Julia* became a Money Matters client at the end of 2013. When Julia was made redundant from her Head of Department role in 2011, her life started to unravel. Not long after the redundancy, her father passed away. Julia talks about the impact of losing a key member of her support system:
“I felt as if I had had a mental breakdown. My GP referred me to a psychiatrist and after many assessments, I was diagnosed with Bi-Polar Disorder.”
Julia became desperate, struggling to cope with her mental health problems and her grief, all the while being the primary carer for her disabled son. As her life became increasingly dysfunctional, the formerly confident professional ran up significant credit card debt and secured several loans against her property to the point where unpaid mortgage arrears put her home at risk of repossession.
“My panic attacks were increasing and my anxiety and stress levels were at their worst. I couldn’t see myself ever returning to a normal life. The ongoing money worries were affecting my son’s health as well, and putting a strain on our relationship.”
The Money Matters team supported Julia on her journey to regaining control of her life, performing a benefits check and helping her with the application process to access the right benefits for her situation.
At this point, Julia had also been diagnosed with Ménière’s Disease (affecting both her hearing and balance) and struggled to manage her condition unaided. Despite this, her application for Personal Independence Payment was declined. With our intervention, Julia launched an appeal and the decision was successfully overturned.
We carried out an evaluation of all of Julia’s finances and we found the only reasonable solution available for her, with £100k debt, was bankruptcy. Money Matters applied for a grant from the Severn Trent Trust Fund on Julia’s behalf to cover the costs of the bankruptcy application and court fees (around £700), which was granted and supported her through the bankruptcy application process.
The process of applying for bankruptcy itself can be quite stressful, and Money Matters undertook a lot of work to make that interim period between application and decision as manageable for Julia as possible, including negotiating with creditors to either accept token payments or none and forestalling full and final payment requests against her.
Much to Julia’s relief, her bankruptcy application was successful and her debt written off. She was given the opportunity to start her life afresh.