Sickness has affected many of us at some time or another, and while we always advocate income protection when ensuring your finances are protected should the worst happen, what if this isn’t something you had in place?

Check out these tips to helping survive financially if you find yourself unable to work due to sickness or injury.

Sick Pay:
The first avenue for many of us to explore if we find ourselves suddenly unable to work, is sick pay from your employer. Your employment handbook and/or HR department will be able to assist with company policy around sick pay, if there’s no policy in place or you fall outside of the policy for whatever reason, you should qualify for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) currently paid at £95.85 per week. If your employer is refusing to pay SSP (or refusing to pay the full amount), contact the HMRC statutory payment dispute team.
When you think you are able to return to work, remember that you can ask your employer for accommodations to help you perform your job safely and comfortably. For example, requesting non-standard equipment that’s adapted for your physical needs.

Legal Compensation:
Not every instance of sickness or injury is going to have a legal route to pursue, but if you’re suffering as a result of someone else’s actions (or negligence), you may be entitled to financial compensation. It’s compulsory for UK workplaces to have Employers Liability Insurance in case of accidents and injuries.

Money & Mental Health
Being signed off sick, or as a result of an injury can have significant consequences for our mental health. Money worries, will add to the stress you’re already under so looking at ways to refine your financial health can help address your stress level, mental health and help you feel in control of a situation that may otherwise feel overwhelming.

Benefits
Take a look at what benefits you may be entitled to, especially if you are signed off for a long period of time. Universal Credit is the new system to replace Income Support, Housing Benefits, tax credits and the previous Employment and Support Allowance scheme. You can claim Universal Credit in addition to SSP and/or ESA, or as an alternative if you don’t qualify.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is financial support for people who struggle with everyday tasks and have difficulty getting about (previously called Disability Living Allowance). If your illness, injury or disability has affected you for at least 3 months, and is expected to last for at least another 9 months, you should qualify.
PIP provides between £23.60 and £151.40 a week, depending on the severity of your condition, but it is not affected by your existing income or savings. Universal Credit is means tested, however, so will be affected by your savings, income, and spouse’s income.

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