Managing Debt When You Have a Disability
The most important thing to remember is that banks and other service providers are not allowed to discriminate against you because of your disability. Some companies may try and offer to write off your debts for you or offer you loans to cover your debts, but you need to be careful about where you get your help from.
Having a disability can make it more difficult to control your debts, so get in touch with us on 0161 503 0083 if you need help with anything at all.
In this guide:
- What do I do if I start falling behind on payments?
- What should I do first?
- How can I avoid more debt in the future?
- How can I get help?
What do I do if I start falling behind on payments?
The best thing you can do in this situation is to contact your creditor and tell them about your situation. If you let them know you are struggling with payments as early as possible, they are much more likely to be understanding and work with you to find a solution.
If the current payment schedule isn’t working for you, ask your creditor if you can organise a different payment schedule to pay back your debt. They may be able to reduce how much you pay each month to a manageable amount. This means it will be easier to pay on time in future and it is less likely that you will be refused credit on important payments in the future.
You should know that paying smaller amounts over a longer period of time can increase the amount of interest you pay overall but, it is more important to prioritise reducing your payments - the consequences of late payments may be worse than the extra interest you pay.
If you don’t think you can keep up with your debt repayments even with an alternative payment schedule, you need to seek further help. Read on about where you can get help with repayments you are struggling to pay.
What should I do first?
Collate all the information about how much debt you owe and who you owe it to. You can ask your creditor for help with this process. Contact your creditor and ask for your original credit agreement in writing so that you have proof of how much you owe if you need it.
If you can afford to start paying back your debt then do so as soon as possible. The quicker you start with repayments, the less likely you are to be contacted or visited by a debt collection agency. Once you’ve received the original credit agreement and you know the debt is legitimate, get someone you trust to check everything over with you and then pay back what you can. Make sure this repayment is by cheque or debit/credit card as these are the safest way of transferring your money.
How can I avoid more debt in the future?
Budgeting is key. Get someone to help you work out your weekly/monthly income and then write down everything you spend your money on. Work out how much you need to spend on each category of your spending and then see if you can cut back on some of the less important things that are not essential e.g. eating out or holidays.
Always make sure that you pay the most important things first - those that will have the worst consequences if you cannot pay them. Pay for your housing, utility bills and food first and then you can work out what is left to repay your debts, put aside or spend on things for yourself. Make sure to prioritise your disability - if there are extra things that you need for your particular disability this should be considered essential.
Don’t be tempted to take out more loans to cover your debt. This can make your debt worse in the long run and make it harder to get credit in the future when you need it.
How can I get help?
Call us on 0161 503 0083 to talk to a debt advisor. They can help you get out of your debt by creating a tailored solution for your situation.
We can help you formulate a debt management plan and work out what kind of repayment schedule will suit your needs and financial means best.
Another option is an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) which is a contract between you and your creditor to provide you both with legal protection while your debt is being resolved. No more interest will be added to your debt and if you keep to the contract then the debt included in your IVA will be written off.
You may also be eligible for financial assistance, depending on your situation. There are different types of financial help available:
Attendance allowance is for people aged 65 or over who need help at home. Your income does not affect how much you receive.
If you already receive Industrial Injuries Disablement benefit due to an accident at work or an illness caused by your work and you require daily care, then you can claim Constant Attendance Allowance.
You may be able to claim income support, depending on your circumstances. As a disabled person, you should receive the standard amount plus some extra funds on top if your disability stops you from working.
Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
This can help you with some of the extra costs that come with your disability. PIP is given out depending on your care requirements, mobility and how your condition affects you.
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
ESA offers financial support if you cannot work, or personalised help to get you working if you are able to do so.