The stroke Journey A fresh start 6. Money and finance Money and finances There are a wide range of finance-related matters that can affect stroke survivors, their carers and families. Most people who have had a stroke will be entitled to some sort of income, either from their employer in the form of sick pay, or from the Department for Work and Pensions, or other statutory agencies. You may qualify for a number of different benefits. Some are based on your current income and any savings you may have and these means-tested benefits include income support, pension credit, housing benefit and council tax benefit. Non-means tested benefits, on the other hand, are based on national insurance contributions that you have made and include Employment and Support Allowance and Disability Living Allowance. The benefits system is complicated and the claims process can be difficult and time-consuming. If you are unsure whether you are entitled to any benefits or other financial support Citizens Advice Bureau, offers free advice Do not delay in making a claim because you do not have all the information you need or the right form. Certain benefits can start on the day you first make contact to say you want to claim. However, you will usually need to send in your claim form as soon as possible. If evidence is required, such as a letter from your doctor that you do not yet have, explain on the form that you will send it later. It is easy to forget what information has been given and by whom when you are making a claim. Keep copies of all letters and forms and take brief notes of the main points covered in any conversations, who you spoke to and when. You may need to refer back to these if there are delays in sorting out your claim or if your claim is refused and you wish to challenge the decision. Always tell your insurance company about your stroke. If you do not tell them, then your insurance cover may not be worth anything. The largest outgoing that most people have is a mortgage or rent and getting behind on payments could put you at risk of losing your home. If you are struggling to afford what you owe, you should speak to your mortgage lender or landlord as soon as possible to explain your circumstances and see if they can help. There will be procedures for dealing with cases like yours and they can talk you through your options to find out which one may be best for you. You should also check whether your repayments are covered by any insurance policy you have or whether state benefits may be available. Paying for care Your social worker will let the Financial Assessment Team know that you are getting care services. A financial assessment officer will then contact you to arrange to complete an assessment form. You will need to provide details of your income and savings and the information you give will help Adult Services to work out how much you should pay. As well as working out your charge, the financial assessment officer will help you to apply for any other social security benefits to which you may be entitled. If you have a carer, they could be entitled to a Carer’s Allowance and other benefits from the government as well.