A woman touching the wrist of an elderly person who is holding a ball

How to balance illness and debt

Your finances are important; your health is too.

Being diagnosed with a long-term illness affected many areas of Anna’s life, especially her finances – with all of this, she started to miss payments.

This story shows typical customer situations and how banks can help. You’re not alone – we’re here to help you.

Anna’s story

Feeling low, Anna didn’t want to check her bank balance, so started making all her payments from her credit card.

When her next credit card bill arrived and was much higher than she expected, she felt overwhelmed. Anna was worried that she wouldn’t be able to pay all her monthly bills and didn’t know where to find help.

After putting her weekly food shop on her credit card so she could pay her utility bills, Anna’s brother persuaded her to give us a call.

Anna’s next steps

  • Anna spoke to her bank, where she explained everything including why she needed help reorganising her finances. Her bank recommended signing up to her online banking tool to help her keep an eye on her balances
  • They worked together and created a repayment plan, so Anna could manage her day-to-day expenses while still making repayments
  • Before agreeing to the monthly repayment plan, Anna would’ve been notified that it would be reported to Credit Reference Agencies, and that it could affect her ability to get credit in the future. However, entering into the repayment plan would be better for Anna than continuing to miss payments

Does your situation sound like Anna’s?

Does your illness mean you can’t work and are struggling to pay your bills? Help’s always at hand.

As soon as you feel like you might go through some financial difficulties, give your bank a call – it could help make things better.

To prepare for the call, have some information about your financial situation ready, including your incomes and outgoings. You might be talking for a while, as your bank will want to understand your situation in detail, so make sure you set aside some time.

If you’re a Barclays customer, here are some numbers you can reach us from.

  • Mortgages – 0333 202 7492. Lines are open Monday to Thursday, 8am to 8pm and Saturday 9am to 1pm
  • Barclaycard – 0800 046 8324. Lines are open every day from 9am to 9pm
  • Overdraft and Barclayloan – 0345 600 4545. Lines are open Monday to Sunday, 8am to 9pm
  • Premier – 08009 247 365. Lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Self-employed or have a business? Get some support.

Call charges

Free help and advice

If you’ve got more financial commitments than you can manage or have debt with other creditors, contact National Debtline or StepChange for free advice on the phone or online.

If you need to see somebody in person, contact Citizens Advice.

How close are you to a debt problem?

If you’re concerned about your finances, try StepChange Debt Charity’s 60-second debt test – a few simple questions will tell you if you need advice and where to get it.

These services can provide further help and support

  • NHS Live Well – advice and support for those struggling with illness
  • Entitledto – for specialist benefits advice
  • Money Advice Service – for free impartial information and tools on how to deal with your money

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