What would be one of the first things I should do regarding my finances? if affected by Spinal Cord Injury?

Your finances almost certainly won’t be at the top of your priority list when you are first in hospital. But by taking action as early as possible it can help avoid financial problems arising. Where possible, with the help of family or friends if needed, talking to any creditors will always be beneficial. If you feel you may struggle with paying the rent, it’s good to talk to your landlord or housing officer as soon as possible as they may give you more time to pay or even consider a rent reduction. Likewise, talk with your mortgage provider who may consider a payment holiday, extending the term to reduce monthly costs or even the type of mortgage arrangement you have in place. All utility providers have a duty of care and will often work with customers to help them through difficult times, as should banks, credit card companies and finance lenders in order to help manage what may be a short term problem. It really is about  keeping everyone informed and taking actions before payments are missed and debt occurs as this can escalate into future problems.

Are there any immediate things I can do that may  bring in extra income ?

It may be obvious if you are getting sick pay from an employer, but it is worth checking with them how much will be payable and how long this will last as this may reduce over time and this will help you plan ahead. It is important to check if you have any insurance policies in place that may pay out such as Permanent Health Insurance (PHI), Accident Sickness & Unemployment (ASU) along with Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) that cover specific borrowings.

Will I be eligible for any benefits?

Benefits may appear complicated,  particularly if you have never had to look into claiming before.

Aspire offesr a free, dedicated Welfare Benefits Advice Service to help wherever you are in the UK. Our Frequently Asked Questions will give you some guidance on when and how you might be able to go about getting the support you are entitled to.

What if I am already concerned that I will be falling into debt and unable to keep up payments?

Don’t hesitate to talk to Money Matters at Aspire. We will help you to understand how to prioritise your debts with simple information around the ‘pros and cons’ of each situation which will help you decide what action you feel is best for you.

Initially we would explain how you can approach your creditors to get the best outcome, both now and in the future. Although we are unable to give regulated financial advice, if you feel unsure about approaching creditors yourself and you give us your permission, we would be able to talk to them directly on your behalf with any proposal you have and come back to you with their response.

So, in summary what would you say are the key things to do if affected by Spinal Cord Injury in relation to managing my finances?

It really is about taking preventative action where possible to avoid things becoming a problem and then trying to put matters right. The support of family and friends where possible in the early days can help greatly to take prompt action and keep finances under control.

Where needed the first thing is to keep everyone informed such as landlords, mortgage lenders, local authorities, utility companies and creditors. You’re far more likely to be able to agree ways forward in advance than if you were to miss payments or fall into arrears.

The second  thing is to check for any other income options such as employee sick pay, insurance policies and of course a full benefit check with the support of Aspire’s Welfare Benefits Advice Service.

Finally, if you think you maybe going to fall into debt, contact Aspire’s Money Matters to support you in keeping control of your finances before problems arise.

Welfare Benefits advice if you're newly injured

Housing advice if you're newly injured

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