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Real life: 'My illness led to financial hardship.'

The onset of an unexpected illness pushed Diane and her family into financial struggle - until they found help. Read Diane's story.


For many households, even those that have never struggled financially, just one unexpected change in circumstances can be all that's needed to push them into hardship. During our Benefits Awareness Month campaign, we heard from many people who had struggled as a result of unforeseen job loss, family breakdown, disability, and more. 

This includes Diane, whose illness led to financial hardship. Here she shares her experiences of overcoming her fears of asking for help…

“My husband and I were both in work and our financial situation was relatively comfortable. However, in the last few years, my husband started experiencing mental health problems, and had to take leave from work. Shortly after, symptoms of my existing health condition became worse and I too was forced to stop work.

Initially we managed to just about get by on sick pay, but when this amount was reduced by half, our struggles got worse. It became difficult to buy food and keep up with bills. The stress mounted and I just didn’t know what I was going to do.

A friend recommended Turn2us to me to see if I could be eligible for any support. I felt embarrassed and I suppose also a sense of shame about asking for help. However, although I was really nervous, I decided to call and the adviser made me feel completely at ease. It turned out I was entitled to Working Tax Credit and Employment and Support Allowance – benefits I had no knowledge of.

I now receive over £600 per month through these benefits, and I’m so glad I found this help – it’s taken off a lot of stress at a very difficult time.”

 I’m so glad I found this help – it’s taken off a lot of stress at a very difficult time.”


If you’re supporting people like Diane who have experienced a drop in income due to illness, you can find out whether they might be entitled to any support by using our free Benefits Calculator.

Our website also features a factsheet on financial support for illness, injuries and disabilities.