A new financial advice service has secured families living with the degenerative brain disorder, Huntington’s disease (HD), an extra £610K of income.
The Scottish Huntington’s Association’s three strong Financial Wellbeing team was set with help from the Big Lottery Fund a year ago and since then has worked with more than 250 families securing extra benefit income of around £2500 per family on average.
The SHA is the only charity in the country supporting HD families.
‘The debilitating nature of the disease means that people need to stop working relatively early with 67% of families affected living on an income below the national average and 33% living below the poverty line,’ said SHA chief executive, John Eden.
“This service is proving vital in helping families get money that they are entitled to, but perhaps didn’t know about.”
HD is a hereditary progressive condition that causes changes to muscle control, thinking processes and long-term mental health issues. The average age of onset is between 33 and 45 and those living with the condition will require 24 hour care as it progresses into its later stages. Each child of someone diagnosed with HD is at 50% risk of developing the condition themselves. There is no cure.
It is estimated that there are around 1100 people living with the condition in the country with another 5000 potentially at risk.
The team works with individuals and families living with HD to advise them on benefits and guide them through the complex world of personal and family financial planning.
‘People living with HD have an enormous amount of stress to deal brought on by their medical condition, they should not need to worry about their financial situation on top of this,” added John.
“It is not just about day to day finances either, people living with HD know that eventually they will no longer be in control of their own affairs, our team can help them prepare for this to ensure that everything is in order when this time eventually comes.”
More information available at www.hdscotland.org.
SHA Financial Wellbeing Advisers Iain Thomson, Katrina Lovie and Jo Baldock.