Financial security and wellbeing are extremely important. Money worries can feel overwhelming and cause considerable anxiety. On the other hand, if you feel confident that current needs are taken care of, as well as having financial plans in place for the future, it is easier to focus on the things in life that matter to you most.
1. Welfare benefits
Navigating the welfare benefit and tax credit system can be highly complex and challenging and we recommend seeking advice that is tailored to your specific circumstances.
If you have Huntington’s disease, you may be entitled to specific benefits such as the Supported Living Payment benefit and Disability Allowance. If you care for someone with Huntington’s disease, you also may be eligible for the Supported Living Payment benefit.
Work and Income New Zealand (WINZ) is the government ministry department that deals with benefits and provides financial assistance in New Zealand.
For more information on what you may be entitled to, check out their website here.
Problematic debt issues affect people from all walks of life with the most common cause being a significant alternation in circumstances such as a change in work, health, or a relationship breakdown.
Debt can be an intimidating subject, however there is specialist support available. WINZ can provide financial assistance to those who need to recover debts. Free debt advice is also available from many other agencies throughout New Zealand For helpful online guides and to search for free advice you can also visit https://www.moneytalks.co.nz/
3. Financial planning and products
Our service can provide guidance and information on topics including Power of Attorney, care costs, insurance, pensions, funeral plans, and mortgages. The service can help you to understand some of the law and options available, as well as how your HD status could affect access to certain products such as insurance. Depending on your circumstances, we may recommend that you seek further legal or financial advice, and we can provide guidance and support with this process.
You can find free legal advice and assistance from several services here.
Helping others to manage their money
Power of Attorney and Guardianship (PPPR Act 1988) are two ways in which you can support others to manage their money when they are unable to do so themselves. A Power of Attorney is a legal document that is set up in advance of it being needed to give you the opportunity to make decisions about who you would want to manage your affairs, should you not be able to do so in the future. Guardianship (PPPR Act 1988) is an option when someone you care for has lost capacity and has not appointed a Power of Attorney. Your HD Specialist can provide further guidance. You can also read our factsheet about future planning.
Many people can have worries about the cost of care, whether that is now or in the future. Everyone in New Zealand is entitled to free personal and nursing care when they are assessed as needing it, however there can still be considerable other costs, whether that be for care in your own home or residential care. Understanding how you could be affected can be a useful way of planning for the future and minimizing a financial shock during a time that is often already a significant transition in your life. Our service can provide guidance in this area.
Wills and inheritance
It is important to consider making a Will regardless of whether or not you have many assets such as property or money. This is because if you don’t have a Will then the law will dictate who will inherit from you, and this may not always be in the way that you wanted it to happen. For instance, if you are living with your partner when you die, but not married or in a civil partnership, then they will not automatically inherit your money unless you have a Will. There can also be complex issues in relation to, for instance, tax that you may wish to seek advice on.
Some types of insurance, such as life insurance, can be affected by your Huntington’s disease status and for those who are symptomatic it can be harder to access certain products. No matter what your HD status is, however, there are usually options available. Our team can talk through your goals with you and explore what may be available. In many cases we may recommend specialist insurance advice for you to find a product tailored to your specific circumstances.
It is always a good idea to plan ahead with pensions and to understand what your options will be, now and in the future. If you have had to give up work early due to ill health, there may be a facility to claim your pension early. However, it is important to fully understand the options available and any implications on making a claim, for instance on benefit entitlement. Our team can help you to understand and explore these options and, depending on the situation, further advice from a Financial Adviser may be recommended.
People at risk of Huntington’s disease are sometimes concerned that their HD status will affect their ability to take out a mortgage, however this is not necessarily the case. In general, a lender will be most concerned about your ability to pay the mortgage and factor in your income level, security of employment and credit record when making a lending decision. It is not usual for life insurance to be a requirement of taking out a mortgage.
There are a range of options that can be considered for someone concerned about how their funeral will be paid for. This can include savings, an insurance policy, pre-paid funeral plans and government or charitable grants. Our will talk through your goals and choices and how you can take this forward.
Paying for fuel, including gas and electricity, and keeping your home warm can be a huge source of anxiety for many. It is a good idea to review your energy bills regularly, for instance checking you are happy with your payment method, provider, and tariff – and considering whether cheaper deals are available.
Depending on your circumstances, and usually whether you are in receipt of certain benefits, you may be entitled to additional help with your energy. This can include the Winter Energy Payment.
You may also wish to consider your energy efficiency and whether you could be entitled to receive help to install measures in your home such as a new heating system or insulation.