What is financial stress and what causes it?
Financial stress usually arises when a person is struggling with their finances and finds it difficult to cope. When a person is stressed financially, they may feel anxious, worried, hopeless, frustrated, and even depressed. Financial stress can also cause a person to lose sleep, as they may lie awake at night worrying about their situation. According to recent research, over 40% of people in the UK have reported feeling worried about their financial situations.
Financial Difficulty & its Effects on Carers
Carers may be especially impacted by financial stress. When a carer is unable to work due to their caring role, their finances may suffer. It may become more and more difficult to keep up will bills as time goes on. Even if a carer is able to remain employed while caring, it may prove to be very difficult to support their loved one as well as keep up with their own financial obligations. In addition to this, their income at work may suffer if they are having to take more time off than they usually do.
When a carer is stressed about their finances, they may feel mentally distracted. They may even have trouble sleeping at night because they are thinking about bills, debt, and upcoming expenses. Over time, these things may end up impacting their caring role. Not having enough sleep and feeling distracted or frustrated may cause the carer to not be able to provide care to their loved one(s) as well as they normally do. The good news is that there are many ways that carers can get financial help that can help to get them back on their feet!
Financial Help for Carers
There are many ways that a carer can receive help and benefits that can help to ease a bit of the financial burden they are faced with. Using a benefits calculator (https://carers.org/benefits-calculator) can help determine if you are eligible for things like Working tax credit, Child tax credit, Pension Credit, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Support, Child Benefit, Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, or Universal Credit.
If you spend 35 or more hours per week caring, you may be eligible for Carers Allowance. More information regarding eligibility can be found at https://www.gov.uk/carers-allowance/eligibility. If you are eligible, you could receive £64.60 per week to assist you financially. For information regarding how to apply for Carers Allowance, click here.
There are also other ways you can receive help as a carer. Click here for a complete overview of possible benefits you may be able to receive, including help with heating or electrical bills, grants, and bereavement benefits. If you are in debt and are unsure how to proceed, you can receive free debt advice at https://www.stepchange.org/how-we-help/debt-advice.aspx.
Other Helpful Tips
When expenses outweigh the available amount of money in one’s bank account, it is normal to feel uneasy. However, there are ways to cope and work towards overcoming your financial struggles! In addition to applying for actual financial assistance, there are things you can do yourself at home to help better your situation. When money is tight, simply creating a budget that will help you to stay on top of your spending can help immensely! When creating a budget, it is important to remember to determine when money is coming in and when it needs to go out to pay bills. Remember to take your time and be as accurate as possible. This will allow for your budget to work well in the long run! For more information on how to create a budget, click here.
When a person is faced with financial stress, it is common for sleep and diet to suffer the most. Ensuring that you are getting enough sleep at night will help you wake up the next day refreshed and with a clearer mind that will help you tackle the day ahead. People who are struggling financially may find themselves eating snacks instead of proper meals, or may skip meals altogether. Doing this only hurts your health, so make sure that you are eating a healthy, balanced diet each day.