Last updated on Jun 23rd, 2021 at 11:50 am

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how we view and live our lives. Not only has this caused stress and disrupted our mental and emotional wellbeing, but it has also created more stress around our finances than ever before.

Here’s how to reduce financial strain while taking care of your mental health.

Get an income protection plan

Although this has not yet become the case in South Africa, Liberty’s Dr Dominque Stott says historically, economic strife has lead to increased disability claims.

People seeking treatment for mental health may need to take time off work.This isn’t always considered sick leave by your employer. During this time, you may need to prioritise your mental health over your work with financial implications. 

“Having an income protection policy would pay a benefit for a period of time considered sufficient to afford this type of return-to-work plan to be followed,” says Dr Stott.

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“It is important to ensure that people have adequate benefits that protect their financial security and that of their families in the event of being diagnosed with any serious medical problems. This includes being diagnosed with significant mental difficulties, that are considered severe enough to result in having to take time off work. These benefits could include income protection, where the impairment is temporary, and capital disability benefits, where the impairment is declared permanent after all avenues of treatment have been pursued, and the necessary timeframe has been met,” she explains.

Make arrangments with your creditors 

Watching your bills pile up while you try to recover can delay your progress. If you are getting medical help for your mental health, you can be declared temporarily incapacitated by your doctor. 

The financial implications of not being able to work for some time could mean you fall behind on your bills. 

Alerting the creditors of your circumstances can activate insurance policies you could have on your credit. This can also allow you to qualify for payment holidays so you do not accrue unnecessary interest on your debt or have your non-payment reflect badly on your credit score or even create grounds for legal action.


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