Money Advice Service

If you’re finding it difficult to manage your money because you have a long-term health condition or you’re disabled, there are things you can do to make things easier. Follow these five steps to simpler money management.

Step 1 – Get paid straight into your bank account

It’s normally much easier to have all your income paid straight into your bank account.

You can still do this if you’re on benefits, getting sick pay or working part-time.

Getting paid like this is great because:

  • It saves you trips to the bank.
  • It’s safer than carrying cash around with you.
  • You don’t have to wait for a cheque to clear before getting your money.

If you haven’t got a bank account and think you might have trouble opening one because you have a low income or a poor credit history, you could apply for a basic bank account. These are the easiest to get.

Step 2 – Use Direct Debits and standing orders for bills

Once you’ve done your budget and know you’ve got enough coming in to match your spending, switch your regular bills to Direct Debit or standing order.

This is a good idea because:

  • You won’t need to worry about getting to the bank or to the post box.
  • Payments will be taken automatically so you won’t face any late payment penalties.
  • Many companies, councils and organisations give a discount for people paying by Direct Debit.

But be careful if your budget isn’t balanced. Bounced Direct Debits and standing orders can leave you facing heavy bank charges.

Step 3 – Make online payments or use telephone banking

For bills you can’t pay by Direct Debit or standing order, see if you can pay them using your online or telephone banking services.

If online banking isn’t for you, picking up the phone to pay a bill couldn’t be simpler. It’s quick, easy and safe to pay this way.

Step 4 – Use online or phone banking to keep track of your balances

It’s important to make sure you keep a close eye on your bank balance so you don’t go overdrawn and have to pay extra charges.

Online or phone banking can keep you up-to-date easily if you’re at home.

If you see some trouble ahead, think about calling your bank before they have to call you.

Step 5 – Get support from your bank

Banks have to make their information and services as accessible as possible for their disabled customers.

Support you can request includes:

  • Bank statements and other documents in Braille, large print and audio formats;
  • Low-level counters in branch and counters fitted with a hearing induction loop;
  • Chip and signature cards for those customers who are unable to memorise a PIN;
  • ATMs (cashpoint machines) that are wheelchair-accessible and have text-to-speech functionality.

Ask your bank what support they can offer you.

Getting someone to help you with day-to-day money

If you need help to do certain things, like getting cash out of the bank, you can find out more about your options and how to make arrangements to get support by following the links below:

If you’re worried about how much you’ve got to live on

Did you know?

You can get money off your bills by using Direct Debit to pay most energy and telephone companies.

If you’re worried about having enough to live on, take a look at our advice on making ends meet and claiming the benefits you’re entitled to.

See our money saving tips.

Find out more about how to sort out your money if you become ill or disabled.

If you don’t have a bank account

When opening an account, you’ll need to show proof of who you are and your address.

If you don’t have the right documents, ask the bank what they will accept instead.

Some banks will take a letter from a responsible person, like a teacher or a social worker, or a benefits notification letter.

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This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.