Tackle money issues

At some point when you are living with chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML), your finances may be affected. This can be a common issue, so if you’re struggling, you’re not alone. Financial issues can also add to your worries if you are already stressed about having CML, but there are some simple ways to feel more in control.

Money can become a concern for many reasons. For example:

  • You may have to cut down on your working hours due to symptoms such as fatigue, which may reduce your earnings
  • Being diagnosed and living with CML may impact on your mental health. Difficulties with your mental health can mean you don’t manage your finances as well, and can also mean you need time off work
  • You might come up against some of the issues that can affect anyone’s finances – such as redundancy or relationship breakdown. Having CML to think about as well can make the situation feel overwhelming. And you may have less energy than usual to find solutions to the problems
  • Any pre-existing financial problems can become bigger. It’s easy to fall behind on paying back debts when you’re dealing with hospital appointments, symptoms, side effects and any worries about having CML
  • You may be trying to do lots of things to support yourself – such as eating healthy food, going to the gym, having counselling and trying treatments to help you relax. These are all very positive but the costs can add up if you haven’t been able to cut back in other areas, so you might be spending more than usual 

What you can do

It’s always best to face financial difficulties as quickly as possible, before they worsen. This may seem hard but you’re likely to feel more positive and in control of the situation once you start taking steps to manage it. These are some steps that may help:

  • Speak to your bank, mortgage lender, creditors and any other organisations you have financial arrangements with. When you explain your situation, they may be able to come up with suggestions to make things easier. It’s always best to be open – you may be surprised to learn your options
  • Talk to a trusted friend or family member who’s good with money. They may be able to help you see solutions you hadn’t seen before, so you can make some plans. And simply having the support can help you feel more confident
  • There is a range of financial support available for people living with health conditions, if you meet the right criteria. This can include government benefits such as Personal Independence Payment, Universal Credit, free prescriptions and help paying for dental treatment. Your healthcare team may be able to point you in the right direction, and there is more information on the government website, www.gov.uk. Charities also often have lots of helpful financial advice. Have a look at the finance sections of their websites. Other organisations, such as Citizens Advice in the UK, can also help

If you have a carer, they may be eligible for Carer’s Allowance. Carer’s Allowance is a benefit for people who regularly spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone with substantial caring needs. Carers may also be able to get help with health and care costs, including help paying for dental treatment, free prescriptions and help managing and paying for care support. For more information, visit www.gov.uk/carers-allowance.