Column: Tips to stop debts building up when you can no longer work

Money stock image. ''April 2018
Money stock image. ''April 2018

I recently become a carer for my partner who I live with and can no longer work. We’ve started falling behind on our bills and I’m worried our debts are only going to get worse. I’m on Carer’s Allowance but what else can I do to turn things around?

Roger Naden, from Derbyshire Districts Citizens Advice, offers these tips:

A change in circumstances can often trigger financial problems. It’s good to see you taking action now as this will stop you from sliding into further debt.

See if you can make any savings on your household bills by switching suppliers or changing deals. You may be able to get a reduction on your council tax bill - speak to your local authority directly.

Try to boost your income too. You may be able to apply for benefits jointly with your partner to be paid alongside Carers Allowance. This could be Income Support, income-related Employment Support Allowance or Universal Credit.

You should contact your creditors and ask if you can reduce your repayments until you’re back in work. They can also freeze any interest and charges, so your debts don’t go up while you pay less. Check to see if you have payment protection insurance to cover giving up work to become a carer as well.

If you’re still struggling to cover your outgoings, it’s important to prioritise paying your household bills like your council tax and rent or mortgage.

If you need further help or advice on this come in to see us or give us a call.

Citizens Advice Derbyshire Districts offers free, confidential and independent advice on any subject and you can call in to see us in person or contact us by telephone.

Find us at 26 Spring Gardens, Buxton, SK13 6DE, where the office is open on Tuesdays 10am and 4pm, Wednesdays 10am to 12noon, Thursdays 10am to 4pm; and at the Town Hall, Spring Bank, New Mills, SK22 4AT, on Tuesdays 10am to 2pm and Thursdays 10am to 12 noon.

Call 0300 456 8390 for advice. weekdays 9:00am to 4pm