Real life stories
How MHMA helped improve my finances and mental health
When Ian’s wife passed away suddenly, he was left to look after his daughter and autistic son, which resulted in him losing his job.
Things got worse when the DWP said he owed them £2,241.40 from an overpayment of ESA. His mental health deteriorated through worrying about the debt.
Find out how Mental Health and Money advice got the debt written off and helped his mental health.
My wife died, and I had to look after my children
My wife died suddenly, and I had to look after my two children – my daughter, and my son, who is autistic.
It was such a struggle I had to take time off work to care for my children as they needed me. I eventually lost my job as caring for my children and working, at the time, was no longer achievable.
I lost my job, and the DWP said I owed them money
When I lost my job, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) contacted me to say I owed them money because I hadn’t declared all income.
When I received the letter from the DWP, I was so upset, panicked and confused. I was sure it was their mistake. They claimed I had received an Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) overpayment of £2,241.40.
The DWP requested I paid 20% of my monthly income towards clearing the alleged debt. To lose 20% of your income when you’re on a pension is just too much.
The stress caused by my financial situation affected my mental health
I was stressed and was thinking there was no way out. I genuinely didn’t know what to do. I was constantly worrying about how I was going to be able to pay this back and manage to live.
The situation affected me, and as a result, my mental health suffered as I experienced depression and anxiety.
When you are alone, trying to fight the benefits system, you haven’t got a chance. Thankfully the national debt agency I was talking too referred me to the Mental Health and Monet Advice service (MHMA) for specialist support.
How Mental Health and Money Advice helped me
When the MHMA service took my case on, I knew I was with the right service. The stress I was suffering reduced as I knew I had someone with the knowledge, passion and expertise to work the case out on my behalf.
I had the same advisor from the first contact until the last. She kept me informed at all stages of the appeal. Because I had the familiarity of the same advisor and wasn’t passed from one to another, it gave me more confidence, in the process.
My advisor helped to calm me down, and she talked me through how she was going to appeal against the overpayment. The fact she had time to speak to me was such a help.
The DWP withdrew their claim, and the overpayment was written off
The result was that the DWP withdrew their claim, and the alleged overpayment of £2,241.40 was written off.
My anxiety reduced overnight; I felt immediately relieved of all the stress and worry I had. I’m much happier now. I think the MHMA service did an excellent job for me.
Note: One-to-one advice service
In addition to our website, we have a small team of dedicated mental health and money advice specialists who offer one-to-one advice and casework over the telephone. Access to this service is only available via referral from several of our partners.
If you’re currently receiving support from one of our UK charities - Rethink Mental Illness, Hafal, Mindwise or Support in Mind - and are experiencing mental health and money issues, please contact your support worker to be referred to our Mental Health and Money Advice service.