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Long-term Care Expenses: Sandy’s Journey Through Debt and Recovery

A medical crisis can strike at any moment. While a large proportion of hospitalisation and treatment costs could be covered by insurance, there are other costs involved for care, recovery, and follow-up consultations.

This is the story of Sandy.  At the time of sharing her story, she is 53 and works as a Private Hire Driver. When she approached CCS for assistance, she had accumulated a combined debt of about $85,000 owed to multiple banks.

Caring for an ailing spouse

Sandy’s 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 condition. Unfortunately, his condition worsened, and Sandy had to place him in a nursing home to receive round-the-clock care.

“I used my credit cards to pay for some of my late husband’s medical treatment and nursing home expenses.”

Although Sandy did share with her family about her situation, they were not in a position to assist financially.

At the beginning, Sandy was able to rely on her F&B business to provide sufficient income to pay for medical treatment.

But with mounting credit card bills and medical expenses, Sandy exhausted her savings. Later on, she experienced the passing of her husband, after staying seven years in the nursing home.

As her business begin to decline, Sandy said, “I had to close my business as I could not find enough workers to operate it. Following that, I also started working as a Private Hire Driver and rented out the spare rooms in my house for additional income”  in order to pay down the outstanding debt incurred.”

She finally sought help with CCS, after being referred by her Member of Parliament during a Meet-the-People session. Sandy managed to work out a debt repayment arrangement that was acceptable by her creditors.

COVID-19 pandemic outbreak

Sandy was given possibly the toughest challenge in her debt repayment journey – COVID-19. Her income was drastically reduced, and she felt like giving up.

“I again sought CCS help, and my credit counsellor informed me that banks had an 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, focus on repayment and reduce unnecessary spending.

Check out CCS Munch and Learn video on paying down your credit card debts here.

Life after DMP

After going through much personal hardships and experiencing many ups and downs, Sandy looks forward to better times when she completes her DMP.

“I will retire as a Private Hire Driver and perhaps look for work that I can do at a slower pace.”

When asked for a word of encouragement for the other debt-distressed people on DMP, Sandy shared that those looking to pay off their debts, “should follow the DMP payments approved by the banks. If faced with difficulties during the DMP journey, call CCS to ask for advice and assistance to find a suitable solution.”

Credit Counselling Singapore

Published 22 September 2023.