Support when the world comes crashing down
2 September 2014
"Geoff was always very active, but he now has brain damage, gets very forgetful, plus he gets very, very unsteady on his feet." – (Wife) Val
Val and Geoff had both always worked full-time, Val as an accounts clerk and Geoff in manufacturing. Then, in September 2012, Geoff collapsed with a subarachnoid haemorrhage, a class-five aneurism and a number of strokes. Val says, “Geoff’s sickness just absolutely rocked our world”.
Today Geoff has speech difficulties, decreased concentration and short-term memory loss. He can no longer drive or work. He is unsteady when he moves and has little use of one arm.
Val explains that it was a particularly stressful time in her life. “My mum had died in England in the March, Geoff collapsed in September, he was in hospital all October and my dad died in November. I got to see mum, but couldn’t afford after Geoff’s illness to return home to say goodbye to dad.”
After Geoff’s collapse and surgery, Val had no choice but to become Geoff’s full-time carer, effectively losing her income as well.
The couple had always paid their bills, but Val says once their income stopped, the bills began to mount up with startling speed. Then the bill collectors began phoning relentlessly.
Told about The Salvation Army’s Moneycare service, Val contacted a financial counsellor in a Queensland office. The counsellor then contacted all the creditors to say he would be the only contact point from that time on.
“It was a time of horrible stress, so that was a big relief,” Vals says.
She says the most important thing Moneycare offered in the early days was “breathing space” and negotiation for release from a number of debts. Negotiations were also made with the finance company to keep the couple’s car until a very small inheritance (just enough to pay off the car) came through from Val’s mum’s estate.
With ongoing medical treatment at the hospital and Geoff unable to walk any distance, Val says life without the car would have been incredibly difficult.
“It was just amazing,” Val says. “Without Moneycare, we probably would have had everything taken from us by now. That’s how I was imagining our future.”
The Salvation Army Moneycare is a leading provider of financial counselling and financial literacy education in Australia, conducting in-depth case work with about 5,000 clients per year. It conducts around 250 community education sessions per year. The service also operates a centralised no-interest loans program (Salvos NILS ) and to date has provided more than $1 million in loans for essential goods and services to people in need.