/ Health, Money

Could you deal with the financial impact of cancer or a stroke?

When someone falls seriously ill through a stroke or cancer, it’s the immediate health effects that are understandably at the forefront of your mind. But the financial impact can be severely damaging too.

Lost income is just the start of it – increased living costs and the impact on carers further compound the financial pressure.

According to a new report from the Stroke Association, a quarter of strokes occur in people of working age and there are over 300,000 people under 60 living with the effects of stroke in the UK. And yet, very few people of working age are financially prepared.

Key findings from the survey include:

  • 65% of those aged between 25-59 reported an increase in household bills and expenses. The same percentage reported a fall in their income.
  • 69% of people whose income went down said the main reason was that they were now unable to work.
  • More than a third cut back on food, while 80% are worried about their financial future.
  • Almost 60% of carers reported that caring for their loved one had affected their own employment.

According to the Stroke Association, stroke is the leading cause of severe adult disability and can leave people with impairments, like extreme tiredness and cognitive difficulties affecting memory and attention. Together these can make work extremely difficult, if not impossible.

Is a rainy day fund enough?

So what’s the answer? We’re often advised to keep six months’ expenditure in a savings account as a rainy day fund. But not only is this unrealistic for many of us in the current climate, the financial repercussions of stroke and cancer are likely to far outlast your savings fund.

How about statutory sick pay and state benefits? Statutory sick pay is only paid for 28 weeks, while there’s been a restriction of state benefits in recent years, with Employment Support Allowance unavailable for many. In any case, state benefits are unlikely to cover all your family income, or even come close.

The Stroke Association is calling for government action, but there are also things you can do yourself. Budgets are tight at the moment, but it’s worth considering income protection, possibly in conjunction with critical illness cover. First of all though, if you’re in work, ask your employer what cover it offers if a staff member falls seriously ill. You may find you’re already insured.

We all hope the worst won’t happen, but it can be devastating when it does, not just on your health, but also on your family’s finances. It’s worth a frank discussion at least.

Have you had to deal with a serious illness? How did you manage financially and what advice would you give someone thinking about protecting their finances?

Steven Duckworth says:
25 September 2012

A rainy day account may be totally consumed by private nursing care costs if victims have more than £30000 in savings. Little point in saving this amount.

I’m 59 and have worked since I was 15 I had a heart attack and major operation for a burst artery and have been unable to work for over a year, because I had just began taking a private pension of just over £500 a month and had some redundancy money in the bank I am unable to claim anything as they judge me to be fit for work.I got in such a state that I took a job and 4 days later had another heart attack.My advice is not to bother working for a living just live off the state they will pay for everything it’s not worth working all your life because as soon as you need help there not interested.

Mike says:
5 October 2012

Can’t agree with much of these comments. The problem is with the current system of state benefits and whether or not an individual is or may be entitled to financial support. It will not be any better when universal credits are introduced next year. Another issue is who assessed Bob as fit for work, maybe because he LOOKS OK. Maybe he has not been correctly advised on his rights and appeals process? His second heart attack may now mean he has to
“live off the state”, and the state must accept that responsibility.

Have you any advice for the self employed on a ow income?

The deregulated Government [ Thatcher Middle [management & head office loss of contact] is trying to bring in financial impacts/ cuts when it must be spending millions daily trying to sort out other countries when it has it no better here.I

t has left us so undirected & monitored that it appears the criminal corporate sector have taken over directing the least academically able . Democracy and reason have gone affecting the most vulnerable first that it has set up in using a corrupted adversarial system & labelled as abusive to look as if trying when one expresses not getting a fair hearing . It is even happening in the Forums.

i had heart bypass about 10 years ago then all the insurance companys sent me checks back and couldnt get any i saved up 12k only to lend it to my son so he could buy his first house FIRST MISTAKE cant get it back now i have diabetas and prostate cancer so it looks like a porpers funeral for me

charlie says:
12 September 2013

Hi. I have worked all my life 30yrs in one job, I had to retire early as I suffer from depression,

Other than depression I am reasonably healthy. I decided I wanted to take some insurance for the future to protect me in case I got really ill with a hearth attack or cancer or stroke, nothing to do with the depression. I though I would take out a policy for critical illness cover, however finding it very difficult as soon as they know you have an illness they do not want to know you or premiums and conditions of policy are beyond reason. can you suggest anything or should I consider a saving plan of some sort for my later years. I am 57yrs none smoker. not much alcohol odd glass of wine on a occasional night out at most. maybe drink once a month, 1 bottle of wine in a month. I really need help tried myself getting nowhere. Can you help.