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Staying connected

Our case was a request to help a man who has formerly been street homeless.  He is housed now, and his rent is paid directly to his landlord via housing benefit, but he is struggling to survive on £190 a month benefits, which has to cover the shortfall in his council tax payments, his bills, energy costs and food.  His phone contract is in arrears and he is becoming increasingly anxious about losing the ability to use his phone, which could have serious implications for his Universal Credit claim.  We agreed to help him out by sending him £50 to use towards his phone and bills.

Tags : UniversalCredit MobilePhones Bills Homelessness

Couple struggling to stay afloat

One of our regular agencies contacted us today about a couple they have been trying to help.  They are in receipt of joint Employment Support Allowance, but because they have a two bedroomed property they are liable for bedroom tax.  They had previously been badly advised about their liability towards this second bedroom which has resulted in them now having to pay almost £40 a week for the bedroom tax and to cover some arrears that had amounted because of this bad advice.  They are also under threat of eviction, which is causing them a great deal of stress.  Our agents are helping them to fight this second bedroom situation, applied on their behalf for carers allowance  and assisting them regarding the eviction notice.  We were asked to help them out a bit, just to let them see that not everything is turning to something bad.  We agreed to send them £100 to help them out with bills, as they are especially worried about not being able to keep their phone connected so they can continue to receive help and support via the phone.

Tags : ESA BedroomTax Arrears Debts EvictionNotice

Pensioners without food

A couple which have applied for pension credit, have had their benefits affected negatively since they were granted leave to stay back in July.  They are still awaiting the outcome of the pension credit claim and have been without any income since July.  They have had two grants from their local authority and food parcels from the local food bank, but their gas and electric bills are mounting up and the lack of any income is having a devastating impact on them both.  We agreed to send them £100 to help them out.  Hopefully the Pension Service will be able to sort the issues out quickly for them.

Tags : Pension pensioncredit noincome nofood nogas noelectric nomoney

No fuel for hospital appointments

Our clients today are a couple that are really struggling financially.  Our agents are in the process of sorting their benefits out so that their claim is correct, which it isn't currently.  One of the couple is having serious issues with their health and it is necessary for them to attend hospital more frequently than they'd budgeted for.  They are in receipt of PIP (Personal Independence Payments) but that goes to pay for the vehicle.  They didn't have any money to put fuel in the car to get to the hospital so we agreed to send them £30 to cover this.

Tags : Benefits health hospitalvisits PIP fuel

Mother of four starts work and falls into debt

We were asked to help a mother of four children, aged 1 to 11.  One of the children is on the autistic spectrum with Aspergers.  The mother has recently finished a degree which has now led to a full-time job.  However she and her children have been living in temporary accommodation for some time now and are about ready to move to a permanent home.  While she was at University she had a student loan and when she finished she was able to claim housing benefit and income support.  She correctly told the local authority she was starting work and she was aware she would no longer be entitled to claim housing benefit, but asked for a run on of her benefits payments.  Unfortunately because she wasn't claiming income support for the 26 weeks prior, this was against the rules and her housing benefit and income support were immediately stopped.  This caused arrears of the rent at her temporary accommodation and the knock on of this is the inability to move to the permanent accommodation with rent arrears.  There is a history of domestic violence within the family and the children have to travel some distance to schools, so understandably this lady is keen to move and get the children settled.  We were initially asked to clear the arrears and provide some extra for moving costs, however we had to point out we are only a small charity relying on the goodwill of others so would be unable to provide such a large amount.  We did agree between us though that we would send her £100 to be used to buy food and put some money on to the energy meters so that they could at least stay warm in the meantime.  Our agents are assisting them with the arrears and getting those resolved so that she and her family can move.

Tags : IncomeSupport HousingBenefit Startingwork domesticviolence debt rentarrears

In desperate need of help!

We had an emergency request which we have been dealing with over the weekend (being volunteers working from home this does mean we work over the weekends on occasions).  The request was made on behalf of a single mum of four children, ranging in ages from 5 to 15.  All of the children have behavioural issues and she herself suffers with chronic depression.  She has been in a string of abusive relationships, the first one began when she was only 14 years of age.  Two years ago, with the help of a keyworker from a local children's centre, she left her last abusive relationship and took the children with her.   She now finally has a place to live, but still has debts relating to her accommodation which she is struggling to deal with.  Over the weekend she was without money because although she works 16 hours a week as a cleaner, last week it was half-term so she was unable to work as she had no childcare.  Her support worker is assisting her with this going forward so she doesn't face this problem again.  Her immediate problem that we were asked to help with was her inability to heat the home or buy food for herself and the children.  We agreed to send her £80 to clear the energy debt, £20 to add to the meters so she could use her gas and electricity, and £50 to buy some food.  Her local council have agreed to help her by paying some of the outstanding rent amounts directly to her landlord.  Our agent contacted us later that day to let us know how much of a help this was and she was confident that this had been a huge boost for her.

Tags : youngmum singlemum behaviourissues benefits domesticviolence debts UniversalCredit Nochildcare

Single man with broken wrist off work

We were approached to help a single man who has been off work because of a broken wrist.  While he has been waiting for his Universal Benefit payments to begin he has been relying on friends, family and foodbanks, but he has exhausted these now.  His first Universal Credit payment is not due for at least another week.  He is in arrears with his rent and has other debts mounting up.  Our agents are assisting him to deal with the debt, but he needed money in the meantime to be able to purchase food and put some money on his energy meters.  We agreed to send him £70 to help him out.

Tags : UniversalCredit noheating nofood nomoney Benefits DWP

Mum of two unable to heat their home

Our case was a young mum with a 7 year old and a 9 month old.  She is in receipt of Universal Credit but is struggling to make ends meet.  She left the father of her oldest child following domestic violence issues, and he is now no longer able to see her or their child.  The father of her youngest child is no longer on the scene, leaving her completely on her own.  She is struggling to heat their home, or have enough hot water to bathe the children, and at the point of contacting us, they told us she only had £4 left on the meter.  We agreed to send her £100 to help her out over these forthcoming months.

Tags : Benefits UniversalCredit DomesticViolence Children

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