'7 Families' gives one good reason we all need income protection

Graeme Snell has been unable to work since suffering a double stroke last July.

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This left Graeme – picture above with his girlfriend Fiona Wilson – facing financial meltdown as he had no income protection insurance to plug the gap left by the loss of his salary.

And that should serve as a stark warning to us all. With no cover in place, we’re all just a shock diagnosis or a serious accident away from potentially devastating money troubles – just at the point we’re least able to cope with them.

Fortunately for Graeme, the charity Disability Rights UK selected him to receive a tax-free income from the 7 Families charity campaign, which is supported by MoneySuperMarket.

Graeme's story

Last summer, Graeme Snell was fit and healthy, working full-time as an advanced health and wellbeing practitioner.

Then, one day in July, his life was thrown into turmoil when he suffered a double stroke that left him unable to earn a living.

And with no insurance to cover loss of income in the event of a serious illness or disability, he was left facing financial hardship on top of everything else.

Graeme, 42, from Greater Manchester, says: “My employer paid me sick pay until about three or four months ago. But since then I have only been getting statutory sick pay, which is less than £90 a week.”

When statutory sick pay comes to an end after 26 weeks of payment, a claimant has to apply for the Employment and Support Allowance, which pays a maximum of £108.15 after 13 weeks on a lower amount.

7 Families saves the day

Luckily, help arrived in the shape of the 7 Families campaign, which has offered Graeme £1,500 a month for one year, plus counselling and rehabilitation. The first payment is due later this month

“The money from 7 Families will be a great help,” he said. “I don’t know how I would manage otherwise.”

Graeme, whose high fitness level at the time of his double stroke has helped him to make an incredible recovery, is also excited about making further progress with 7 Families’ support.

“I’ve been very lucky,” he said. “There are some ongoing symptoms but overall I’m keen to return to work as soon as possible. That’s why the rehabilitation and support provided by the project are so important.” 

7 Families: raising awareness, reducing hardship

Launched in November 2014, 7 Families is providing and will provide a tax-free income for one year to seven individuals (and thus their families) who are unable to work due to illness or disability.

Supported by MoneySuperMarket and insurers such as Aviva, Scottish Widows and LV, the campaign is designed to provide practical and much-needed help to families, raise awareness of protection insurance cover, and demonstrate the benefits of rehabilitation.

Kevin Pratt at MoneySuperMarket said: “We’re delighted to support the 7 Families campaign. Every family faces the threat of financial hardship if the breadwinner is unable to work due to long-term illness or disability, so anything that can be done to raise public awareness of the issue is valuable.”

Every family faces the threat of financial hardship if the breadwinner is unable to work due to long term illness or disability

The families benefiting from the scheme, none of whom had income protection insurance in place, are based in different parts of the country and are dealing with a range of different health conditions and injuries.

Graeme Snell is the fifth beneficiary.

Jason Jaspal at Disability Rights UK said: "This campaign is focused on highlighting what really happens financially when people cannot work.”

Chosen by the charity, they include Paul Pickford, a car salesman who suffered a brain stem stroke in 2012 and is now cared for by his wife Vicky, and Tracey Clarke, who lost almost all her eyesight in 2011.

Peter Le Beau of 7 Families said: “Each family will have access to financial advice from a range of volunteer financial advisers to help with basic finances and budgeting, and they will also have the opportunity to benefit from independent living, rehabilitation and counselling services.”

The bigger picture

Long-term illness and disability affect millions of UK families, with government figures showing that around 300,000 people a year fall out of work due to health-related issues …

- More than 2.5 million people claim Incapacity Benefit/Allowance
2.2 million people of working age are off work for at least 6 months at any one time through sickness and disability.

Those affected often have higher living costs as a result…

- On average, people with disabilities pay £500 a month more in living costs, with more than one in 10 paying more than £1,000 a month more
-
Some 83% of people with cancer are £570 a month worse off than before they had the diagnosis.

But fewer than half of workers have income protection, which typically pays out between 60% and 80% of your salary if you become unable to work

- More than two in five (41%) employees would have to rely on their savings to preserve their lifestyle if they could not work due to illness or injury.

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