Paying for Medical and Care Expenses with Credit Card
Fiona is a 53-year-old Private Hire Driver. She earns an income of $32,000 a year (excluding rental income) and owed a total of $88,000 to 6 financial institutions. The main cause of indebtedness is due to higher expenses arising from medical and care expenses of her late spouse.
CCS : How did using credit cards got you into a problem of debt?
Fiona : I had to use my credit cards to pay for my late husband’s medical treatment and nursing home expenses that amounted to about $200,000.
CCS : Can you share more about what happened?
Fiona : My late husband was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and cancer in his early fifties. He was forced to retire at age 55 due to his medical conditions.
Unfortunately, his condition worsened and had to be cared for in a nursing home. He passed away in 2016 after spending 7 years in the nursing home.
CCS : How did you realise you may have a credit card debt problem?
Fiona : At the beginning, I was relying on my business income to support his medical treatment.
Later, I had to close my F&B business as I could not find enough workers to operate it.
Following that, I started working as a Private Hire Driver, rented out spare rooms for additional income and depleted my savings, but I still could not repay the credit card bills.
CCS : Did you share your debt problem with anyone?
Fiona : Yes, I shared with my family. They provided emotional support but could not provide long term financial support because my late husband was in a nursing home for a long time.
CCS : What / who prompted you to seek assistance from CCS?
Fiona : I sought help at Meet-the-People session and was referred by the Member of Parliament.
CCS : While on DMP, were there trying moments that made you feel like giving up? If yes, how did you manage to overcome the situation?
Fiona : 2 years after DMP was set up, my income as a Private Hire Driver was drastically reduced due to Covid 19.
I sought CCS’ help, and it told me a bank assistance scheme to allow borrowers to temporarily pay interest only for a year before resuming the agreed monthly instalments.
I applied for the scheme, and it helped me to tie over the difficult Covid months. I also forced myself to avoid incurring new debts, focused on repayment and reduced unnecessary spending.
CCS : What do you intend to do with the monthly instalment amount after you have completed your DMP?
Fiona : I will retire as a Private Hire Driver and perhaps look for work that I can do at a slower pace.
CCS : Please share a word of advice to people who are on a DMP.
Fiona : They should follow the DMP payments approved by the banks.
If faced with difficulties during the DMP journey, they can call CCS to ask for advice and assistance to find a suitable solution.
An interview with a CCS Client – This is the eighth of a series of interviews conducted with Credit Counselling Singapore’s (CCS) counselled clients on our Debt Management Programme.
Profile of the client is presented based at the time the person approached CCS for assistance, which could be as recent as a few months ago or several years ago. Name of the interviewed client has been changed.
These interviews will be published on the 3rd Friday of the month.
Credit Counselling Singapore
Published 17 February 2023.