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Blog: Debt advice for those diagnosed by Michelle Steer



A diagnosis of cancer is life changing. It doesn’t just have an effect physically. It has a mental effect too, especially where money is concerned. Michelle Steer, our Money Advice Caseworker, has written a short blog about what you can do when you're first diagnosed in relation to your bills and any debts you might have.

It can affect everything from the relationship you have with family and friends to the relationship you have with yourself. It can affect the relationship you have with your work, your lifestyle and also the one you have with your finances.

Financial worry can cause extra stress and anxiety to those with cancer, which is something they don’t need.

Did you know that 1 in 11 people in the UK report being in debt? For those suffering from depression, anxiety and other mental health issues, it’s 1 in 4. That’s a lot of people who need support and advice.

When you’re diagnosed, everything else goes out of your head and worry takes over. The practical things come second to all the anxiety that’s clouding your mind. That’s why I’m here. My role is to give money advice and practical support to those affected by cancer and help them to sort out their finances.

I know that ringing someone to talk about money can be quite daunting and something we all shy away from. If you’re not quite ready to talk to me yet, that’s ok.

Here are a few ways that you can make things that little bit easier for yourself and make your finances one less thing to worry about:

1. Inform your credit card company, utilities company, mortgage provider and anyone else you pay money to, about your illness

They might be able to put you through to someone who has experience of working with clients suffering from different physical and mental illnesses.

2. Ask them what they can do to help you and explain the situation

3. Explain to them what you’ve been diagnosed with and what it means. You may not have been told to take a break from work yet so warn them that this might happen. They may decide to place your account on a long term hold depending on your circumstances or in some cases, companies have been known to write off debt if there’s no way of you paying it back.

4. Tell them what form of contact works best for you

If you get scared every time the phone rings or don’t feel confident enough to talk to anyone, they may decide to contact you by post only. This will give you time to process what’s been sent to you and you can get advice from us should you need it.

If the telephone is best, you can discuss what times are suitable for you, e.g. you may take medication which makes you tired so they may decide that the best times are in the evenings.

These are just a few guidelines to help you but always remember that we’re here for you. We want to help you and be there for you whenever you need us.

If ever you need money advice on anything or don’t understand any financial processes, call us on 0808 808 1010. However, if you’d rather write it down, get in touch via our ‘Ask the Advisor’ service by clicking here.

Don’t go through your financial worries alone. Please, call us on 0808 808 1010 or find out more here.