So where do I start?
Starting to look at your finances can feel overwhelming, particularly when you already have your heart condition and overall health to think about.
To help you make a start, the Money Advice Service, an independent advice organisation who are there to help everyone understand and manage their money better, offer free financial help and advice.
They will give you a personalised action plan to help you sort out your money priorities now, and to plan for the future. You will need to answer some straightforward questions (it takes around 5 minutes to complete) to get a personalised action plan that should help you work out what to do first. You can also call their confidential helpline on 0300 500 5000 for more help.
What benefits or assistance am I entitled to?
If your heart condition has affected your ability to work, to care for yourself, or your mobility, you may be entitled to some financial support and benefits, such as:
- Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if you are unable to work because of your heart condition.
- Allowance to help with personal care
- Help with travel costs to attend medical appointments
- Money savings on prescriptions.
Access to benefits may also depend on your finances, age and how long you’ve lived in the UK, as well as your health.
Where can I go for help?
Our research has shown that the benefits system can be confusing for many heart patients. To make it easier, we’ve listed some good places to get more advice.
National benefits advice
Directgov can give you more information on the benefits and financial support you’re entitled to. They also have an online benefits advisor.
If you’re already claiming Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), this may be replaced by the new benefit system called Universal Credit. If you’re worried that this change affects you, contact the Money Advice Service for more information.
Turn2us is a charity helping people get the money available to them through benefits, grants and other financial help. They can help you find appropriate sources of financial support and local advisors quickly and easily, based on your own personal needs. They also offer a free online benefits calculator.
Scottish benefits advice
In Scotland, Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland (CHSS) and the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) have appointed three Benefits Advisors to help give advice and information about social security benefits to people in need of assistance.
If you are worried about money or debt, it is really important to speak to someone who can provide you with support and advice as soon as possible. The Citizens Advice Bureau and National Debtline both provide free, confidential, and independent advice on debt and money issues.
Am I entitled to free prescriptions?
To find out whether you are exempt from paying some or any prescription charges, or for help with other health costs such as dental treatment or eye care, contact the NHS Patient Services Helpline on 0300 330 1343 or visit NHS Choices.
If you are paying for four or more prescription items in three months, or more than fourteen items in twelve months, you may find it cheaper to buy a Prescription Prepayment Certificate (PPC).
Prescriptions are currently free in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. We are a member of the Prescription Charges Coalition, which campaigns hard to try and get the Government to keep its promise and end prescription charges for everyone with long-term conditions in England. If you would like to share your experience of how prescription charges are affecting you, contact us online or call 020 7554 0259.
For more information on this and other campaigns, read our treatment and care policy on prescription charges and our campaign to change NHS hospital car parking charges so that they do not provide barriers to patients seeking care.
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