk/
18th March 2013
BT offer a reduced line rental package, called BT basics for those of certain means tested benefits, including Employment Support Allowance (income based). £14.85 a quarter instead of £15 per month !
Link here to BT Basics
1st January 2013
The following benefits are available for those suffering from Anxiety, Depression and IBD, depending on individual circumstances. Click the item for relevant link to external site
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