Get help from Fair Finance loans for people on benefits
Are you ok?
A simple question, but one that we don’t ask often enough. In an interview in late 2019, Meghan thanked the interviewer for asking if she was ok, saying “not many people have asked if I'm OK”.
Even when we are asked if we are ok, the temptation is to say we’re fine and move the conversation along. But sometimes we are really not fine. We just feel embarrassed to admit it.
However, things are gradually changing. This year in particular, it has been more openly acknowledged that “it’s ok not to be ok”.
It’s ok not to be ok
Around a quarter of all health problems in the UK are related to mental health. During 2020 this has become worse due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Recent research by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) has found that almost 1 in 5 adults have been experiencing some form of depression during the pandemic; almost double than before the pandemic.
Depression is among the most common types of mental disorder experienced by adults in Great Britain. But the ONS research also found that certain groups have been particularly prone to it during the pandemic. These include younger adults, females, disabled people and those unable to afford an unexpected expense.
In this article we are going to focus on the relationship between mental health and finances.
How financial problems can affect your mental health
The pandemic has caused a lot of people stress related to work and money. At least a third of people who are currently in full time work are worried about losing their jobs. And for many of those that have sadly lost their jobs due to the pandemic, there are major worries about how to pay their bills and keep food on the table.
If you are one of the many people who have fallen into debt because of the pandemic, this can be incredibly stressful and can have a severe impact on your mental health. You can begin to feel overwhelmed and hopeless, and have difficulty sleeping.
Unfortunately, these issues can also be exacerbated by the fact that it is Christmas. Even with the pandemic restrictions, there is still pressure to spend money to keep everyone happy. When you don’t have that money, and know you are sliding further into debt, Christmas can become yet another source of stress.
If you are struggling mentally because of current financial problems, it is important to seek help as soon as possible. We will look at this in more detail below.
How your mental health can affect your finances
Sadly, if you have pre-existing mental health problems then this can adversely affect your finances. Around 18% of people with mental health problems are in problem debt, which is over three times higher than those without mental health problems.
Why is this?
The first reason is that less than half of people with mental health problems are in employment, and some of this employment is part time or temporary, rather than permanent well-paid work. Those unable to work are reliant on benefits: almost half of those adults aged 16-64 who receive any kind of out of work benefit have a mental disorder such as anxiety or depression.
Both these reasons mean that if you have mental health problems then you are likely to have limited income. But mental health issues can also affect the way people manage their money and spending. You may overspend without realising, or find it difficult to pay bills or make financial decisions.
You can also struggle to engage with banks and service providers, and feel stressed about trying to communicate with them. Unfortunately, these companies may not realise that a customer has a mental health issue, and therefore do not take this into account if problems arise.
So, financial problems can cause mental health issues, but if you have mental health issues then this can impact on your finances. So where can you go for help?
Where to get help
As we explained earlier, one of the most important things to do if you are having financial difficulties related to mental health issues is to ask for help.
But who do you ask? Where do you go?
Here are two things that may help.
There are many organisations out there who can give you the specialist help you need. Some examples are:
- StepChange – 0800 138 1111
- Citizens Advice – 03444 111 444
- Debt Advice Foundation - 0800 043 4050
- National Debtline – 0808 808 4000
If you live in London, you can also contact our in-house debt advice service Fair Money Advice on 020 3475 8811.
The first thing to do is consider getting in touch with one of these debt advice organisations for help. They will listen to you and will understand the situation you are in. They should be able to help you find ways to manage your debts.
Debt and Mental Health Evidence form (DMHEF)
The DMHEF is a form that can advise your creditors about any mental health issues you may currently be experiencing. This may lead to them being more considerate of your personal circumstances when dealing with your debts or contacting you about them.
The DMHEF needs to be completed by a health or social care professional, such as your GP, nurse, social worker or therapist. You can ask them to do this on your behalf, and a debt adviser may recommend that you do this.
The completed DMHEF will then be shared with your creditors, and will be used by them to help decide what action to take. Be aware that it is unlikely that your debt will be written off, but the creditor may agree another course of action, such as giving you more time to make repayments or giving you a payment holiday during which interest and charges are frozen.
How Fair Finance can help
If you apply for a loan at Fair Finance, you should know that we don’t discriminate against people with mental health issues. If you disclose that you have mental health issues during the loan application stage (for example if you receive Disability Living Allowance for mental health), we will simply ask you to send us a completed Debt and Mental Health Evidence Form. This will allow us be confident that are acting responsibly and in a way that won’t be detrimental to you.
Once we have a DMHEF, we can use it for a year and you don’t have to get another one if you re-apply within a year.
If you already have a loan with us and your mental health issues are making it difficult for you to repay your loan, simply contact us to let us know. We’ll agree with you on a suitable arrangement with you, including breathing space or payment holidays.
We hope this article is helpful if you are struggling with your finances because of mental health issues, or if your financial difficulties are impacting your mental health.
If at any stage of the process you are considering a loan to help, then you need to find a lender who will treat you fairly. At Fair Finance we believe in giving all our customers a fair deal. This includes considering loan applications from those with poor credit history or a CCJ, and offering loans for people on benefits, including those with Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Personal Independence Payments (PIP).
If you need any additional financial assistance during this difficult time, do not hesitate to get in touch with us at Fair Finance and we will see what we can do to help.
Check back here soon for more financial and lifestyle tips from Fair Finance.