LIFELINE is a voluntary, confidential, FREE, service that provides benefits eligible employees and their dependents with counseling and referral services. It is an employee benefit sponsored by HealthQuest, the State of Kansas employee health promotion program.
Feeling the After-Holidays Financial Crunch
Be a savvy consumer of debt counseling or debt management programs. It's an unfortunate truth that not everyone offering to help you get control of your finances has your best interest at heart.
While a loan to consolidate all of your debt and after-holiday bills into a single obligation is appealing and may have a lower interest rate than credit card interest rates, make sure that you can really repay that amount. Understand clearly the terms, including the interest rate on the loan. It may be that even lowering the interest rate does not make your present debts manageable, but just postpones the day of reckoning.
Find out whether the loan will pay off over the life of the loan, or whether you will owe a “balloon” lump sum payment at the end. For many borrowers, balloon payments are just an invitation to another loan, and you never get free of the debt.
Understand the Debt Counseling Program and Don’t Overpay
If you participate in a program where a service negotiates with your creditors or makes payments on your debts for you, understand whether the service promises to lower the amount you owe or the interest rate you pay, or just promises to lower the payments you make every month, without significantly changing your obligation. Know what happens if a creditor won't negotiate.
Make sure the program deals with all your debt. Some debt counselors confine themselves to dealing with your unsecured commercial creditors, excluding your other on-going obligations like child support or unpaid taxes. There are several debt management firms that charge reasonable fees. Approach all services, even not-for-profits, with caution. Make sure that the service is worth what it costs and doesn’t make your situation worse.
The LIFELINE Program May be Able to Help
It’s easy to understand how those after-the-holiday bills can start piling up. The LIFELINE Employee Assistance Program (EAP) wishes to remind you that they understand the stress involved when personal finances become stretched. Call them confidentially at 800-284-7575 and they will send you a free copy of “Out of Hock and Out of Debt,” a guidebook of proven simple strategies that can help you regain control of your finances.
Also, ask about having financial consultations with a professional - at no cost to you.
Summary of CORE LIFELINE Employee Assistance Services
Call LIFELINE 1-800-284-7575 at any time, day or night 7 days a week for help handling life's stresses. State of Kansas benefits eligible employees and their dependent children can receive the following benefits:
1-4 face-to-face sessions (per issue) with an EAP counseling service for a wide variety of problems:
- Day-to-day stresses
- Depression and anxiety
- Major life traumas
- Problems with co-workers or supervisor
- Stress due to layoffs or furloughs
- Marital and family issues
- Drug and alcohol issues
The following services are also available:
- Elder care consultations with an elder care specialist
- Legal consultation with an attorney - one per year
- Financial consultations with a professional
- Extended benefit for employees and immediate family members for 6 months after any layoff action.
- Healthy Life Programs
- Life Coaching (employee only)
- Healthy Weight Program (employee and dependents)
Take advantage of this valuable employee benefit. For help with the day-to-day stressors of life, simply call LIFELINE at 1-800-284-7575 any time, day or night 7 days a week. That's all you need to do. Just pick up the phone. Your call with be completely confidential.