Feeling helpless - mental health, redundancy, physical health

Please be kind. I can't categorise my thoughts very well as brain fog and anxiety. So I've tried to bullet point: 

  •  I've worked all my life, in professional role and have a mortgage with my husband. Two kids - teenager/nearly teenager

  • Two years ago I suddenly fell ill, was signed off on long term sick, told by NHS urgent op needed, a year later had the actual operation (6 months after pre-op).

  • During this time, I was made redundant whilst on long term sick.

  • The illness affected me both mentally and physically - commonly known by clinicians. I am under consultant care and various other NHS departments for physical health following op. My mental health has got progressively worse.

  • I got made redundant just before my operation and have during these two years accrued credit card debts (3 different cards trying to move them around 0 balance etc) trying to make ends meet.

  • My mental health has made it impossible to concentrate or manage my money. My clinicians and GP have written letters outlining this. My GP has written a DMHEF form. I am going to discuss this during CBT as not feeling can be responsible for monies.

  • Under guidance of various debt charities I sent the DMGEF, clinical letters and budget etc to one creditor to ask for a write off, with a £1 monthly contribution.

  •  I sent this to Virgin CC in the afternoon. The following morning I had an email back that felt generic saying as I had taken out the card in July, they couldn't pass it on to the relevant department or write off the debt. I don't understand this and have questioned it.  The said they would freeze interest and set an amount to pay in my statement. I can't find this information and it wasn't in the letter. I stated that I have swallowing and vocal problems post op but the creditor I sent to (Virgin) added a phone number for me to call - feel this is not helpful at all. 

  •  I have no income, have done budgets with Step Change (suggested breathing space - not done yet as was confused) and also budget with National Debtline.  I am not well enough to work. I have stated this.

  • We do not have any money left over to pay any back. I am petrified about losing our house ( we have just under 3 years left on our current 5 fixed rate).

  •  I don't know what to do. I didn't expect a magic wand but have never asked for anything in life and now I am really vulnerable feel like no one to help. Our marriage has been rocky so not told my husband.

  •  I spoke to one charity who had been helpful and encouraged me to go for write off. I have updated them and now they are just scaring me with information about court orders etc. I feel so hopeless.

  •  I have gone from high achieving professional to an absolute mess, physically and mentally, I can't think straight. I don't know where to turn. I am so embarrassed. I am hoping the CBT will help but need some practical help.

  • Do I send the DMHEF to the other two creditors Barclaycard and Halifax (been with for over 20 years with both and mortgage with the later)? How do I move forward with Virgin?

  • Do I get someone to act on my behalf - please don't suggest family or friends I am too embarrassed. Is there someone who can act as a debt advisor? National Debtline say they can't. Do CAB? Are they neutral? Are Stepchange? 

Sorry this is rambling, the community has so much good advice but I am struggling to understand what to do in my situation. The debts are £38k. I feel sick. It is affecting my ability to get better physically and move forward without this sickening weight on me.
«13

Comments

  • Can anyone help? Thank you .

  • YBR
    YBR Posts: 531
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    edited 22 November 2023 at 2:43PM
    Sounds like it might be helpful to work with someone like CAP who will see you face-to-face, because that will mean they can go at your pace. They will let you know what your options are, and give you moral/pastoral support.


  • EssexHebridean
    EssexHebridean Posts: 20,880
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    edited 22 November 2023 at 2:45PM
    First things first - but potentially an important point. You mention credit cards, but also say you're frightened of losing your home. Do you have secured debts as well? Credit card debt is NOT secured, and so your home is safe. If you fail to pay a debt that is secured on your home though, that would be another question.

    Second point from me -and since you've mentioned the mortgage. Do you have enough income from your husband plus any benefits that you are entitled to* to cover the mortgage? Can you also cover the other priority bills - so utilities, council tax, food, necessary travel to work (husband) and medical appointments (you)?

    * benefits - have you claimed anything you are entitled to? I'm not knowledgeable on that side of things but someone else will know more, however, ESA or whatever its current equivalent might fit for you? there are benefit checkers online that allow you to check what you ought to be claiming though. 

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  • First things first - but potentially an important point. You mention credit cards, but also say you're frightened of losing your home. Do you have secured debts as well? Credit card debt is NOT secured, and so your home is safe. If you fail to pay a debt that is secured on your home though, that would be another question.

    Second point from me -and since you've mentioned the mortgage. Do you have enough income from your husband plus any benefits that you are entitled to* to cover the mortgage? Can you also cover the other priority bills - so utilities, council tax, food, necessary travel to work (husband) and medical appointments (you)?

    * benefits - have you claimed anything you are entitled to? I'm not knowledgeable on that side of things but someone else will know more, however, ESA or whatever its current equivalent might fit for you? there are benefit checkers online that allow you to check what you ought to be claiming though. 

    Thanks so much for your reply. 1. We have enough money to keep paying the mortgage and have not missed any payments for this or any other secure debts, we pay our council tax etc on time. I was just worried they would try and make us sell to recoup the CC debt if that makes sense? The national debtline advisor said they could put in orders etc.  2. I haven't claimed anything yet, as have put off, it seems like a mamouth task, when my brain is not functioning. I am seeking help from a charity related to my health and they have given me some pointers. I have asked for a PIPs form and am awaiting on ESA. I can't speak for long periods on the phone so this makes it difficult to even get the forms. They were trying to take all the information from me over the phone for PIPS. It seems I am eligible for ESA and PIPs from online forms but again my anxiety and brain fog/exhaustion both from my physical condition and mental health problems has made it feel like wading through treacle. It's so hard get it started. The government announcements about cutting back on benefits has filled me with even greater anxiety, if that makes sense?.  Thanks again great points.
  • YBR said:
    Sounds like it might be helpful to work with someone like CAP who will see you face-to-face, because that will mean they can go at your pace. They will let you know what your options are, and give you moral/pastoral support.


    Thank you. Who are CAP? Sorry for my ignorance.

  • fatbelly
    fatbelly Posts: 20,240
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    edited 22 November 2023 at 5:34PM
    Cap are Christians Against Poverty. You can see what they offer in your area here

    https://capuk.org/get-help

    The problem with debt advice is that they have to give you a lecture on the whole spectrum of debt advice. I've often said that if your GP worked in the same way,  they would have to tell you about all the conditions you didn't have and all the treatments you weren't going to get

    You are not going to lose your house because of non-priority credit card debt. If you can't afford to pay, then stop. Keep nagging about writeoffs using the DMHEF form
  • Credit card debts will not affect your home and they cannot force you to sell.  Unsecured debts come at the bottom of the pile. 

    If you are ill and have no income then stop paying and wait for them to default and stop  interest.  If there is little chance of your circumstances improving in the near future you could ask for the debts to be written off.  If you are struggling to deal with all of this then contact your local CAB office as they have debt counsellors who could help you. 

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  • Floss
    Floss Posts: 8,121
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    A more recent post this week, where the poster has had 19k written off by various creditors due to ill health.
    That's me - it took patience! Those written-off debts were with the original creditors (Natwest, HDBC / First Direct and Tesco). Capquest & Cabot have put their accounts on hold & refused to make any write-offs, so they will get token payments until the settlement offers come in.
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  • MrRichTea
    MrRichTea Posts: 51
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    edited 22 November 2023 at 10:46PM
    Please do not worry yourself, all that will happen in the short term is phone calls, texts & letters....I urge you to write to the companys telling them you will only speak to them via writing / post, it will save you so much un-due stress

    Your home is safe if it's just credit cards. With the cost of living, many, many people find themselves unable to pay bills, so the companys either accept what they get / what they are given...(even if it's £1 a month!) or pass it onto another who will, please take the amazing advice given on here, they've been through situations & come out the other side & you can too :)
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