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Crisis for ill Brits as a third are in more than £1,500 worth of debt

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New research has revealed that worryingly almost third of Brits (30%) with an illness or injury have accumulated more than £1,500 worth of debt. 

In fact, the relationship between finance and health has increased searches for “help with health debt” by 200% over the last 12 months, which has prompted credit management company Lowell  to conduct a nationwide study to discover how health issues for people in the UK are affecting their finances and personal lives. 

When asked how their debt is affecting their personal lives, more than half (56%) of those with debt from an injury or health issue say it is isolating them socially from their friends and family. Almost one in five (19%) reveal that it is causing tension between themselves and their partners.

How has an injury or health issue affected people’s financial situations?

The rapid rise of energy bills has added financial pressure to those with medical equipment at home, with 43% claiming their fees have increased, with no way of controlling the increased bills or the equipment required. Over a third (37%) aren’t able to work due to illness or injury, reducing their income and adding to the pressure of keeping up with payments.

Medical bill costs are affecting 36% of people’s finances, whilst 15% have had to pay to install new features in their houses. One in ten (11%) are also paying for carers and support.

How has your injury or health issue affected your financial situation?Percentage
Increased energy bills due to rising tariffs and medical equipment use43%
I’m not/was not able to work due to illness or injury37%
Cost of medical bills36%
I have had/had to install new features into my house15%
I have had/had to move to more suitable accommodation due to my injury/illness13%
I have had/had to find the money for a carer11%

 How has the debt affected families financially?

As well as personal finance issues, debt through health or illness problems is also having a knock-on effect on families. 

Almost half (45%) are now claiming benefits to cover extra costs, whilst one in five (21%) say their family has now accumulated debt in order to support them. Family members are also taking up a second job for further income support (20%).

Has your illness or injury affected your family financially in any of the following ways?Percentage
My household has/had had to claim benefits to cover costs45%
My household has/have struggled to make bill or mortgage payments34%
My family has/had also accumulated debt in order to support me21%
My family has/have had to cut down hours or quit their job to care for me21%
My family have taken/had to take on a second job or income in order to support me financially20%

Worryingly, 65% of people in the UK admitted they didn’t know where to turn for support and advice on how to manage debt when experiencing a health, illness or injury issue. For more information about the findings, as well as debt support and resources, visit: https://www.lowell.co.uk/about-us/lowells-blog/wellbeing/debt-after-health-issues/

John Pears, UK CEO of Lowell UK said “Problems in health are always difficult for both the person experiencing them and their loved ones. This survey supports what we see day in and day out here at Lowell, which is the huge detrimental impact it can also have on their finances, exacerbating an already difficult situation.

As well as health issues being the source of debt for many, the knock-on effect of the debt is causing relationship, social and family issues, and we want to ensure people know where to turn for support.

I’d like to remind anyone looking for financial support or options in overcoming debt after health issues to visit our blog here: https://www.lowell.co.uk/about-us/lowells-blog/wellbeing/debt-after-health-issues/”

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