Manage Your Money Do you worry about money? If so, you’re not alone. We know from our community that it’s common for people with bipolar to have money worries. Maybe you’ve had periods of impulsive spending in the past. Maybe you’re unable to work and living on a really low income. Maybe you find it hard to budget. Worrying about money can increase your stress levels, which in turn can trigger bipolar symptoms. That’s why it’s so important to get on top of your finances. On this page: Deal with your debt Get the right benefits Find travel insurance Deal with your debt If you have unpaid loans and/or an unmanageable overdraft, getting on top of your debt can help you avoid an unhelpful spiral of worry. Acknowledge you are in debt Instead of burying your head in the sand, have the courage to face up to your money issues. Telling someone you trust, such as a family member or friend, can help you feel less alone. This is often the most difficult step, but people tell us time and again that just talking to someone about debt worries helps to reduce your stress levels and lower your risk of bipolar symptoms. Get free professional advice If you’re in debt, you’re entitled to free professional help to manage your finances. Why not lower your stress levels by finding the best scheme for you? PayPlan offers free, confidential, expert advice around debt management to help you make a plan to get your debts and payments under control. It can also provide personalised advice on a range of money-related subjects, such as bailiffs, legal action and benefits. We are working with Pay Plan to help their advisors understand the problems people with bipolar often face and to provide a faster referral process for our bipolar community. If you would like to speak with one of their advisors, please email [email protected] or click here. Breathing Space is a ‘Debt Respite Scheme’ run by the government. Depending on your individual situation, the scheme may help you freeze interest and charges on your debts for a set period of time. If you’re currently under the care of a crisis support team you may be entitled to extra support, too. There’s a ‘chat to an advisor’ button on the website where you can ask questions. StepChange Debt Charity Fill out a quick questionnaire in two minutes and you’ll get free advice on problem debt. Turn2UsA national charity where you can get access to welfare benefits, charitable grants and support services if you have money issues. Debt Support TrustFriendly advisors either online or via the helpline will give you step-by-step advice to getting back on track with your finances. National DebtlineA free, confidential debt-advice service where you can get help with dealing with your debts. Money Saving ExpertAs well as lots of money-saving tips and advice, you can download a helpful free booklet ‘Mental health and debt’. Get the right benefits If you have a diagnosis of bipolar you may be entitled to benefits, which are cash payments paid by the government to those on a low income or because of specific needs, such as a disability or illness. Disability benefits If you have difficulties with daily living needs, getting around or need a carer’s help because of your bipolar you could be entitled to: Personal Independence Payment (PIP) Attendance Allowance (this helps with extra costs if you need someone to support you) These benefits are not means tested. The amount you are awarded is based on your level of disability and not your current financial situation. This means that it doesn’t matter if you are in work or have savings Sick pay / low income benefits If you are unable to work or you have a low income because of your bipolar, you could be entitled to: Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) Universal Credit Income Support Tax Credits Pension Credit Housing Benefit Council Tax Reduction 3 websites to help you find your way through the benefits maze: The Citizens Advice Bureau The government’s Benefits Calculator The Money Saving Expert Benefits Calculator Find travel insurance Travel insurance is essential if you’re travelling overseas. Just make sure that your insurance covers: pre-existing conditions (any condition you have at the time you apply for insurance). You’ll need to declare that you have bipolar so that you're fully covered. If you don’t tell the insurance company about your bipolar, it may not pay out if you make a claim. a return journey in case you need to change your travel arrangements because you become unwell.