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Anyone can lose their income

A freak accident with a drill put Andrew Mitchell out of work. 

Six months later and his finances haven’t recovered…

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An accident last year cost Andrew Mitchell big. His financial reality – and even future – changed. 

Adding salt to the fresh wound, Andrew was initially misdiagnosed: it took one week and three visits to A&E before a correct diagnosis of a broken hand was given. 

A broken hand has a hugely debilitating effect on so many different jobs: from computer programmer to electrician, designer to bricklayer, almost every job requires fully-functioning hands! Andrew faced months out of action.

Statutory sick pay

With his hand in a cast, simple things – such as sleeping, dressing and washing – were a challenge, work became impossible.

Andrew’s employer didn’t have the resources to reallocate him, and he wasn’t entitled to sick pay. 

Alarm bells rang loudly as the Mitchells realised one half of the household income was about to disappear. Andrew was eligible for the UK’s standard Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) – just over £70 per week.

Andrew’s partner now had to absorb a big financial burden: funding two lives on her salary. If Andrew had been alone, it would have been even worse.

Going backwards

Relying on a single income wasn’t easy for the Mitchell household. Like all of us, they had running costs, obligations and debts; they had hobbies and interests and enjoyed a certain lifestyle. 

Now with their household income collapsing, everything had to be re-assessed. They felt like they were taking a step back in life; with all non-essentials struck off:

Spotify: cancelled

Netflix: cancelled

Sky TV: cancelled

Nights out: cancelled

Booze: cancelled

The couple had to shelve holiday plans and postpone a planned visit to see family. It also put their mortgage at risk.

Income protection

Given Andrew’s situation, Income Protection would’ve made all the difference.

Income Protection pays out 70-80% of your salary every month if you’re ever signed off work sick or injured. It continues paying out until you return to work, exit the job, or until the end of the policy term. 

Payments begin after a pre-agreed deferment period. People generally choose a deferment period that coincides with their employer-sick-pay, if it exists at all. 

Income Protection exists to ensure people can avoid the stress of a sudden loss in income and largely maintain the lifestyle they’re used to.

(Financial) recovery

The cast coming off wasn’t the end of Andrew’s tale of woe. Long term immobility had taken their toll on Andrew’s muscles and he needed several lengthy rounds of physiotherapy.

Given the lag between working and getting paid, Andrew and his partner faced an extra period of scraping by before they could get financially back on their feet.

All in all it was a six-month struggle. And Andrew fell behind in some of his credit obligations. 

That means the aftershocks are still being felt to this day. Six months on, Andrew is still working hard to repair damage done to his credit score – something he has to do if he and his partner are to, once again, start planning their future. 

“Income Protection wasn’t on my radar in 2019,” says Andrew. “But having it would have saved us six months of hardship and struggle. 

“Part of me is able to laugh that a silly accident with a drill cost me my income. It makes a good story. But the reality wasn’t funny. We struggled to make ends meet and, in all honesty, I think it’ll be another year before we’re back where we were; able to see and plan the future we want.”

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