Having a loved one sustain a brain injury or any other serious personal injury, can have an immense impact on your life - not just in emotional terms, but from a financial perspective as well. If your partner is unable to work and you need to take time off work yourself for regular hospital visits, you may end up being hit with an unexpected financial strain on top of any emotional stress you are already experiencing. In cases such as this, if you’re struggling with your finances, there are some ways in which you can get immediate help to alleviate your stress, allowing you instead to concentrate on the things that matter most during this difficult time.
While there generally aren’t emergency funds that are readily available to individuals through government schemes, there are some local authority schemes that vary county to county, as well as a number of different charities and advice bureaus that exist to support those struggling financially when someone is in hospital.
As we understand what a stressful time this could be for you, we’ve put together this article to help you find all the information and advice you may need without spending a great deal of time researching online. We have broken the following article into 6 key areas.
- Local Authority Schemes
- Charitable Support
- Other Financial Support
- Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme (HTCS)
- Hospital accommodation for relatives
- Further Support & Advice
Local Authority Schemes
There are some local authority schemes which can provide emergency assistance should you need it. The following is an example of a local authority scheme and what you can expect when applying for help - though please note, these schemes can differ per county regarding what kind of support is provided.
Cheshire East Council
Who is eligible?
- If you live in Cheshire East or have moved there because you have a connection to the area.
- If you are considered vulnerable (each claim is looked at on an individual basis).
- You receive benefits:
- Or; you have exceptional circumstances and are on a low income,
- You are unable to get help from relatives or friends.
What support can be provided?
Those looking to apply for emergency assistance will need to expect to work with Cheshire East Council to help resolve your cause for requiring the emergency assistance. If you’re in a situation which is an emergency (for example, emergency food or travel), you will be contacted within one working day. Otherwise, you will be contacted in 10 working days for all other assistance where it will be explained what you need to do. Read more about the scheme and all details of how to apply by visiting the website here.
Headway: The Brain Injury Association
Headway is a UK charity that strives to improve life after brain injury. The registered charity helps by providing support, services and information for brain injury survivors, their families and/or carers. The charity provides a number of services such as carers, community outreach and rehabilitation programmes, and they also provide an emergency fund.
The emergency fund is specifically designed to assist those dealing with the sudden financial implications in the aftermath of a brain injury and can grant up to £500.
Who is eligible?
- Only one applicant per survivor of a brain injury will be considered.
- Families who face an increased financial burden after a brain injury.
- Applicants must reside in the United Kingdom.
- Families with savings of less than £1000.
What support can be provided?
Those looking to apply for a grant can also get some other support from the charity such as travel costs for families visiting relatives either in hospital or rehabilitation, travel costs for outpatients and even emergency accommodation costs. Read more about the fund, how to apply and what support is and isn’t included by visiting the website here.
Brain Injury is BIG
Brain Injury is BIG (B.I.G) is a support group for people who have loved ones who have serious or catastrophic brain injuries. B.I.G aim to provide a support network for families to help each other by using their personal experiences as well as helpful links and information. There is also a grant scheme that you can apply for which can help provide financial support of up to £500.
Who is eligible?
- The grant is only available to applicants living in the United Kingdom;
- In cases where the required funding cannot be met by the Clinical Commissioning Group, NHS England or other relevant bodies.
What can the grant be used for?
As funds are limited, the grant is available for acquiring specialist equipment, therapy assessments and treatments, emergency accommodation or travel costs for families visiting relatives in hospital or rehabilitation. You can learn more about the grant scheme and how to apply by visiting their website here.
Other Financial Support
Often, people don’t tend to consider the cost of things such as paying for hospital car parking if they’re only there for a short period of time. However, for people who have relatives in long-term care for a serious brain injury, these sorts of costs will begin to add up and add to the financial strain. A study by Macmillan looked into the costs of car parking for hospitals and found that the average daily cost is £7.66, not to mention the cost of travel to and from appointments (which can average £170 a month).
However, there are some discount schemes available from some hospitals to combat this for those needing to visit frequently. For instance, the Department of Health and Social Care provides guidance for NHS organisations for car parking principles which should be “reasonable”. However, concessions can be made where parking fees can be free, reduced or capped and should be made available to certain groups including visitors with relatives who:
- Are gravely ill, or carers of such people.
- Have an extended stay in hospital, or carers of such people.
In such cases, carers can be identified in the following:
Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme (HTCS)
If your partner has been referred to hospital for specialist NHS treatment, you may be able to claim back travel costs under the HTCS scheme. This scheme is provided to help with the travel cost for the patient, not for family members, but can still be beneficial in helping with your finances if you’re eligible and are taking a loved one to an appointment.
Who is eligible?
In order to claim back travel costs on the scheme, you need to meet the following three conditions:
- Either you or your partner must receive one of the qualifying benefits or allowances listed or meet the eligibility criteria for the NHS Low Income Scheme at the time of your appointment.
- Have a referral from a healthcare professional to either a specialist or a hospital for further NHS treatments or any tests.
- Your appointment is on a separate visit to when the referral was made.
Alternatively, if a patient doesn’t receive any of the qualifying benefits listed, but are on a low income with less than £16,000 in savings, they could be eligible for help with any NHS travel expenses.
Read more about the HTCS in detail, check your eligibility and find out how to apply by visiting the website here.
Hospital accommodation for relatives
What happens if your partner is receiving treatment in an ICU which isn’t close to home? For many people, they may try to make the journey to and from the hospital daily. Of course, this can incur a huge cost and put a further strain on your finances and become emotionally and physically draining. However, in some cases, some NHS hospitals could help provide accommodation within the hospital for those who would prefer to stay close to their relatives as a “home away from home”, or they may provide a list of reasonably priced nearby hotels and Bed and Breakfasts that they could use.
Further Support & Advice
If you need any further support or advice regarding serious brain injuries, there are many other organisations which can provide useful and helpful information should you need it such as The United Kingdom Acquired Brain Injury Forum (UKABIF).
UKABIF provide a useful ‘Head and Brain Injury Information Signpost’ which includes several categories of websites and resources such as support groups, publications and more which you can read about on the website here.
How a good solicitor can help you
You may think claiming compensation after a brain injury will be expensive and that you won’t have the finances to pay a solicitors’ fees, or that it will be difficult and complicated. However, this isn’t the case, as most serious injury solicitors work on a “no-win no-fee basis”. A good personal injury claims solicitor will not only have the knowledge and expertise to advise you on your claim to get the best settlement, but they may also help you to obtain much-needed emergency funds.
At CFG Law, we understand how stressful it is to be dealing with a loved one who has suffered a brain injury in an accident and the immediate impact this has on both the patient and everyone around them. As such, we have an emergency fund that our clients may be eligible for, depending on a number of criteria. This emergency fund can be used to pay for travel expenses for hospital visits, rehabilitation, counselling, purchasing specialist equipment to help recovery or any other immediate financial needs while the injured person is not earning any income.
Do you need some more advice and information on how to relieve your financial stresses?