Should I tell creditors about my mental health?
It may be helpful to tell your creditors about any mental health conditions if they make it difficult to pay your debt. Some creditors follow guidelines on how to deal with customers who are living with mental illness.
Adjustments that creditors could make when they are told a customer has a mental illness may include the following.
- Moving the account to a specialist team with an increased awareness of mental illness.
- Communicating in a more appropriate way. For example, if you find telephone calls stressful the creditor may agree to only contact you in writing.
- Communicating at times which are more suitable to you. For example, if the medication you take makes you tired in the mornings they may agree to only call you in the afternoon
- Placing the account on hold.
- Agreeing to write off all or part of the debt.
Creditors may want to see some medical evidence of your illness before they agree to make adjustments. This evidence should come from a health care professional that supports you. The information that may be useful to the creditors will include:
- Details of your condition,
- How long you have been affected by the condition, and
- An explanation of how your condition affects your ability to manage money
- The Money Advice Liaison Group (MALG) created the Debt and Mental Health Evidence Form. This form may be given to you by your debt adviser or creditor to ask for information about your mental illness from health and social care professionals. The creditors can then use the information to help them deal with your account.
Debt & Mental Health Evidence Form
The Debt and Mental Health Evidence Form (DMHEF) is a standard form.
It is used to ask health and social care professionals for evidence of your circumstances. It was designed to make it easier to collect this information for you and your creditors.
Once the form is completed, it can be photocopied and sent to all your creditors.
The DMHEF is usually given to you by a debt adviser or your creditors. You can get a copy from the people who designed it, the Money Advice Liaison Group (MALG), but MALG can't help you with it or answer questions, they just helped design the form.
How is this information used?
If you tell your creditors about your condition, they might use this information to make decisions about your account. This information will be kept on file for as long is needed for their business purposes. This information is not allowed to be shared with other organisations.
Creditors should not use the information you have given to make lending decisions in the future. But they may ask further questions about your condition to make sure they are lending responsibly.
Creditors should not use the information you give to make lending decisions in the future.
- Priority and non-priority debts
- Bank accounts and debt
- Drawing up a budget sheet
- Negotiating reduced payments to your debts
- Free Debt Management Plans
- Debt Arrangement Scheme
- Trust Deeds
- Formal bankruptcy or a ‘sequestration’
- Write Offs
- Will I be 'blacklisted'?
- What can creditors do if I don't pay?
- Should I tell creditors about my mental health?
- Getting help from a specialist adviser
- Next steps