National Debt Awareness week: supporting veterans to overcome debt

Grace Andrews General, Getting you back to work

Debt can be hard to talk about. Many of the veterans we support into employment have financial issues, including being in debt. Leaving the Forces can be a hard transition for some, and many find it hard to secure long term employment which can lead to financial difficulties.
National Debt Awareness Week (March 21 to 27) is an opportunity to help individuals open up and get the help they need. Anyone can fall into debt – for all kinds of reasons.

Top tips from our Employment Consultants

Our Employment Consultants work closely with veterans to work through any challenges they may be facing. Here are some of their tips for any veterans who may be struggling with debt:

  • Don’t be afraid of debt, tackle it head on and get the right advice from the experts. See links below. 
  • It’s useful to make a list of essential bills like mortgage/rent, heating, water and food, and if payments are getting behind speak to the payment organisation as soon as possible.
  • It’s helpful to know your legal rights. Your Local Citizens Advice Bureau may hold clinics for money management.
  • Work on tackling the debt first before improving your credit score. Once the debts are being addressed through an affordable repayment scheme or bankruptcy, it will be easier to focus on other things.
  • You can also contact your local authority for advice about saving money on energy bills and information on local grants or schemes you may be entitled to.
  • There is a lot of support out there from a national and local perspective. Military charites such as The Royal British Legion and SSAFA offer financial support, as too does debt support charity Step Change.

Opening up

Our Employment Consultants are on hand to support veterans with health conditions on their journey into meaningful employment. Part of their support is to understand the veteran’s current situation and that can include talking about issues that may be hard to come to terms with. It can be hard for veterans to admit they need financial help, and often it takes a few face to face meetings until they feel comfortable enough to talk about it. 
Debt can trigger negative feelings such as shame, feeling judged or embarrassed, which in the long term can negatively affect mental health. Our Employment Consultants are a supportive voice, helping to connect veterans with debt support charities such as Step Change
With many concerned about the rising cost of living, and feeling the financial strain as a result of the pandemic, it’s never been more important to let people know that free debt help is available.  

Steve seeks support to weather the storm

After serving a full 23 years in the Royal Navy, Steve enjoyed a successful career in the NHS until alcohol, depression and debt took their toll. With support from The Poppy Factory, in partnership with the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity, Steve was able to find a new job close to home in Portsmouth, helping others who face their own struggles with mental health. Steve was supported into work by The Poppy Factory

Steve said: “I was £25,000 in debt with no job, and I was in deep trouble. There was no choice but to go bankrupt. I thought to myself, what are you doing? You’ve got no job and no life, now get your act together. After a year of sorting myself out, I wanted to get back into work because I’ve still got years ahead of me.

“I’m not in debt any more and I’ve been dry since June 2019, so at the moment I’m quite happy with the way things are going.”

Read Steve’s story here.
More you might like