Man with 5p to his name

A man in his late forties has applied for Universal Credit as he is suffering with depression and anxiety.  He has an appointment at the job centre this Friday and is hoping to receive an advanced payment of his benefits.  This advanced payment will though have to be repaid.  At the moment he has only 5p to his name and hasn't received any money for the past few weeks.  We agreed to send him £30 to tide him over until Friday.

Tags : DWP Benefits UC AdvancedPayments Poverty

Wrapping up warm

We were asked to help a man who transitioned from high rate Disability Living Allowance to low rate care of Personal Independence Payments, meaning his benefits payments reduced dramatically.  He lives alone and has no one to rely on and deals with a number of medical conditions including depression and psychosis.  He managed to save up enough money to cover the cost of a Debt Relief Order application, but revealed to our agents that he is worried about how it is getting colder and he doesn't have enough money to buy a winter coat.  We agreed we would send him £50 to buy a coat from a charity shop and still have some money left over.  We received a reply later the same day, saying that he was 'amazed and very grateful for the help'.

Tags : Coat winter benefits DLA PIP DWP

Universal Credit and parenting woes

Wrapping up the week, we closed off a few requests we received in the last couple of days.  

A lady who due to some work she did 6 months ago is having issues with getting an advanced payment on her Universal Credit payments, and has to wait until September when her UC is paid.  In the meantime there is her and her 16 year old son and they are without food or unable to top up their energy meters, so we sent them £100 to allow them to do this.

Another family we helped is because the household is overcrowded in a tiny first floor flat.  They have two children, ages 7 and 12 and there is a lot of tension and arguments between the children, so the parents have given over their bedroom so they can have a room each.  This means the parents are sleeping in the living room and via our client asked for some help to purchase a sofabed so they can get a decent nights sleep.  They have been trying to save despite the fact that they work, but they are living such a hand to mouth existence that this is proving impossible.  We agreed to help them out with some money to go towards it.



Tags : Benefits Poverty UniversalCredit whenworkingdoesn'tpay parenting

Been a busy week so far!

The contact with us for help this week has been very full on.  The following are just some of the cases that we have actioned payments to in the past couple of days.  

A mother of four children, her second youngest being 11 months and the youngest 2 weeks old.  She is unable to claim any child benefit for the two youngest as she already has two older children, due to the new regulations.  As there is a large gap in ages between her older children and the youngest ones she is having to start all over again with equipment, clothes, etc and is struggling.  We sent her some money to help her out until her next Universal Credit payment is due.

A man continuing to suffer with the consequences of treatment he received for cancer as a child is unable to buy food or top up his energy meters, so we sent him a small amount to tide him over.  Another case of a man who'd had a stroke and desperately needed some way of being able to contact people as he didn't have a landline, nor a mobile phone.  We sent him £50 to purchase a phone and top it up with some credit.

A mother and her 5 children, that as a family fled a domestic violence situation to her mother's house.  The home was way overcrowded and the older boys were displaying aggressive behaviour at home and at school which was felt to be a hangover from the domestic violence situation.  A home has been found for them all of their own, but the mother needed help to hire a man with a van to move her furniture over to their new home.

A couple which having separated for a while, got back together and submitted a joint claim for Universal Credit.  While they'd been apart they had acrued debt with the DWP who decided to claw it back from their next UC payment, leaving them with nothing to live on.  An appeal has been made to the DWP to reduce some of their debt repayments, which has helped for future payments going forward.  We sent the family, they and their young daughter money to buy some food.

Another case was that of a military veteran that had served in Iraq, part of what he did involved work with IEDs.  This has left him with PTSD and has meant he just struggles through each day. His son was due to come and stay with him but he didn't have enough money for food.  Our agents supplied him and his son with a food voucher, but he also needed to submit an application for Employment Support Allowance.  His poor mental health meant that the form was filled in so badly they had to redo it for him and contact his doctor for support. Our clients wanted to know if we could help with the cost of the doctor writing a letter which interpreted his mental state to support his ESA application, which we agreed to do.

An elderly man in receipt of pension credit is in a lot of debt, so much so that the DWP are making deductions on his pension credit.  He is recovering from cancer treatment and has had three heart attacks and a mental breakdown.  The debt and the deductions are causing him extra anxiety as he can't afford to buy food or top up his energy meters, so we sent him £100 so he could do that.

Finally, for now, a lady who has suffered with domestic violence for years.  She has managed to leave the situation but this has impacted her working situation so much so that she has been suspended from work, due to her home situation, and has been on statutory sick pay.  This has had a knock on on her finances, and she has been left with a lot of debts which she is trying to resolve.  We sent her £120 to buy food and top up her energy meters, to last her until her next UC payment next month.


Tags : Benefits UC SSP MilitaryVeterans SingleParents Poverty EnergyMeters DomesticViolence Cancer

Help on a very wet Wednesday!

We helped lots of people today, one who has a stoma fitted, which failed and caused her bed and bedding to become ruined.  Her sister helped her get most cleaned up, but she needed a new mattress topper as the stoma had leaked everywhere, as well as some new bedding.  The lady is due to go back to hospital to have more of her bowel removed and will need to be able to recuperate fully.  Today we heard that she has been out and got what she needed so she knows now she can relax a bit in readiness for her operation.

Another lady who has been in pain and with mobility issues her whole life, which leaves her depressed and often unable to leave her home; has finally been able to get a bed after years of sleeping on the sofa.  She cannot though afford to buy any bedding, so we agreed to send her £50 so she could get what she needed.

We helped a man with £100 to get some food shopping and cover some of his smaller bills.  He lives alone, renting a room in a shared house.  He has recently been diagnosed with renal cancer and has had to give up work while he receives treatment. 

Also we helped a man who has been living and working in the UK for the past 20 years.  He is now estranged from his wife and three children and considered to be here illegally.  Although it is likely he will be prosecuted, it is unlikely he will be deported.  He has fallen into arrears with his rent, etc because he is not permitted to work at the moment.  Our agents are confident this can be resolved as he has never been in trouble or broken the law whilst he has been here and has been a member of his family for over 10 years.  We sent him £75 so he could cover some small bills and buy some food.

Tags : Benefits Stoma Cancer Poverty Debts

Family devastated following death of family member

We have brought to us cases which are really quite desperate, but this is one of the saddest cases we've had in a little while. The mother of the family organised all the finances, ran the bank account, etc.  It was all in her name.  Sadly she has died suddenly leaving her husband to pick up the pieces and sort out their benefits.  He had to obviously register the death, but without realising hadn't checked properly at the time as he was so distraught, that his wife's date of birth had been lodged incorrectly.  In order to sort the benefits out properly, and housing benefit, etc, the certificate has to be correct, for which he faces a charge, plus the cost of a replacement certificate, totalling over £100.  He has nothing, no money and is currently caught between a rock and a hard place.  Without the money to get the certificate altered he cannot have his benefits adjusted and access any money.  Also the child benefit for their teenaged daughter who is still in full-time education is in his wife's name.  Add to all of this misery his wife never worked, so he is unable to access the bereavement support payment.  He says ' I’m on the floor: I don't how I'm going to feed her' (his daughter).  A dreadful situation to be in. He hasn't money to resolve this situation, nor money to feed them both.  To add insult to injury he doesn't even have a bank account in his name, so at a time when he might be grieving he has to get all these things sorted out.  Between us we agreed to send the family £200 so that the certificate situation can be resolved and they can at least buy some food (thankfully the daughter has an active bank account to receive the funds).  

Tags : Bereavement nomoney familiesincrisis certificates Benefits

Baby with special needs puts a drain on family resources

A family are struggling to cope with the needs of their baby born with special needs.  He has a cleft palate and lip and is currently awaiting corrective surgery.  He has to be bottle fed and so far they are managing with the small bottles they were gifted by the hospital but going forward as his feeds are bigger they are going to need specialist larger bottles which they cannot afford.  The family currently live in a former office block on a working trading estate, that has been converted into housing. They exist financially on Universal Credit.  They are trying to play catch up with their arrears and are also having to pay to travel to hospital for the frequent visits.  The bottles they need to buy are £20 for a pair and they need a few of them to cope with his constant feeding, as well as the specialist teats which are £3.50 each.  They also need to purchase some other essential items such as nappies, etc.  We agreed to send the famly £150 to buy the bottles and teats they need, as well as to put towards other essentials they need to buy.

Tags : Newbaby cleftlip cleftpalate UniversalCredit FamiliesinPoverty PovertyintheUK

Family broken apart by domestic violence

A mother of three is having to live apart from her children at the moment as one is with the child's grandmother, and two others are currently in foster care.  This is due to domestic violence within the house and the Police are now involved and will arrest immediately if the father goes near the property.  She had to move away briefly for safety reasons but has now returned to find that everything in the house has been smashed up.  She is in a mess financially as has debts with her housing provider, as well as council tax, etc.  As she needs so much and it is hopeful that the children will be able to return home soon we agreed to send her £200  with a view that if she can be persuaded to apply for a Debt Relief Order, then we would be prepared to cover the cost of that too.  Our agents say that currently she is not in the right headspace to be able to deal with applying for a DRO on top of everything else she currently has going on. 

Tags : Domesticviolence domesticabuse familiesincare povertyintheUK debts UniversalCredit


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