I'm worried about the costs of paying my mortage or rent

If your baby is on a neonatal unit, you may find it's having an impact on your finances. You might have to take unpaid leave from work, or have additional costs.

This might impact on your ability to pay your bills including your mortgage or rent. Find out more below.

Or take a step back to explore other food and accommodation issues.

What can I do if I'm struggling to pay my mortgage or rent?

We understand this can be a very stressful time, with your baby on a neonatal unit and also having financial challenges. There are people who can help.

Everyone's financial situations are very individual and personal so what might work for one family might not be the right solution for another. It's important to find some support to help you work out the best option for you.

You might also be able to find support from other advice charities who support people locally – either where you live or around the hospital. You can ask the staff on the unit for more information.

Advice charities like Housing Rights or Advice NI can also provide support for you.

Financial support for those on a low income

Being on an lower income means that you are likely to able to claim benefits which can help you. You might be able to claim support for housing costs directly, help to increase your income or to help with other costs.

The benefits system can be complicated and it can help to have some support from an expert, particularly if you are dealing with the extra stress of your baby being unwell and on a neonatal unit.

Some units are able to provide family support workers, who often know about benefits, or volunteers with time to help you think through what your options are. You might be put in touch with local organisations that can provide support. Most services will be able to talk to friends or relatives on your behalf if you wish them to do so.

The Advice NI website has information about benefits, and Turn2us have a benefit calculator. This can take some time to complete, but will give you information specific to your situation.

It's normal to feel embarrassed or unsure about asking for help with finances. But health professionals know that having a baby on a neonatal unit can cause hardship, and pointing you in the right direction is part of their role.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a means-tested benefit to help with living costs. Means-tested benefits are available to people who can demonstrate that they have a low income.

You will need to be over 18. You can be in work or not working, and you’ll need to not be in education. You will need to agree to prepare for and look for work. How much Universal Credit you can get will depend on the income and circumstances of all the members of your household and capital – things like property and savings.

Visit the NIdirect.gov.uk for more information about Universal Credit.

I need help to pay my mortgage

If you are struggling to pay your bills, paying your mortgage should be a high priority.

If you are falling behind on your payments, you will need to make an arrangement with your lender. You can do this by explaining your circumstances to them. If you have a good payment record, your lender might be agree a temporary payment plan.

You might want to talk with an independent expert adviser before you approach your lender. This is especially true if you have other debts to sort out.

You might be able to get some advice to help you to talk to your mortgage provider.

There are many sources of free advice such as the below and Advice NI have a free helpline. You can ask the staff on the unit for more information.

I would like to talk to someone at Bliss

We are here to help you with emotional and practical support.

Get in touch at hello@bliss.org.uk

We are here Monday to Friday, except bank holidays.