There are many reasons people fall into debt including unfortunate circumstances such as a change in relationship with partner, bereavement or even illness. Paul (not his real name) was a Fair Money Advice client who was struggling in life due to his illness and had consequently become the victim of debt. He had had to give up work because he was suffering with HIV so was now reliant on benefits, with a monthly income of just under £600 and debts of over £18,000 when he first came to Fair Money Advice.
Paul had no support and found it hard to deal with his finances which lead him into debt. Another contributing factor to Paul’s debt was that creditors were willing to lend to him although he was solely reliant on benefits and they knew he wasn’t in a position to repay. When trying to deal with creditors they would often refuse to deal with his issues and pass the debt onto another agency. His creditors were constantly harassing him to make contractual payments although he was not in a position to comply. The stress of his situation eventually led to Paul spending 2 weeks in hospital.
Luckily Paul had no priority debts so his advisor was able to help him with a financial statement to review his incomings and essential expenditure. Then Paul’s options were figured out. To either set up repayments until he was able to afford to apply for bankruptcy or let his creditors know he is applying for bankruptcy and can’t afford to pay them as he has to save for this.
Paul opted for repayment because he was scared his creditors would constantly try and contact him to get money. We set up token payments with the creditors and told them not to contact the client because of his vulnerability and asked them to suspend all interest and charges to enable him to repay the debt.
To set this up was a great relief for Paul and he expressed how he felt Fair Money Advice’s help had now meant his quality of life had improved. He said he now felt he was able to breath and was no longer scared to answer his door when he once thought there would be someone there asking for money. Possibly the best result was that Paul now felt although he was suffering from poor health he now felt he could enjoy his life and that it no longer seemed so bad.