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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

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

Man moves into hostel accommodation

A man, previously street homeless has been offered temporary accommodation in a homeless hostel.  Since moving in he has not had access to any money, due to him not having a bank account.  Our agents have supported him in applying for a bank account and then for benefits. The hostel have been providing him with food parcels, but the local council are unable to support him as he is not currently in receipt of a qualifying benefit. He has an appointment with the DWP to prove his identity for later in August, so until that time and his benefits can be put into payment he has nothing.  We agreed to send him £50 to buy some toiletries and some small essential items.

Tags : Benefits homelessness hostels temporaryaccommodation

Single mum of four in debt

A mother of four children, ranging in age from 11 years to 20 months.  Her eldest child is disabled and needs extra care. She currently does not receive any extra support with the children, but now social services have become involved to offer her some help/respite care.  She is in receipt of benefits but because of overpayments she currently has a large chunk of her money deducted, leaving her with income support of £50 to last them all a fortnight, and all her child benefit (she doesn't receive any child benefit for the youngest child in line with the new regulations) goes to a credit union.  She is struggling and not coping well at all.  Our agents have referred her for some urgent debt advice and we suggested that she is supported in making an application for a debt relief order, and we would cover the cost of that.  We also sent her a biscuit boost of £60 to be used to get some food for them all and top up her energy meters.

Tags : Benefits Overpayments deductionsfrombenefits DRO disabledchildren

Lady refused Employment Support Allowance

A lady was recently refused to have her ESA payments renewed as she failed to attend her assessment, which she was unable to do as suicidal tendencies rendered her unable to leave her home.  The knock on of this is that her ESA stopping has informed housing benefit who have stopped her rent payments.  Our agents are appealing this decision, requesting a speedy result, as well as supporting her in applying for Personal Independence Payments.  They are  also currently trying to get her housing benefit payments reinstated.  In the meantime she is without money for food, so we agreed to send her £50. 

Tags : ESA PIP Benefits HousingBenefit BenefitsRefusal

Single mum struggling during the summer holidays

We were asked to help a single mum who has a young child who during term time attends nursery.  Now the schools have broken up for the summer holidays this mum is struggling to cope with the extra cost of having her child at home.  She has some small items that are in desperate need of repair and she is unable to manage to pay for this herself as her benefits just won't stretch that far.  We agreed to send her £50 to help her out.

Tags : Benefits schoolholidays nursery poverty

Agent with three cases that needed our help

We were approached about three separate men that each needed some help.  Two of the men had got themselves into so much debt that they were struggling to see a way forward.  The first man is a father of two children who live with his ex partner.  He is being hounded by bailiffs and unable to cope.  The second man has been left in a lot of debt after his partner who he was a carer for was admitted to a nursing home where they subsequently died.  He has been left in a lot of debt, with money owed to the nursing home.  Both men were in need of the application fee for the cost of a debt relief order, which we were prepared to cover.

The third man has recently been released from prison and found in his absence the debts have been mounting up.  The repayments are being deducted from his Universal Credit, along with repayments for a budgeting loan and UC advanced payment.  He is unable at the moment to top up his energy meters or buy any food, so we agreed to send him £75 to allow this to happen.

Tags : DRO Benefits Debt Poverty Prison UnpaidBills NursingHomeFees

Grandmother takes on responsibility of raising her grandchildren

A grandmother in her 60's who five years ago suffered a stroke, has taken on the responsibility of her two grandchildren, following the departure of her daughter.  The grandmother suffers with osteoarthritis and has compromised mobility as a result.  She also suffers with depression and is a domestic abuse survivor.  She is in receipt of Employment Support Allowance due to her being disabled, but currently does not receive any benefits to help with the costs of the children.  An application has been made for increasing her benefits, but until then she is struggling to manage.  We agreed to send them £100 to help them out.

Tags : Benefits children CTC CB ESA

Man evicted through no fault of his own

Our agents asked us to help a man who has found himself evicted from his home and forced to find alternative accommodation.  Where he was living he had access to the white goods which were part of the flat, and where he is moving to he needs to start all over again.  We explained that we couldn't help with white goods but gave them details of places they might apply for a suitable grant to help. He has significant debts and our agents are helping him with that, so we agreed to cover the cost of a DRO application, plus an extra £60 to go towards items he needs to buy.

Tags : Section21 Eviction Debts Benefits

Lady in desperate situation

A lady who was registered as her husband's carer has been left in a mess after her husband walked out.  She doesn't know where he is, just that he no longer wished to remain married to her.  He said he would submit a claim for Universal Credit but when a check was made, there was no live claim in her name.  She has no idea about any of the bills, etc which were all in her husband's name.  His name has been taken off the tenancy, and it is in her name only now, but she needs help and guidance with council tax, applying for Universal Credit and PIP which our agents have agreed to do.  They have also issued her with food vouchers, but she will not receive any money from UC for some time.  In the meantime we agreed to send her £100 to help her out.

Tags : Tenancies PIP UC Benefits Bills debts

Lady in refuge without money

A lady fled her home and from a domestic abuse situation and used every penny she had to pay the fare to get to the refuge in another part of the UK.  This has left her without any money at all.  She currently receives payments for Employment Support Allowance being disabled, but won't receive further payment for some time.  We agreed to send her £75 to tide her over until her next payment.

Tags : domesticabuse ESA Benefits Refuge Poverty

Man sofa-surfing

A man with mental health issues is in extreme dire straits and is currently sofa-surfing.  He desperately needs somewhere permanent to live. He is in receipt of Universal Credit, but there are so many deductions being made from his payments which leaves him with nowhere near enough to live off.  He has debts which our agents are trying to help him resolve, which they need to do as soon as possible.  Our agents asked us if we could help him with covering the cost of a Debt Relief Order application fee, and possibly a bit more for food, etc.  We agreed to cover the £90 fee and send him an extra £60 for food.

Tags : Benefits MentalHealth DRO Debts FoodPoverty

Disabled man with debt problems

Our help was sought for a man who lives alone.  He had to move from his previous property due to his home falling into significant disrepair and he had to give up working due to disability.  He also suffers with mental health issues and is currently under the care of the mental health team.  While at the homeless accommodation it has come to light that he has significant debts, built up as a result of him being unable to work.  Our agents will assist him in applying for a debt relief order, but he is in no position to be able to afford the £90 fee to do this.  We agreed to cover the cost of the fee ourselves. 

Tags : homelessness disability Benefits DROfee

Family burgled and left without cash for energy meters

A grandmother was burgled and her handbag and car taken among other items.  She has had to have all her bank cards cancelled.  The grandmother has her grandson living with her, and as a family are in receipt of benefits.  She has no access to any money, as the little she had was in her purse when it was stolen.  They are without money for food or to top up their energy meters.  We agreed to send them £80.

Tags : Benefits Burglary Poverty nomoney energymeters

Mother and daughter need help to move

A mother and her young daughter have found themselves having to move from their current home as they are suffering domestic and financial abuse.  Our agents are getting ready to move her out of where she is currently living and into somewhere safe for them both.  She does have a part-time job, but will be moving some distance away and does not have contingency funds for this or access to anyone she can trust to help her move.  She and her daughter need money for food for the next few days as well has some financial help to move their belongings.  We sent over £150.

Tags : DomesticAbuse SingleParents movingcosts Benefits

Lady struggling after a broken neck

A lady who was working part-time in her local supermarket has had to give up work following complications after breaking her neck.  As she is not able to work she has found herself in a considerable amount of debt.  Her local authority are assisting her to apply for benefits, however our agents asked if we could possibly cover the fee for a Debt Relief Order in her name.  We agreed to help her with this and sent across a cheque for £90 to go with the application, as well as transferred across a boost of £60 for her and her 6 year old son.

Tags : DRO Poverty Debts Benefits

Single mother in bother

A 27 year old single mother of two children, ages 4 and 2 lives in private rented accommodation and is experiencing financial hardship.  She was in receipt of Income Support up until the end of last year and is now receiving employment support allowance, due to her chronic anxiety and depression.  She is a recovering alcoholic and is currently undergoing cognitive behaviour therapy for her condition.  She owes money to her energy supplier and the stress of this is causing her anxiety to go through the roof.  We sent across £50 to help her buy some food and suggested a place that they might be able to apply to for help with clearing the energy debts as they are a significant amount, much more than we could assist with.

Tags : Alcoholism RecoveringAlcoholic Benefits Depression Anxiety FuelPoverty

Single mum with two year old in a complete mess

We were asked if we could consider assisting a young mum with a two year old.  Up until Christmas she had a carer that lived in with her, but her carer left.  Unfortunately this meant that she was unable to attend an assessment for work capability and subsequently lost her entitlement to Employment Support Allowance.  She has been without any ESA payments for two months and existing on her child tax credits and child benefit.  However this week she found out that her tax credits have been stopped because a claim for Universal Credit has been made, which she claims she has not done.  She had no food in the house, no credit on her mobile phone to contact tax credits to find out what was going on.  Our agents are helping her to deal with the DWP and sort out an appeal for her.  We agreed to send her £150 to buy food, phone credit and to be able to put some credit on her energy meters.  Today we received this reply from our agents.

"C was absolutely blown away and there were a lot of tears (mainly from staff here!!). She is a lovely lady and her self-esteem and confidence are at an all time low so she could not believe that people wanted to help her – hence the tears.  Cannot thank you enough for the help and support you give our customers – greatly appreciated."
 

Tags : Benefits DWP SingleParents Disability Poverty

Family of four in supported accommodation

A mother and her three children are all living in supported accommodation.  The children are all under 8 years old and the eldest is subject to a child protection order following physical abuse from his stepfather.  The mother is working hard to ensure that the children are kept safe, which the child services are happy with.  The family are in arrears with rent and until this is caught up they cannot begin to bid on alternative accommodation.  The eldest child has been in and out of hospital due to epilepsy, and suffers with bed wetting.  In an effort to address this they are trying to create an environment where this young person feels safe and so they need to purchase him a new bed.  We agreed to send the family £200 to pay for the new bed and to have some money left over to go towards the family debts.

Tags : Benefits childhealth childprotectionorder supportedaccommodation

Single man trying to survive on £17 a week

A single man in his thirties has been without any income at all apart from money raised from the occasional music lesson and some busking which raises approximately £17 a week.  He lives alone in a one bedroomed flat and suffers with depression, anxiety and PTSD.  Our agents have helped him to apply for the benefits he is entitled to claim and he now has a claim in for Universal Credit and is awaiting an assessment by the DWP to determine whether he has limited capability for work or not.  He is also being assisted to put in a claim for Personal Independence Payment, as well as a Discretionary Housing Payment to help with the shortfall in his housing benefit and the cost of his monthly rent.  He is also receiving guidance from his local debt team at Citizens Advice as he has built up a number of debts that are making his anxiety worse.  We agreed to cover the cost of a Debt Relief Order to address the debts, and send him £75 to help him out while he waits for his benefits to kick into payment.

Tags : DRO Benefits Poverty Debts MentalHealth

Mother of three moves from cramped apartment

A single mother of three children, all under five years of age have been able to move from their cramped apartment to a more suitable house for them all.  The mother copes on her own financially with the children as their father is not around, nor does he contribute towards child maintenance.   The mother is getting very panicky as she is aware it is expensive to move, plus more importantly her new home has stairs and the children aren't used to stairs at all, so she needs to purchase some safety gates.  Plus she is in distress over the cost of moving, and the switch over of addresses as that often involves unforseen costs.  We agreed to send her £100 to help her out with this.

Tags : Benefits movinghome safety 3under5 singleparents nomaintenance

Mother and daughter struggling with budgeting

A mother and her adult daughter are both in receipt of Universal Credit as they are disabled and unable to work.  After they have paid a top up on their rent of £130 per month, plus met bills they are often left with very little to manage on.  The mother suffers with mental health issues and doesn't cope with budgeting very well.  She will often pay a bill as soon as it arrives without thinking about how she will manage for the rest of the month as she gets very panicky about debt.  This happened this month, the bill was paid but they were left with nothing at all to buy food.  We agreed to send them £50 to tide them over and our agents agreed they would work with the lady to help her with budgeting so this doesn't happen again.

Tags : Benefits UniversalCredit Budgeting Debt mentalhealth

Former salesman diagnosed with cancer

A man previously employed as a salesman has been diagnosed with cancer and is currently undergoing intensive treatment.  Unfortunately he is currently unable to work due to his condition and is now in receipt of Statutory Sick Pay of £94 per week.  As all this was unexpected and he was without any savings his outgoings are higher than the money he has coming in, so he is falling into arrears with his rent and bills.  Our agents are going to help him apply for Employment Support Allowance once his SSP runs out, and will help him apply for other benefits he is entitled to claim.  In the meantime he is struggling to cope with his energy costs as he is at extremely high risk of infection, his sister has been helping him to top up his meters but he needs some extra help now.  We agreed to send him £90 to help him out.

Tags : Benefits SickPay SSP Cancer Treatment

Man due Universal Credit payment of 81p

A man who was previously on Universal Credit found himself a job which was okay for two months, but sadly that job ended.  He was paid his last wage and it seems that Universal Credit think he was paid more than he actually was, so by the time they'd deducted what they believed to be his wages, it left him with a UC payment of 81p for the month.  He is unable to apply for an advanced payment as he had already claimed that when he first went on to UC, and he is in fact making the repayments for the advance payment at the moment.  He currently has no job, no money and is only due to receive 81p from UC, so he is really in a predicament.  He won't be due another UC payment until the 3rd of August, so is unable to manage until then.  We agreed to send him £100.  Our agents are trying to get his UC payment corrected, and have sent copies of his pay slips so that they can see how much he was actually paid, compared to what was reported to have been paid.

Tags : Benefits Unemployment UniversalCredit Poverty

Man completes rehab and is finally off the streets

We were approached about help for a young man, fomerly a qualified HGV mechanic who has been living on the streets and dealing with a drug addiction.  He has completed rehab, is living in a homeless hostel and is now clean of drugs.  He was in receipt of Universal Credit, but has been sanctioned because he lost his phone and missed an appointment.  It is essential he has access to a phone to stay connected to the DWP and know when his appointments are due to take place at the job centre, because if he fails to attend his benefits are automatically stopped as has happened on this occasion.  We were asked if we could cover the cost of a replacement phone and some credit to be applied to the device.  We agreed to send him £60 so he could do this and have some money left over to buy some food.

Tags : Benefits UniversalCredit Sanctions MissedAppointments Poverty Homelessness Drugs Rehab

Young mum of two struggling to manage

Our help was needed for a young mum who was a care leaver following the death of one parent when she was 7, and then the other parent after that as a result of alcoholism.  She got together with someone who she discovered was a gang member, he treated her very badly and was violent towards her.  He is considered very dangerous and has an extensive and violent criminal history.  She and her two children are now far away from him and finally safe, however she is now having to address the huge amount of debt she is in.  Her energy supplier have a warrant to enter her home to install a prepayment meter as she is in so much debt with them.  She admits she has not been good with her money but she has been through so much, plus did not have the guidance from her parents when she was younger, having been orphaned at a young age.  Our agents are helping her to source the proper debt help and she is working towards applying for a Debt Relief Order for which the fee is £90.  We agreed to cover the cost of that fee so she can begin to get her life on track, as well as an extra £60 for her and the boys.  She is working closely with the visiting health team, is attending a parenting course and is hoping to study for her GCSEs.  She wants to become a good role model for her children and work towards giving them a better life.

Tags : Benefits domesticabuse refuge DRO Poverty ChildreninCare OrphanedChildren CareLeavers

Former HGV driver dealing with cancer

A man who was previously working as an HGV driver has been diagnosed with cancer and is currently undergoing extensive chemotherapy for this.  He is not in receipt of any money at all, and his outgoings are over £700 a month.  Our agents are helping him to apply for Employment Support Allowance and housing benefit, something he has never had to do before.  In the meantime he does not have any money to buy food, and his consultant has told him that due to the aggressive treatment he is receiving he needs to keep his strength up to be able to cope.  We agreed to send him £100.

Tags : Benefits ESA PIP Cancer CancerTreatment Poverty

Lady flees domestic abuse

A lady fled her hometown to escape a very violent relationship and is currently being housed by a refuge far away from where she used to live.  She has left behind family and friends and arrived without any money at all.  Her Employment Support Allowance payments have also been stopped without any explanation.  Our agents will help her get this resolved however at the moment she has no money whatsoever to purchase food, toiletries and essential items and it is likley getting her ESA back into payment might take some time.  We agreed to send her £120 to help her out.

Tags : Benefits domesticabuse fleeinghome ESA Poverty

Vulnerable woman financially abused by her own family

We had an urgent request to help a very vulnerable disabled woman who has many physical disabilities which have been present since birth.  She lives with her family, but her physical conditions means she can only walk a few steps.  If she asks her family to buy her some food, they will do that, but when they take her debit card they withdraw cash for themselves from the cashpoint.  Also they use her motability vehicle without her permission and frequently leave it without petrol.  Their behaviour towards her has left her without any money to buy any food.  Our agent when they visited saw she had an empty fridge and there was no money on the electricity meters, plus her car was parked some distance away so this lady would have been unable to access it.  She is still waiting for a family member to return her debit card to her.  The stress of this, plus the fact that the lady is in debt is causing her mental health to fail her.  Our agents are applying for safeguarding for this lady as it is clear she is being abused by her own family and she is not safe.  We agreed to send her £100 and are currently working with our agents to get the money to her safely.

Tags : Benefits VulnerableAdults FinancialAbuse Poverty Debt Safeguarding

Help with energy costs

Our help was needed for a man who is currently undergoing treatment for cancer in his head and neck.  He lives alone, and his current housing situation is not ideal for him.  Our agents have assisted him in applying for more suitable accommodation, as well as applying for housing benefit and putting in an application for Personal Independence Payment.  Currently his outgoings are in excess of the money he has coming in and it is friends and family that are stepping up to help him where they can.  As his treatment is quite challenging one of the crucial things is for him to avoid infection of any kind and this increases his energy costs.  We agreed to send him £100 to hep him out with this. 

Tags : Benefits DWP Cancer Debt EnergyCosts

Mother dealing with impact of her having cancer as a child

A mother of two children, who herself had very intensive treatment for cancer as a child, is now as an adult finding it difficult to do the most basic of tasks.  Unfortunately she did not receive the full help and support she should have received when she was a child, and that is impacting on her life now.  She is now being supported and part of that is helping her with her finances.  She is in receipt of Universal Credit and child benefit, but our agents are helping her to apply for personal independence payment as her condition interferes with her ability to live a normal life.  The mother is frequently going without meals so that her children have enough to eat, so we sent her £100 to use to buy some food and stock her cupboards and fridge up with.

Tags : UniversalCredit CancerTreatment Poverty Benefits DWP

Man in his 60's evicted from his home

A man who has been living in his property for some time has been served an eviction notice as his landlord wishes to have the property demolished to make way for a new building.  A new home has been found for the man by his local council, however he is in no position to be able to afford to pay to move the few items of furniture he owns.  He is disabled and in receipt of Employment Support Allowance and his rent is covered by housing benefit.  We agreed to send the man £100 to cover the cost of a man with a van to move his possessions, as well as for him to be able to buy a few bits for his new home.

Tags : Benefits EmploymentSupportAllowance Eviction over60s homelessness

Family without food

A family consisting of mum, dad, two children and a third on the way are without food.  Mum, although pregnant, works part-time at a very low paid job.  They do get some Universal Credit, but that and her wages is nowhere near enough for them to live on.  The father is unable to work due to mental health issues, and the family are having to borrow from a family member money to top up their gas and electricity meters.  They are accessing the foodbanks just to survive.  Their cooker is broken and they cannot afford to replace it, so they have 'bought' a microwave via finance to be able to cook their food, the little they can get their hands on.  We agreed to send the family £200 to get them a little ahead with things and be able to buy some food.

Tags : Benefits UniversalCredit Part-timeworking Poverty FamiliesinPoverty Povertyin2019

Family's Universal Credit claim is a complete mess

A family that are in receipt of Universal Credit after being given incorrect advice, as they should have remained on tax credits as they were previously claiming.  The DWP also have a non-dependent deduction coming off the Universal Creidt claim, which is also incorrect.  The mother was working part-time but has had to give up work due to ill health, her husband is also too sick to work and one of their children is type 1 diabetic.  Our agents are working with the family to try to better organise their monthly outgoings, as well are getting their benefits claim sorted out.  In the meantime the family are completely without money to buy food, so we agreed to send the family £100 to help them out until their next payment on the 17th June.

Tags : Benefits DWP UniversalCredit Debts Poverty

Very vulnerable man in debt

We were made aware of a vulnerable 60 year old adult, he is blind, is disabled and was recently moved from claiming Employment Support Allowance to Universal Credit and put into the work capability group, despite being blind.  This move reduced his monthly income by £300, causing him to fall seriously into debt with his rent, gas, electric and water.  Our agents have asked if we could consider covering the cost of a debt relief order, so that he can get his debts into order.  We agreed to send the £90 to cover this, plus an extra £30 boost.

Tags : Debt DRO Poverty UniversalCredit Benefits DWP

Lady in new tenancy is struggling to stay there

A woman who was recently in receipt of contributions based Employment Support Allowance, was encouraged to apply for Universal Credit to help with her housing costs.  She was advised to take an advance on her Universal Credit payment to cover the first months rent/deposit on her new home.  This has meant she is now having £50 deducted each month to repay the advance payment, plus another £50 deduction because of a tax credit overpayment.  As a new tenant she is now at high risk of losing her home because she is in rent arrears and unable to catch up.  The stress and anxiety of this is only making matters worse and seriously impacting on her mental health.  She is without money for food or to top up her energy meters so we agreed to send her £100 to help her.  Our agents are assisting her with her benefits situation, which will hopefully improve before too long.

Tags : Benefits UniversalCredit RentArrears Poverty

Single mum of 1 unable to access benefits

We were approached about a single mum of a five year old child.  She is a Polish National who settled here in the UK in 2008 where she was working until she moved to support her older child in college and subsequently lost her job.  Previously she was in receipt of income support and child tax credits, as well has housing and council tax benefit.  However she has had to put in a claim for Universal Credit instead and has now been told she is no longer entitled to any benefits other than child benefit and the £60 a week she receives in maintenance from her child's father.  She is now in arrears with her rent, and hasn't received benefits since April this year.  Our agents are assisting her with applying for settled status and are hopeful this can be resolved quickly so she can be in receipt of Universal Credit.  In the meantime the lady is working with her job coach towards setting herself up in business as a florist.  We agreed to send the family £100 as a boost towards food and fuel.

Tags : PolishNational UniversalCredit Benefits Poverty SingleParents SettledStatus RefusalofBenefits

Single dad without money for food

A single dad who is self-employed as an artist has been in receipt of Universal Credit, where because some weeks he doesn't earn anything at all, he is classed by UC as being ungainfully employed.  He has issues with inflamation in his vertebrae which means he is hunched over and sometimes unable to lift his head up to face whoever he is speaking to.  This inflamation causes fusing of his vertebrae and leaves him in constant pain and discomfort.  He lives with his 10 year old son who is no longer in contact with his mother, which has caused issues for the son, sometimes meaning he refuses to go to school.  This means that his father is then unable to work, impacting further on their lack of income.  The father has applied for Personal Independence Payment, but this has so far been refused. This young family have been relying on the support of food parcels from their local foodbank.  We agreed to send them £100 to help them out.

Tags : DWP Benefits UniversalCredit Poverty NoIncome

Vulnerable adult in need of help

We were asked to help a vulnerable 29 year old female who is currently in receipt of Job Seekers Allowance of £63.10 per week, plus housing benefit.  She has arrears with her rent due to her missing a signing on appointment because her mental health was too bad to allow her to attend, the knock on of this was her housing benefit was stopped for a period of time.  She is trying to catch up with the arrears, pay an outstanding water bill, which is being deducted at source, and she simply does not have enough money to live off.  Last week her gas and electricity were cut off due to her not topping up her meters, and she is in dire need of some clothing.  At the moment she only has £4 to last her until the middle of June.  We agreed to send her £100 to use as she needs.  

Tags : DWP Benefits JSA housingarrears rentarrears utilitiesarrears poverty

Lady moving from temporary accommodation

A lady has been living in very temporary accommodation since October this year.  In March she was moved to more permanent accommodation but this happened at very short notice.  She moved in, but was without many things she needed to run a simple home, such as bedding, crockery, pots and pans, etc.  She was helped with the electricity costs when she moved in, but in May her Universal Credit payment was paid into her account and they had reduced her payment by £86 to repay her Universal Credit advance, as well as payment towards a previous advance on a historic claim.  After bills, this left her with £76 for the month to cover all her food, and other items.  She is still without proper bedding, etc.  We agreed to send her £100 as a boost to help her get a bit more settled and organised.

Tags : DWP Benefits TemporaryAccommodation Poverty UniversalCredit

New parents without money

A family whose baby has been born seven and a half weeks early are without any money until the 10th of June when their Universal Credit payment will be made.  An application for a Sure Start maternity grant and child benefit has been made but that will take some time to be processed.  In the meantime they are headed home with their new son without any money on them at all.  The mother has previously had issues around drugs but has cooperated really well with the support that was put in place for her and has been clean now for well over a year.  We agreed to send the family £100 to help them out on this new beginning for them all.  We received some feedback shortly after we'd sent the money to express how grateful they were that someone had reached out to them to help.

Tags : Benefits UniversalCredit Poverty PrematureBirths

DRO fees needed

A mother who is estranged from her children, whilst they are living under the guardianship of her parents.  She is struggling to keep herself together as her mental health and fear of going out is causing hardship in her life.  She is under the care of her doctor who tries to keep her taking her medication, and for a while she felt better enough to get a job, but sadly her mental health got the better of her, making her unable to leave her home and engage with people, so she lost her job.  She wants to be with her children, but knows her mental health is not good enough to allow that to happen.  She is waiting counselling to help her, but that is taking a very long time for her to move up the list for help.  In the meantime she is struggling with debt and this is only adding to her ill health, so our agents approached us for help to cover the £90 cost of the DRO fee, which we were happy to do.

Tags : DWP Benefits mentalhealth notworking guardianship

Young man unable to work

A young man who was treated for cancer as a child, is now finding as an adult that reprecussions from that time are preventing him from being able to work, finding even the simplest of tasks a challenge.  He lives in sheltered accommodation and receives £231 per month in Universal Credit.  After his deductions for things such as energy costs, his mobile phone, TV Licence. travelling to hospital he is not left with enough money to purchase much in the way of food, often going hungry instead.  We agreed to send him £100 so he could stock up his cupboards and freezer.

Tags : Benefits DWP ShelteredAccommodation ChildhoodCancer Poverty

Man shifted to Universal Credit in error by DWP

We were approached about a man who having been refused his ESA application his payments stopped and he was forced on to Universal Credit in error by the DWP.  He was appealing the ESA decision and was when it was in payment in receipt of Severe Disability Payments, so he was entitled to legacy benefits, rather than Universal Credit.  Our agents who are assisting him with his appeal phoned the DWP on his behalf to get this sorted out and the DWP immediately stopped his UC payments, and as it was part way through the month, any owing payment is then not made. This meant that he was completely out of money until his next PIP payment, due to be paid next week.  In the meantime he has no credit on his energy meters or any food in his flat.  We agreed to send him £50 to keep him going until his payment next Tuesday.   

Tags : Benefits ESA SDP UC DWP Poverty

Man troubled by neighbours due to his beliefs

A man in his late 50s is currently living in private rented accommodation where he is surrounded by people much younger than him that are very loud and play music constantly which disturbs him.  He has complained to his landlord about this, and because the landlord feels he is being unreasonable with his request has given him notice to quit.  Finding himself at risk of homelessness he approached his local authority for help and sheltered accommodation has been found for him in a more appropriate area where he would be living in an area with people his own age.  He suffers with an underlying mental health condition and high anxiety, and has been subjected to anti-semetic abuse, which has now meant he feels unable to leave his home safely.  Due to the quickness of accommodation being found he has to accept it immediately or this accommodation will be lost.  Being only in receipt of job seekers allowance though, he does no savings to afford a man with a van for a couple of hours to move his belongings and furniture.  Our agents are very concerned that he does not miss this vital opportunity or he could end up in temporary accommodation which would only be worse for his mental health.  We agreed to send him £150.

Tags : Benefits JSA Homelessness MentalHealth Abuse threatsbyneighbours

Small family without a freezer

A couple, both unable to work due to ill health and disability have a four year old son, who also has specific needs regarding his diet.  Their fridge/freezer broke down, which means keeping their son's food fresh, as well as dealing with spoiling food in this warmer weather is an issue.  They have no family nearby that could help them in the short-term.  We were asked if we could help with a new fridge/freezer for them, but we are not a large enough charity for that, so we agreed we would send over £80 so that they could source a good second hand one.

Tags : Benefits appliances diet specialneeds

Single mum of 1 unaware of help available

A single mother of an 11 year old has got herself into debt because her Universal Credit payment does not cover the full amount of her monthly rent, so she has to make up the shortfall herself, which leaves her with not enough money for food.  She was unaware she could apply for help from her council via a Discretionary Housing Payment for the shortfall, our agents are assisting her with this now.  She is already under threat of eviction, and is scared for the future.  We agreed to send £150 to help them with food, etc.

Tags : Rent Benefits UniversalCredit Poverty RentArrears Homelessness

Daughter takes out loan to clear father's debt

A single man of two children has been struggling to manage since his wife left them.  When she left the rent was in arrears and this became higher than he could manage.  His daughter took out a loan to cover this, but of course this now needs paying back.  One of his children works part-time and his wages go to cover some of the bills, but his daughter is at University and is unable to contribute financially.  The man has issues with his temper which means he then is unable to communicate well with others regarding his concerns, or asking for help.  Our agents are hoping to apply on his behalf for a debt relief order to bring things under control financially.  We agreed to cover the cost of this and send over an extra £30 to use to buy some food with.

Tags : UniversalCredit Benefits Debts RentArrears DRO University

Young man living alone after family breakdown

We were approached about a young man that our agents are assisting.  He left home not so long ago after the breakdown of his relationship with his family.  His father died just a few months ago and he is not dealing with this very well at all, and suffers with extreme anxiety and depression.  He receives benefits, but this is £120 a fortnight which has to last him.  Moving into this place means he has had to purchase bedding, etc to set up a home.  He has diabetes so needs to keep his medication cold, as well as the fresh food he needs to eat to maintain his health.  He bought a second hand fridge to keep this in but was sold something not fit for purpose so is struggling.  We agreed to send him £150 to help him purchase some essential items as our agents feel this assistance would be of great help to allow him to settle.

Tags : Benefits bereavement familybreakdown depression anxiety

Payday loans causing havoc

A young mum, separated from the child's father, due to domestic abuse issues, received £60 last week in benefits only to have a Payday loan immediately collect £52 from her bank account leaving her without any money for food.  She has moved from pillar to post, to avoid having to live at home, and this has meant she has really struggled financially.  The child's father was assisting with daycare for the child while she worked, but this has now fallen apart.  She has no gas or electricity, and on the day we were contacted had just prepared the last pasta she had in the house for her son's lunch.  Our agents have issued her with a food voucher, but she will have to wait until the food bank is open for her to redeem that.  We agreed between us to send her £150 so she can stock up her cupboards and freezer and put some money on to her energy meters.  

Tags : Benefits UniversalCredit DomesticAbuse Poverty FuelPoverty FoodPoverty

Man has ESA stopped

A man who lives alone has extreme anxiety issues which means he has missed some Employment Support Allowance (ESA) meetings, the knock on of this has meant his ESA payments have stopped being paid, as well as his housing benefit due to him being unable to cope.  Our agents are helping him to appeal the ESA decision and try to get his housing benefit reinstated.  In the meantime he doesn't have any money to live off so we agreed to send him £75.

Tags : ESA Benefits Anxiety Appeals HousingBenefit

Lady refused Employment Support Allowance

A lady who has recently been refused Employment Support Allowance (ESA) has been existing off the goodwill of freinds and family for the past 12 weeks.  Our agents have been advising her and have suggested she might put in a claim for Universal Credit, but her appeal hearing is so close, that if she takes the UC route she won't then be able to go back on to ESA.  Our agents are contacting the Tribunals Service to try to get her hearing date as soon as possible, but at the moment she is at her tether regarding managing to cope financially.  We agreed to send her £75.

Tags : ESA DWP Benefits Tribunals UC Poverty

Man being made homeless after 20 years in the same property

A man who has lived at the same address for over 20 years is being made homeless by his landlord.  He struggles with his mental health which he has been unable to receive treatment for, this means he cannot cope with taking good care of himself, such as washing or personal care.  He is in receipt of Universal Credit, but after loans he repays to the DWP he is left with £50 per week.  He is not due another benefit payment until the 16th of May and is currently completely out of money.  In fact when we were told about him he hadn't eaten anything in 4 days.  We immediately sent him £20 to get some food.  He has no money for gas or electric which means he is unable to have any lighting on or cook any food, nor does he have any food either.  We agreed to send him a further £80 to help him with this. 

Tags : UniversalCredit Benefits Poverty ExtremePoverty Homelessness

Mother of 4 trying to turn her life around

We were approached about a single mother of four children who is trying desperately to turn her life around.  She has recovered from issues in her life that left her with depression, psychotic depression and mental health problems.  She has been moved recently from Employment Support Allowance to Universal Credit which has meant delays in her receiving any money (5 weeks so far), which means her putting the children before herself and she is really struggling.  She is studying for a qualification which will mean she has a better future for her and her children, and is volunteering through her church and also with a couple of local groups to her, working one to one with vulnerable adults around issues such as substance abuse and homelessness.  We were asked if we could offer her some financial support, which we agreed to and sent her £150.

Tags : Training Qualifications Benefits UniversalCredit Poverty FamiliesinPoverty

Young woman finding full-time work difficult due to disabilities

A young woman, in her very late teens is living all alone without any family support whatsoever.  She does work part-time but is finding it difficult to cope as she has health issues which has still not been properly diagnosed.  Her mobility is compromised so she only works a few hours a week.  She has been in receipt of Universal Credit (UC), and this has been okay, but she gets paid every four weeks and this month her payment fell two days earlier than expected and according to UCshe has been paid twice, so this month she won't receive any UC payment at all.  UC have also not covered all of her housing costs either, so she has a £120 shortfall on the rent to find, as well as being £100 down on her UC payment. This has meant she is struggling to find the money to pay her travel fares to work as well as covering the rent shortfall. Our agents are helping her to put in an application for Personal Independence Payment.  In the meantime we agreed to send her £125 to help her out.

Tags : UniversalCredit Benefits Pay PIP Disability MobilityIssues

Man with cancer having to give up self-employment

A man who has always been self-employed has been diagnosed with cancer and is currently undergoing intensive treatment.  He had to give up working in December because of his condition, and has recently submitted a claim to be put on to Employment Support Allowance and Personal Independence Payments, which will take some time to be received, assessed and put into payment.  He has been existing by using the remains of a tax rebate and his overdraft to pay his mortgage and bills.  His cooker has broken and our agents have applied for a grant to get this replaced but asked us to help him with some money for food, which we agreed to, sending him £100.

Tags : Benefits ESA PIP Cancer CancerTreatment Poverty Self-Employment

Bereaved lady living on the third floor

We were asked to help a lady who lost her partner suddenly last year which has left her with a lot of debts. Our agents have helped her to set up payment plans for this but it has left her with very little amount of money for food.  She is unable to work as she has a broken hip, and arthritis in her hands.  Living on the third floor of a block of flats makes shopping difficult for her as she can only carry small amounts at a time.  She is currently in receipt of Employment Support Allowance of £73.10 per week.  Our agents are in the process of assisting her to apply for Personal Independence Payments.  We agreed to send her £100 to allow her to stock up on some food items.

Tags : DWP Benefits ESA PIPBreavement

Young woman trying to cope on £53 a week

A young woman unable to work because of hip and joint problems, as well as extreme anxiety and depression received Employment Support Allowance of £53 per week.  Her ESA was stopped last week which had a knock on effect on her housing benefit which meant the payments stopped being paid, putting her in arrears.  There is a shortfall in her rent so she has to make up the difference which costs her £12 a fortnight, and to try to address some of the arrears. She is also in arrears for her water bills, but now has a payment plan in place.  She often does not have enough money to top up her phone so she can contact her doctor or her occupational therapist, nor have money to pay for bus fare to attend her appointments.  We agreed to send her £100, and our agents said they would help her to apply for Personal Independence Payments and to have her ESA reassessed.

Tags : DWP Benefits ESA PIP RentArrears

Vulnerable man is housed

We were asked to assist a young vulnerable adult who has recently been offered housing.  He doesn't though have anything to furnish his home with, nor the funds to be able to purchase them, as his Employment Support Allowance or Personal Independence Payments won't stretch that far.  He is in the process of switching over to claim Universal Credit but his first payment for that won't be for some time yet.  We agreed to send him £100 to use as he sees fit to purchase some essential items to get him started.

Tags : Benefits ESA PIP UC DWP housed vulnerableadults

Single mum needs help with DRO fees

A young mum with a daughter has been desperately trying to save up enough money to cover the cost of a DRO (Debt Relief Order) which costs £90.  Everytime she gets close an emergency crops up and the money is needed elsewhere.  In the meantime she is being relentlessly pursued for money she doesn't have.  She was diagnosed with anxiety and depression over 10 years ago, but lately it has become even harder for her to bear.  She got into this mess when she found herself unable to cope financially and began to rely on credit to get by, just with basic items, not luxuries.  The father of  the child contributes but it is only minimally, and she works part-time, but is limited as to how many hours she can work as she needs to cover child care costs.  The mother is constantly focused on what she cannot afford to buy and feels her daughter is missing out as she cannot send to her birthday parties as she has no spare money at all to afford a birthday present for her daughter to gift at the party.  She is unable to sleep properly and the stress of worrying about money is impacting her mental health, plus she feels her and her daughter are very isolated because of their financial situation.  The child's daughter are supporting the family by providing extra help for the daughter in class to help her socialise more.

We agreed to send her £120, £90 to cover the cost of the DRO and £30 as a small boost for her and her daughter.  Hopefully with this and some budgeting advice she will be able to get her life back on track.

Tags : Debt Poverty Benefits Loneparents DRO Depression Anxiety

Father in his 20's with cancer

A father in his twenties of three children, all 5 years and under lost his job just before Christmas and there was a delay in the family being able to claim and have benefits put into payment.  This meant that over the Christmas period they were supported by their local foodbank who made sure they had food for a family of two adults and three children, as well as some gifts for them to give the children.  Since then they have been struggling to manage financially and now the father has been recently diagnosed with cancer.  The mother is very concerned at how they will manage financially and mentally, as they got behind with the rent when her partner was off work and before housing benefit came into payment.  She wants to make sure that the children's lives carry on as normally as possible despite their father's diagnosis.  We agreed to send the family £200 to give them a bit of breathing space.

Tags : Benefits Cancer Poverty YoungFamilies OutofWork

Lady returns to the UK and is unable to claim benefits

We were told about a lady who is British but has been working outside the UK in France for the past four years.  While she was away,her father died and she was subjected to a serious assault which caused  her mental health to become so bad she ended up in psychiatric care.  She has now returned to the UK, but like anyone arriving here, she has to wait 3 months before she can apply for Universal Credit.  Under the mental health act she was transferred into British psychiatric care here in the UK and is now able to live independently in temporary accommodation.  However she has no money to buy food or toiletries, and also her fathers ashes are awaiting her to collect them at a funeral directors at the opposite end of the country (she would need to travel there to collect them.)  We agreed to send her £150 as she will have to wait for the UC claim, and even once that is in place it will take time for it to be put into payment.

Tags : mentalhealth UKCitizens Benefits Funerals Ashes Poverty

Single lady with lung cancer

A lady who lives alone has been diagnosed with lung cancer.  Her income on Employment Support Allowance is currently £81 per week and she is struggling to meet her outgoings each month.  Our agents are helping her to apply for both Universal Credit so she can get some financial support with her rent, and also to apply for Personal Independence Payment as she will be entitled to that benefit.  Our agents have applied elsewhere for a grant as she needs to purchase a new mattress so she can be certain of getting enough suitable sleep so that she can begin to recover.  We agreed to send her £100 to help her with her energy costs and money for food.

Tags : Benefits ESA PIP UC Cancer LungCancer Rent

Family unable to afford energy costs and food

We received details today of a family of three that are struggling to buy food or pay for their energy costs.  The family are trying to exist on the sole minimum wage of the father as the mother is unable to work due to childcare needs.  They have arrears on their rent and council tax, and are now unable to afford gas, electric or food.  They were in receipt of child tax credits, but this is currently being assessed and won't be in payment for a couple of weeks.  Our agents are assisting the father in trying to secure a better paid job, so they are better able to cope.  We agreed to send the family £100 to help them out. 

Tags : Benefits childtaxcredit minimumwage arrears poverty

Homeless man unable to stay with parents

A very vulnerable man who was released from prison last April has found himself living temporarily with his parents following the breakdown of his marriage last December.  His father has prostrate cancer and is being visited by carers to help him, and his son sleeping in the living room on a camp bed is not an ideal situation.  An alternative place to stay has been found for the man in local supported accommodation, but the man recently had his jacket stolen while he was in a public place and his wallet and money were in the pocket.  He won't receive any further money until the end of April, so is completely without anything until then.  We agreed between us to send him £100.

Tags : Benefits Prison Poverty MarriageBreakdown Cancer Accommodation

Lady needs to pay for letter to satisfy DWP

A lady needed a letter from her doctor to send to the DWP as part of her Employment Support Allowance claim.  Her doctor has agreed to supply the letter but that there will be a charge for the service.  We agreed to send her £25 so she is able to have her claim progressed.

Tags : DWP Benefits ESA Doctors SupportingLetter

Single mum left with nothing from Universal Credit

Our agents contacted us about a single mum that works part-time, due the fluctuating nature of her hours of work, she has been in receipt of Universal Credit (UC), but this month it has ended up that she has received nothing from UC at all.  This has left her in a predicament over her bills and she is without any money to pay for her monthly bus pass, which comes to £64, or to top up her energy meters.  Our agents are currently applying for some energy credit on her behalf, as well as doing a benefits check to make sure she has fully claimed all she is able to.  We agreed to send her £100 to help her pay for her travel costs and for some money for food.  We had some feedback to say she was very grateful for the help, and that our agents are helping her to source access to a suitable training course so that she could apply for a full-time management job.

Tags : Benefits UniversalCredit Poverty travelpass singleparents

Single mum of three in a fix

A single mum of three children, a young teenager and 11 year old twins has recenlty had to submit a claim for Universal Credit when she was told she had to switch over.  She was a victim of domestic abuse for a number of years and relocated to a new area with the support of the Police.  Shortly after she moved she was involved in a car accident which left her with a brain injury and she lost her job.  Following being off work for twelve months, she has now found a job but doesn't start work until later this month and will have to wait for her wages to be paid  In the meantime she is without any money to pay for food or cover her bills.  We agreed to send her £150 to help her with this.

Tags : Benefits UniversalCredit Poverty DomesticAbuse BrainInjury Employment

Mother of four children under 4 needs help

We were approached to help a single mum who has four children under the age of 4.  She is currently subject to checks by social services who have expressed concerns about the sleeping arrangements for the youngest, a 5 month old who is currently sleeping in a Moses basket which is too small.  She is in desperate need of a cot for the baby and unable to afford to get one as her benefits are all used up on food and bills for the family.  We agreed to send the family £150, to purchase a new cot and mattress and some bedding with the money left over for the other children.

Tags : Benefits SingleParents Under4yearolds Cot SocialServices

Single mum needs DRO fee

A young mum of twin girls has had to move several times as she fled each time from domestic abuse.  The twins father has physically beaten her, leaving her with a broken neck on one occasion.  The father has since died and the shock of this and dealing with constant depression, suicidal thoughts and being unable to work since has meant she has not stayed on top of her debts and now has bailiffs chasing her.  Our agents have advised her to apply for a debt relief order and have in the meantime got her listed under the welfare category with the bailiffs so she has a bit of protection.  In the meantime though she does not have the money to be able to apply for the debt relief order, so we agreed to pay the £90 on her behalf.

Tags : DRO DomesticAbuse SingleParents Poverty Benefits

Prison leaver without money

We were asked to help a man who has recently been released from a short spell in prison.  He was in receipt of ESA and PIP but these stopped being paid.  Another agent was supposed to be assisting him in getting these payments put back into place, but it never happened so he contacted the agency who approached us.  This man is very vulnerable as he has had a stroke which has left him with memory problems and behavioural changes.  Our agents are going to help him make the claim, but in the meantime he has no money to purchase any credit to put on to his energy meters, or money for food, so we sent him £75 so he could do this.  We later had a response to say he was very grateful for the assistance.

Tags : Poverty PrisonLeaver Benefits ESA PIP

New mum's baby goes to foster home

Less than a week ago a young mum gave birth to a baby, which immediately went to a foster home.  The partner took their Universal Credit payment of £98 for the month to pay for travel to where the baby was going to help get them settled in and to stay overnight nearby.  The mother has applied for Universal Credit in her own name and requested an advance payment which she can use to get some suitable clothing post pregnancy.  She is currently staying with her mother and normally pays towards her rent and board but the mother has said she will manage without that this month until she gets back on her feet.  In the meantime though she has some post natal appointments she must attend as she is very vulnerable at the moment.  Plus her three other children are currently in foster care and she sees those regularly but does not have any money to pay for the transport to get to see them.  We agreed to send her £80 to cover that until her benefits payments come into payment.

Tags : DWP Benefits FosterCare ChildreninCare JobSeekers UniversalCredit

Lady in debt needs help

We agreed to help with the £90 cost of a debt relief order application.  A lady who only has £400 a month total income is struggling with her debts, making just day to day living almost impossible.  Our agents are going to help her apply for a discretionary housing payment to help her going forwards, but some relief from the debt will be an enormous relief for her.  

Tags : Debt Benefits Poverty DRO

Man living alone without income

Yesterday our help was needed for a man who lives alone in a one bedroomed flat.  He separated from his wife last October, but despite this she has been accessing and debiting his bank account without his knowledge, forcing him to shut his account down to prevent this from continuing to happen.  He was in receipt of Employment Support Allowance as he suffers with depression, extreme anxiety and Chronic obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), however he failed his assessment and his benefits ceased being paid in February.  Since then he has existed on two small crisis loans from his local council, but he has had his maximum and can't have any more.  Our agents are going to help him with appealing the decision but as it will take some time for the DWP to look at his case again he will be without money while he waits.  We agreed to send him £150 so he can buy some food and pay some of his bills.  

Tags : DWP Benefits ESA Appeals Debt Poverty FoodPoverty

Mother flees domestic violence

Our agents asked us if we would consider helping a young mum of two children, ages 2 and 4.  They have had to leave their family home and are currently living in refuge accommodation.  When they arrived they had the clothes they wear wearing and she had a few items of clothing for the children.  All the benefits she receives goes to pay for the refuge accommodation as well as paying back her Universal Credit advance.  Our agents are concerned that she really needs some changes of clothes, specifically underwear, and some toiletry items.  We agreed to send the family £150 to help with this.

Tags : DWP Benefits UniversalCredit Poverty noclothes

Young mum needs cooking facilities

Today we were made aware of a young mum of an 11 month old.  They currently live in a cramped studio flat and the only cooking facilities she has are a two ring hotplate and a microwave.  She does not have access to an oven, nor can afford one.  Her sons behaviour is proving challenging, but she has noticed he is much better when she is able to provide him with good meals using fresh produce.  We agreed to send her £100 for her to buy what she feels would be most suitable for her needs.

Tags : Benefits nocookingfacilites YoungMum crampedlivingconditions

Man with cancer struggling to buy food

Our help was needed today for a man who is currently receiving pallative care for cancer.  His care is being provided by his local hospice and he is finding the treatment has caused his taste to change.  All the money he receives from his benefits is swallowed up by bills, leaving him with no spare money to buy high calorie food he feels able to eat.  We agreed to send him £100 to help him out, and have advised our agents to get their client to apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment to assist him with meeting his council tax bill.

Tags : DWP Benefits Poverty Cancer foodpoverty

Disabled man without money for heating

This man was brought to our attention.  He is disabled and is having issues with his benefits, so our agent was going to contact him to see if a benefits check could be carried out to check he was claiming his full entitlement.  To keep him going to his next payment we transfered to him £50.

Tags : Benefits disability fuelpoverty DWP

Woman suffers domestic violence

A lady had fled a domestic violence situation, ending up in a refuge far away from friends and family.  She is due a benefits payment but not until the first week of April.  In the meantime she has nothing to buy food or anything she needs.  We agreed to transfer over £100 to assist her.

Tags : Benefits domesticviolence refuge poverty

Lady in refuge needs help

This case was a lady who had fled a domestic abuse situation where all her money was being taken off her by her partner.  She was housed initially by the local authority before she arrived at the refuge accommodation. On her arrival they discovered she had nothing, no spare clothes even.  We sent across to her £100 to help her out.

Tags : Benefits DomesticAbuse Refuge Shelter Poverty

Disabled mother of four struggling financially

A disabled mum of four children is struggling to manage financially.  She is affected heavily by the benefit cap, having to find £400 a month to top up the cost of her rent.  She had her PIP claim refused last year and our agents are going to help her appeal this, or at least reclaim.  Her fridge is leaking and her vacuum is broken, and she does not have any money to have these repaired or replaced.  She has applied for a local council assistance scheme, but has been refused as they say they only focus now on care leavers or people that have come from a street homeless situation. We agreed to send her £120 to allow her to get these fixed or purchase reconditioned replacements.

Tags : Benefits Disability Poverty PIP BenefitCap

Family in dire straits

Help was needed for a family that arrived here in the UK back in 2011.  The parents separated for a while and lived their lives, however the father became dependant on alcohol in 2017 and was unable to work as a result.  He claimed for Employment Support Allowance and joined a detox programme which has resulted in him giving up alcohol completely.  Shortly after the couple moved back in together but have now realised that this was a mistake and they should have stayed apart.  The wife is now considered homeless and is waiting to secure accommodation for her and their teenaged children.  Both parents have submitted separate claims for Universal Credit, and despite them having worked almost continuously since they arrived in the UK in 2011 they are both having to fulfill a habitual residency test.  The initial test they failed and the first claim was cancelled.  They are now claiming again, and need to wait for the result of the habitual residency test before they can make an advanced claim on the Universal Credit.  The Mother now works part-time, 16 hours per week but it is not enought money to keep a household of four going.  We agreed to send over £150 to allow them to purchase energy and fuel.

Tags : Benefits DWP UniversalCredit AlcoholDependency EUNationals Homelessness FoodPoverty

Urgent request for assistance

We were approached to help a young lady who unfortunately suffers with many health conditions.  She is at the moment suffering very serious epileptic seizures several times a day which means she is unable to work as she would be a health and safety risk both to herself and those around her.  Up until now she has been existing financially on just her Disability Living Allowance payments, so our agents are helping her to make a claim for Universal Credit, but they are going into this knowing that it will take at least 7 weeks before payments are properly in place.  In the meantime she is without money for energy or food.  We agreed we would send over to her the sum of £150 to help her out. 

Tags : DWP Benefits DLA UniversalCredit Poverty FoodPoverty FuelPoverty Epilepsy NotFittoWork

Family on Universal Credit forced to consider giving up family pet

One of our agents was contacted today by a man who lost his job in December last year.  He has applied for Universal Credit but is still waiting all these weeks later for it to be sorted out properly.  He has fallen into arrears on his rent and has no money for food for him or his family.  Fortunately they are being well supported by their local foodbank who are supplying them with food, but they have no cat food to give them.  With only one can of food left, he made the painful call to ask if their cat could be rehomed to somewhere that could afford to feed it.  (According to our agents lots of people are abandoning their pets because they don't have enough money to feed them). We organised some tins of supermarket cat food for him, enough to last the month, until hopefully his Universal Credit is finally sorted out, and an extra £20 for him to get some essentials with.

Tags : Benefits UniversalCredit Poverty Pets GivingupPets OutofWork JobSeekers RentArrears

Man has his benefits stolen

Our agents asked us to assist a man who following visiting his local cashpoint, he drew out his £140 payment of Job Seekers Allowance.  On his way home he was attacked and robbed of all his money, leaving him with nothing to pay for food over the next two weeks until his payment is made again.  Although his friends were rallying round to help him, they too are in an extreme poverty situation and can only do so much without going without themselves.  We agreed to send him £80 to tide him over until his next benefit payment is made.

Tags : DWP Benefits JobSeekersAllowance Robbery Poverty nofood

Man has his benefits stolen

Our agents asked us to assist a man who following visiting his local cashpoint, he drew out his £140 payment of Job Seekers Allowance.  On his way home he was attacked and robbed of all his money, leaving him with nothing to pay for food over the next two weeks until his payment is made again.  Although his friends were rallying round to help him, they too are in an extreme poverty situation and can only do so much without going without themselves.  We agreed to send him £80 to tide him over until his next benefit payment is made.

Tags : DWP Benefits JobSeekersAllowance Robbery Poverty nofood

Lady on Employment Support Allowance in debt

A lady who suffers with thyroid disease, anxiety and depression is in debt and seems to be unable to break out of this cycle.  The stress of the debt hanging over her head is causing her anxiety to spiral, which only serves to make her depression worse.  Our agents have advised her to apply for a Debt Relief Order and get the debts resolved.  In order to do this she needed £90 to cover the administration cost, which we agreed to pay on her behalf.

Tags : DWP Benefits Debt Poverty DRO

Man feels bullied so leaves his job

A man who was working as a chef, has recently left his job as he felt he was being singled out for unpleasant attention, so much so that he felt bullied.  He suffers as well with mental health issues, and doesn't fully understand the benefits system, so has fallen behind with his rent and is now facing the threat of eviction.  He has applied for Universal Credit, and is due to receive his first payment this Friday.  From his £520 payment he is going to make his  rent payment plus £50 towards the arrears.  This though will mean he will be left once the bills have been paid with no money for food for the month until his next payment is made.  We agreed to send him £100 to help him out so he has some food.

Tags : UniversalCredit Benefits Debt RentArrears Eviction

Young mum struggling with heating costs

Help was needed for a young mum who works part-time and is in receipt of tax credits. Her son was born prematurely and as a result of this has speech and developmental delays, but also has issues with his chest which has seen him hospitalised several times already this year.  The cost of getting him to and from hospital is proving to be an added expense she wasnt prepared for.  Also though it has been necessary for her to have the heating on more often because of her son's chest infections. She has now had to apply for disability living allowance for her son, and if successful this will help her enormously, but there is quite a wait to find out if the claim is successful or not.  In the meantime we agreed to send her £150 to help her out.

Tags : Benefits DLA hospitalvisits singleparents

Gentleman being advised to be considered for Best Supportive Care

A man, previously employed in a factory, has been advised that the progression of his cancer now means that he needs to be cosnidered for best supportive care for his last months or weeks even.  He is not in receipt of any benefits, which our contact is going to investigate on his behalf.  He is currently living with his son and his family, and is struggling with trying to keep warm.  He wants to be able to contribute to some of the extra costs of keeping the house warm.  We agreed to send across £200 to pay for the extra energy costs.

Tags : Benefits Cancer PallativeCare EnergyCosts Poverty EnergyPoverty

Man with cancer not coping with bills

A man diagnosed with skin cancer has had his application for Universal Credit turned down.  Currently he receives £280 a month from a personal pension and that is it, yet his rent alone is £122 a week.  He has an appointment scheduled with the DWP to get this refusal sorted out, it seems it has become complicated as he was self-employed before.  Our agents are prepared to help him appeal the decision if necessary.  We agreed to send him £100 towards his bills.

Tags : DWP Benefits UniversalCredit SkinCancer Poverty

Single mum unable to afford gas or electric

A single mum who is in receipt of Universal Credit to top up her wages is really struggling to manage financially.  Her UC amount varies from month to month, but usually she has just enough to cover the cost of her rent.  Once she has bought food, and paid her bills she doesn't have enough money to put any credit on to her energy meters.  We agreed to send £100 to help the family out.

Tags : UniversalCredit Benefits Debt FuelPoverty Poverty

Lady refused Employment Support Allowance

A lady in her early 40s, living with her adult son was refused Employment Support Allowance back in September last year when her claim came up for renewal, and her benefits payments stopped. She was working until 18 months ago, but had to stop due to a back injury.  Our agents are assisting her in applying for a discretionary housing payment to help with the bedroom tax situation, however the lady has a possession order against her for the property and is currently facing eviction as she is so far behind on her rent.  Currently she is living with her mother as she is at high risk of suicide, due to the depression that set in after she failed her ESA assessment.  Our agents are helping her to appeal the ESA decision and get her payments back into place.  We agreed to send her £100 to assist her.

Tags : DWP Benefits ESA Appeals BedroomTax Eviction Poverty

Travel costs needed to get to funeral

We were approached on be4half of a young woman whose Gran has recently died.  Her Gran raised her as a child, and although they are at opposite ends of the country the woman would like to be able to attend the funeral.  She recently lost her job when the care home she was working at closed suddenly without notice.  She applied for Universal Credit over 5 weeks ago, and has taken advantage of the fact that she can obtain an advance payment, as she is in privately rented accommodation and her landlord is unprepared to wait to be paid.  Universal Credit have told her that despite the fact she has already been waiting five weeks, she could have to wait a further three weeks before the first payment can be made.  The cost to get her from where she lives down south to Manchester and back would cost just over £72, which we agreed to cover.

Tags : DWP UniversalCredit Benefits Funerals TravelCosts Poverty JobSearching

Single mother wants to rebuild her life

A single mum who has throughout her life suffered abuse, from her parents growing up, from partners in relationships, often fleeing physical abuse.  She has tried many times to rebuild her life but keeps getting knocked back.  Our agents asked if we could help this single mum out, she is currently in receipt of Universal Credit and once all her rent and bills have been covered, she is left with £50 a week to heat the house and feed both her and her children.  We agreed to send her £100 to help her out.

Tags : DWP Benefits SingleMother UniversalCredit Poverty

Man flees domestic abuse

The man in question has recently moved from a small one bedroomed flat to a larger property.  He has fled a domestic abuse situation and needs a larger property as one of his children has moved in to live with him.  He was in receipt of Employment Support Allowance, however the date for his assessment clashed with a court date regarding the custody of his child.  He did inform DWP, but they cancelled his claim anyhow, so he is currently in the process of appealing that decision.  His second child could soon be moving in to live with him as well.  His landlord contacted our agents as this man was struggling for items for his home, and was also without money.  We agreed to send him £150 to help him out.

Tags : DWP Benefits ESA DomesticAbuse Children CustodyCases Poverty

Teenaged mum sofa surfing with her son

A young teenaged mum with severe mental health problems is currently of no fixed abode.  She is managing by sofa surfing with her baby son, at friends that are kind enough to put them up.  She is unable to work at the moment as she is under the supervision of a psychiatrist.  She has submitted a claim for Universal Credit and has taken advantage of the advanced payment but used most of this to buy nappies and milk for her baby.  We agreed to send them £150, which we split over two payments to assist her with budgeting.

Tags : Benefits singleparent budgetinghelp fuelpoverty foodpoverty sofasurfing

Mature student finds apprenticeship cancelled

A mature student in his thirties had found an apprenticeship as a plumber.  He was with the business for almost a year but they realised they were in trouble and could no longer afford to keep him on.  He found another placement, but they messed him around and were refusing to pay him.  He suffers with depression and is the sole carer of his teenaged son.  All these issues are weighing him down, he is struggling to cope financially.  Our contacts had assisted him with money to put on to his fuel meters, and he's been to the foodbanks for food.  His child tax credits have stopped being paid, and he's had to apply for Universal Credit.  His first payment from Universal Credit won't be until the 20th February, and he has already had a £200 advance payment.  We agreed to send him £150 to buy food and to be able to top up his fuel meters.

Tags : DWP Benefits Apprenticeships UniversalCredit Poverty foodpoverty fuelpoverty

Lady admitted to a refuge with £16 to her name

This lady had relocated from a completely different part of the UK and found herself being admitted to a refuge miles from her former home.  Where she was living she was being exploited which had resulted in her being left with just £16 of her Employment Support Allowance and Personal Independence benefits payments to last her for two weeks.  We sent her £100 to use to buy food and pay for gas and or electricity.

Tags : Benefits DWPESA PIP Exploitation nofood

Lady of 64 left without any income

Due to the changes in the retirement age, now many women having to wait much longer before they can claim their pension, women that are disabled are having to continue to claim Employment Support Allowance (ESA) as an income replacing benefit.  This lady, 64 years of age and living alone, was in receipt of ESA and PIP (Personal Independence Payments), however when her claims came up for renewal, she repeated her application but this time was turned down, found fit for work and taken off both claims, leaving her without any financial support.  She applied for Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) instead, but due to her being disabled was not able to fulfill the requirements of JSA and so the DWP cancelled her claim.  She has been without any money since just before Christmas.  She has been living off two small local authority grants and a food voucher since December 21st.  The Welfare Rights team that are helping her are going to assist her to appeal the ESA decision and to get the pre-assessment rate of ESA benefits put back into place.  This though takes time to do, as a sick note has to be obtained from the doctor and sent to the DWP and they then have to get the application processed before payment can be made.  We agreed to send the lady £100 so she can have some money for food and fuel.

Tags : DWP Benefits ESA PIP Pensions WaspiWomen FitforWork Poverty Benefitsnotpaying

Young mum without money to heat home

We were asked to help a young mum with two young children who has a few days to wait until her next Universal Credit payment and has no money for the gas and electricity meters.  She is struggling to make her money last her and has been referred for budgeting assistance to help her going forward.  We agreed to send her £50 so she can top up her meters and be warm for the next week until she is paid her benefits again.

Tags : Benefits singleparents budgetinghelp fuelpoverty

Mother of one without food and heat in freezing conditions

This mother of a six year is in employment, but for the past weeks she has not been given any shifts at work.  She is in receipt of Universal Credit but is unable to cover her council tax bill, nor have any money for food or heating.  She has been trying to find a better job where she can be guaranteed hours of work, but so far she has not had any success.  Her mental health and anxiety are being exacerbated by the stress of her situation. She is not due another Universal Credit payment until the middle of February.  We agreed to send her and her daughter £150 to cover the cost of topping up her energy meters and buying some food.

Tags : Benefits UniversalCredit ZeroHoursContracts FuelPoverty FoodPoverty DWP

Freezing cold and no money for heating

We were asked to help a young woman who up until the 21st December last year was working.  She has attended a couple of job interviews but so far has not had any success in securing employment.  She is in the process of applying for benefits but has failed to get the application completed as she does not yet have a bank account.  To apply for an advance on her Universal Credit payment, she'd need a bank account.  Her friend will accept the first payment for her but is away until after the weekend.  In the meantime where she is staying is freezing cold and she has absolutely no money for food or heating.  We agreed to send her £70 to tide her over until her friend returns home.

Tags : Benefits Unemployment UniversalCredit BankAccounts Poverty FuelPoverty

Family struggling on Universal Credit

The family, a mother, father and two children, ages 3 and 1 years of age are struggling to manage.  Both parents work, but in low paid jobs and they receive Universal Credit to top up their wages to a liveable amount.  This is not working for them as they are in desperate need of some essentials for the children, such as duvets, pillows and bedding.  We agreed to send them £100 to help them out.

Tags : UniversalCredit Benefits LowIncome Bedding Children

Bereaved family need help

A family lost the father of the family and were renting a property from a relative of the family for a really low price.  However the mother has now remarried and they have now been given an official eviction date.  The mother is working, but she has depression and anxiety, and is also a recovering alcoholic.  They are in the process of seeking alternative accommodation, and will when they move need a new bed, double mattress and a fridge freezer.  The debt the family are in, including a large amount for council tax means they are unable to purchase what they need.  However as the financial needs of the family are far beyond our fund's remit, we couldn't agree to buy these items for them, but we did agree to send them £100 to go towards the things they need.  

Tags : DWP Benefits Debts Eviction Bereavement Poverty

Foodbank needs funds to be able to help others

We sent a £100 donation towards a foodbank that were crowdfunding to raise money to buy food to stock their foodbank larder.  We don't do this often, but we know that this money can help lots of families to have access to much needed food.

Tags : Foodbanks Benefits UniversalCredit FoodPoverty Familieswithoutfood

Lady in Refuge without enough money

Our client is a lady currently living in temporary accommodation following a relationship breakdown.  She currently receives £73.10 every two weeks to live on.  She is really struggling to manage, and has to attend court next week regarding an incident with her husband.  She does not have the money to pay any bus fares to court or money to top up her gas and electric meters.  We agreed to send her £100 to help her with and hopefully relieve some of the stress she is currently under.

Tags : Refuge RelationshipBreakdowns Benefits Debts Poverty

Stroke causes man to close his business and end up in debt

The man in this situation had his own business and had been self-employed for some time.  He had been struggling because his clients would take a very long time to pay him, the stress made him unwell and resulted in him having a stroke.  He had to close his business down and has been in receipt of job seekers allowance.  His adult son moved in with him for a time, but he has his own health issues, but his presence in the house have only made his debts far worse.  He is now at a point where his debt repayment amounts are leaving him in a situation where he doesn't have enough money for food or to top up his energy meters.  His house is freezing cold, and have little to no food is making things much worse.  His health is just getting worse each day and he is due to have a blood pressure meter fitted this week, and his doctors are concerned his high blood pressure could trigger another stroke.  He recently lost his partner to cancer, and his depression is spiralling.  Our agents feel the best course of action is for him to apply for a debt relief order and they are prepared to help him apply for this.  He needs though the funding to cover the cost of the application.  We agreed to pay the £90 fee and sent an extra £30 so he can top his energy meters up.  

Tags : DebtDRO Stroke Benefits DWP JSA Poverty

Electrical issues damage kitchen appliances

We had a school contact us, one of the parents at the school, a single dad had experienced electrical problems in his kitchen which had resulted in his cooker, hob and fridge freezer becoming damaged, leaving them unusable.  The father is in receipt of Job Seekers Allowance, often needing financial assistance from the school.  He is in dire need of a new cooker and fridge freezer.  We don't cover the cost of new white goods as that is way beyond our remit, but we will offer £80 to go towards refurbished items.  We have also signposted him to a place where he can access funding specifically for the purposes of replacing white goods.

Tags : Benefits JobSeekersAllowance SingleParents WhiteGoods Poverty

Man unable to put on his heating

We were asked to assist a gentleman struggling with anxiety and depression.  He moved home in January 2018 and his gas meter was in arrears when he moved.  Since the move he has been trying really hard to clear the arrears so that he can have some heating on in his flat, as the lack of heat is triggering his depression and making him even worse.  His Universal Credits payments don't allow him to make any headway in clearing the debt and his mental health is really poor with this extreme cold weather.  Our agents had tried other agencies for help with grants, but all so far had refused because of his arrears.  We agreed to send him £100, so he could clear the debt completely and have £30 to top up his meter with.

Tags : UniversalCredit Benefits Debts FuelPoverty Poverty Depression

Diagnosis of cancer brings money worries

We were approached by a doctor who has been treating a patient diagnosed with cancer.  The diagnosis has meant he has had to be on sick leave from his job as a care worker, and is in receipt of statutory sick pay.  It is looking like his employers are wanting to make him redundant which is causing him a great deal of stress.  As a result of the cancer he has had to have an above knee amputation, meaning his existing home was no longer suitable.  The cost of moving to more suitable accommodation has brought up extra costs at a time when his income is seriously limited.  We were asked if we could consider helping him and agreed to send him a grant of £100.  Local agencies are helping him to determine how he stands contractually regarding his employment situation.

Tags : DWP Benefits Poverty Cancer AboveKneeAmputation PIP MovingHome

Single man without food or heat

We were asked if we could help a single man in his 50s.  He had been in receipt of Job Seekers Allowance (JSA), but managed to get a part-time job doing some cleaning work.  However this was causing him issues around his health so had to reluctantly give it up.  His JSA had been reduced due to his working, and since having to give the job up the deductions were still being made, leaving him with nothing to live on.  Our agents are trying to look into his claim and think he may have been sanctioned by the DWP, but as yet have been unable to ascertain this to be the case.  He has had an emergency payment from his local council as well as food vouchers, and exhausted all resources local to him.  We agreed to send him £100 so he can at least be able to buy some food and have money to top up his energy meters.

Tags : DWP JSA Sanctions Poverty NoFood Benefits

Student without essential uniform

We were asked to assist a family, single mum of three children, where the teenaged daughter had been out of education for 15 months.  The girl was now back in school, following support given to the family.  However she is struggling because her Mum who is on Universal Credit is unable to provide her with a school blazer and some items of PE kit.  The lack of these items is seriously impacting on this young girl's school experience.  We agreed to send the family £75 so that they can buy the blazer for her and the other things she needs, so she feels more included.

Tags : DWP Benefits UniversalCredit Poverty SchoolUniforms Education

Young Mum frustrated by Universal Credit Application

A Mum of a young daughter was working part-time in a supermarket, 7.5 hours per week, claiming child tax credits, child benefit and some financial support from her ex partner.  Struggling to make ends meet she applied for Universal Credit to top her payments up, but this brought her existing payments to a halt and she faces a long wait while her claim is processed.  In the meantime her rent payments have fallen behind as her housing benefit was one of those that stopped being paid.  Her landlord annoyed that the rent isn't being paid has been threatening the mum, causing her to become very concerned.  She has been unable to go into work because she needs to put her daughter into the breakfast club at school, but without the money to pay for it, she can't access the scheme.  Her bank account was a little overdrawn, £24, so we agreed to send her £125, to clear the overdraft and allow her and her daughter to have some money for food.  Our agents are going to help her regarding the landlord situation as they are not allowed to threaten her like this and must follow the official route.

Tags : Singleparents Benefits DWP UniversalCredit debt poverty

Young man struggling to claim benefits without a phone

We were asked to help a young man whose benefits stopped being paid over the Christmas Period, he had been in receipt of Employment Support Allowance.  He tried to make an application for Universal Credit, but due to his poor language skills, mental health issues and lack of a mobile phone this was not successful.  He is unable to top up his gas and electricity meters due to not having any money, nor any money for food.  We agreed to send him £75 to help him out until he can get his benefits claim sorted out.

Tags : Benefits DWP ESA UniversalCredit FuelandFoodPoverty

Single mother of three children coping after ending abusive relationship

A single mother of three children, ages 8, 5 and 4, has recently separated from her abusive husband.  She is having to cope with being left on her own with the children, and has had to pay two months rent in advance so that they can stay in their current home.  The father has left with many of the household items, which she is hoping to replace in time.  She is having to rely temporarily on the benefits system in order to simply survive.  She has been engaging really well with all the agencies concerned that are trying to help her find suitable employment so that she can end her benefits claim.  She came to attention when she visited her local foodbank looking for help and support.  We agreed to send her  We agreed to send her £150 to help her and her children out.  She was really grateful for the help and support she had received.

Tags : Benefits SingleParents AbusiveRelationships Poverty

Dad unable to have his kids at the weekend

Our case this time was a father of three children, twins aged 7 and a five year old.  One of the twins is autistic and attends a special school.  He suffers with anxiety and depression following the break down of his abusive relationship.  The children currently live with their mother, who has mental health problems.  The father has had the children staying with him several nights a month, but has had to tell the mother he is unable to as he cannot afford to heat his flat, nor heat the water so that the children are able to have a bath.  His flat is rented and is currently heated by large inefficient storage heaters.  He is desperately missing having his children and this is impacting negatively on his mental health.  However the agencies that are helping him, such as his local foodbank are all reporting that he is engaging well and doing everything that is asked of him in an effort to improve his situation.  We agreed to send him £100 so that he can top up his energy meters and be able to put the heating on.

Tags : DWP Benefits SingleDad FuelPoverty UniversalCredit

Man under threat of eviction

Our clients asked us if we could help a man who was in a large amount of debt regarding his rent.  The amount we were asked to help with was far too high for us, we help with things like food and fuel (gas and electric).  The man in question is a recovering alcoholic and is doing everything he can to stay off the alcohol and our contact is satisifed with his progress.  He was in receipt of Employment Support Allowance but lost that in May 2018.  The decision was appealed against, but again this was not successful.  These breakdowns in benefits payments have had a negative impact on his housing benefit, hence the rent arrears.  We offered him the best we could which is £100 towards fuel and food, and hope that he is able to work with his housing provider to avoid being evicted from his property.

Tags : Benefits rentarrears housingbenefit foodpoverty fuelpoverty alcoholism

Single Dad needs money for gas and electricity

We were approached about helping a single dad who has sole care of his two oldest children, and at the weekends care of his youngest two as well.  Since taking on the care of the older children he has had to put in a claim for Universal Credit and he is really struggling to make ends meet.  Our contact had been speaking to this man who said that he has nothing on his gas meter at all and 75p on his electricity meter.  The house is cold, he is unable to heat it, nor does he have any money to be able to prepare a hot meal for them all.  His next Universal Credit payment is not due for at least a week.  We agreed that we would send over immediately £100 to go towards fuel and food.

Tags : Benefits SingleDad FuelPoverty FoodPoverty Noheat nohotfood DWP

Man wins his appeal for PIP

We were asked to help a man who had lost his PIP (Personal Independence Payment) award.  He successfully appealed it but it took a year to be heard and then although he'd won, he was waiting to be repaid the money he was due, dating back to when his PIP award was cancelled.  Completely without money for Christmas he was really fed up as it meant even longer to wait.  We offered him £50 to tide him over as finally found out that the payment to him from the DWP would be made on the 27th of this month.

Tags : DWP Benefits PIP Appeal Repayment

Homeless young man finally has a home of his own

A young man who had been street homeless for quite some time was finally offered a place to live, somewhere to call home.  As he has been homeless for some time all he has are the clothes he was wearing, we were asked to help him with some money.  Our agents had managed to secure some furniture and white goods for him, but he still needed bedding, saucepans, crockery, cutlery, towels, etc.  He has made a claim for Universal Credit but his first payment won't be until after Christmas.  We agreed we would send him £100 to help him get started on what he needs.

Tags : DWP Benefits UniversalCredit homelessness onthestreets rehomedatlast

Heavily pregnant mother at Christmas has benefits suspended

We had an urgent case to respond to.  A pregnant mother, baby due the 23rd of this month has had her benefits suspended because she has been told she has failed the habitual residency test.  She actually has leave to stay indefinitely in the UK, however there was a house fire and her documents confirming this were lost in the fire.  The DWP have already had sight of these documents when she applied in the first place, but they are now saying she isn't entitled.  As her home and belongings were destroyed she is now living in temporary accommodation, housed by her local council. She is in the process of getting her documentation replaced via the Home Office and has been given a small grant of £105 by her council but she cannot claim anything more.  That money she used to buy food for herself and some items for the baby, however she does not even have money to be able to get herself to the hospital when she needs to.  We agreed to send her today £150 so she can have some money to help her out.  Our agents are supporting her in getting the habitual residency test resolved and are appealing the Universal Credit suspension decision.

Tags : Benefits UniversalCredit housefire temporaryaccommodation habitualresidencytest righttostay heavilypregnantmother

Young mum and 4 year old facing Christmas without money

A young mum who is currently living in a refuge with her 4 year old daughter is waiting to receive her first Universal Credit payment.  So far she has received two crisis loans and has been told that she cannot have anything more.  It could be several weeks before she receives her first UC payment and faces Christmas without money or food.  Our agents asked us if we could offer some help to her and her daughter.  We agreed to send her £100, plus a further £50 for them both to enjoy some Christmas cheer.

Tags : Benefits UniversalCredit Refuge Christmas NoMoney NoFood

Mother of two flees domestic violence

Help was requested for a mother of two children.  She had fled a domestic violence situation and had had to move to a completely new area of the country to feel safe.  Leaving everything behind them, bar what they could carry, the local council where she was moving to covered the cost of getting them there and they've been housed in an empty property.  Her health worker has purchased a kettle and a toaster for them, and they have a toddler bed for the two year old.  The other child is sharing a bed they've been loaned with her Mum.  The area she has moved to has Universal Credit in place, so she's had to submit an application for that, which will have a knock on effect on the payment of her benefits.  We were asked to help her with some money so that she can buy a bed for her eldest daughter and any other things she might be able to pick up cheaply secondhand.  We agreed to send her £150 and an extra £50 for the children to ensure that their first Christmas in their new home has some Christmas cheer.

Tags : Benefits domesticviolence children refuge nobed UniversalCredit

Universal Credit not working for people!

This case was a frustrating one.  A young mother is trying to keep herself and her children afloat, working and being 'assisted' by Universal Credit.  She has rent arrears, owes money to her family and to her childminder.  She is paid minimum wage and has rent, etc  to pay.  She is supposed to be topped up by Universal Credit, but her payments are being cut because they say she is earning too much.  She has tried to get some advice but isn't fairing too well in the area of the country she lives and ended up being given some advice printed off the Internet that she could have found herself.  Our agent has helped her write an email to her local MP to get some help and support with her case with the DWP, because when she phoned them up and was on the phone for an hour, as soon as she said she wanted to lodge a formal complaint they hung up the phone on her.  We agreed to send her £100, plus an extra £50 for the children.

Tags : Benefits DWP UniversalCredit debts workingdoesn'tpay

Lady in education loses ESA

We were contacted about a young woman, here in the UK on a refugee status.  She was previously in receipt of Employment Support Allowance, but her payments stopped being paid.  Our contacts attempted to help her apply for Universal Credit but were told as she is in full-time education now, UC would not be an option available to her.  She is now unable to afford her rent, pay her bills or buy food.  Our agents have organised food parcels and small amounts of money, and have approached the college, but all they can help with is a small travel grant.  We agreed between us to send her £75 to allow her to buy some food and pay for some gas and electricity.

Tags : DWP Benefits RefugeeStatus UniversalCredit

Single lady facing trouble over the Christmas period

We were approached about a lady in her forties, living alone.  She has many difficult health issues, and the constant cold is only making matters seriously worse.  She has rent arrears as well as utilities arrears which are currently being deducted at source from her benefits payments.  The DWP unexpectedly reduced her usual payment by £100, leaving her with just £10 until her next due payment in January 2019.  Our agents are helping her to get the regular deduction amounts reduced, and to assist her with budgeting going forward, and apply for Personal Independence Payments.  She has very little gas and electric left on her prepayment meters, so she will be over the holidays without gas and electric, without food, or both.  Our agents are extremely concerned about her welfare over the holiday period.  We agreed to help out by sending £150 but over three payments of £50.

Tags : DWP Benefits Debts Christmas NoFood NoEnergy Disability ESA

We are featured in today's issue of The Guardian newspaper

Today we were featured in an article written by Frances Ryan in The Guardian newspaper, which you can read here.  We are overwhelmed by the level of support from individuals that have stepped up to offer a donation to the fund, or to apply to become regular supporters.  We are a group of volunteers that fit in what we do around the other stuff in our lives, such as families, our health, work, etc. so as such it is going to take us a while to be able to respond to you all.  Rest assured we will do this because we know first hand how tough it is and how even the smallest amount can begin to make a difference in another person's life.  We pride ourselves on our ability to act as quickly as possible.

Some people have been asking on the article if they can donate via another route other than Paypal.  You can, by instructing your bank to make a direct payment to our bank. 

Our details are as follows:  Lloyds Bank plc, Sort code: 30-98-41 and Account Number:  72674060

If you would like to donate via Gift Aid, then please email: giftaid@biscuitfund.org

Once again, a big thank you to you all.  With your donations we are going to be able to help so many more people in dire situations over the coming months.

Tags : TheGuardian donations helpatChristmas UniversalCredit DWP Benefits FamiliesatCrisispoint homelessness nofood nomoney

Single mum of two in crisis

Help was needed for a single mum of two children, one of whom is disabled.  The mum is unable to work due to being ill herself and they exist on her Employment Support Allowance, Child Benefit and Child Tax Credits.  Her disabled son has recently had his disability claim denied which has left the mum unexpectedly very short of money. She is currently repaying a loan to the DWP and an overpayment of rent back to the local authority.  (When benefits stop being paid for whatever reason, there is often a delay for housing benefit to catch up.  When they do catch up, invariably it ends up that the claimant owes money back to the council.  The claimant then has to fight to get the full housing benefit reinstated which can take weeks to be resolved.)  Our agents are in the process of requesting that the regular repayment amounts to the DWP and the LA are reduced so that she can attempt to keep their heads above water.

The mum was in a predicament as she is unable to afford food and the growing children don't have winter coats to keep them warm either.  We agreed to send her £80 to help her out with this.

Tags : Benefits disability disabledchild DWP nofood nowintercoats

Sick man unable to afford to put on the heating

We sent £30 to help a man out who was struggling with the cold as he was unable to afford to put his heating on in his home. He is in receipt of Employment Support Allowance, and was receiving Personal Independence Payment, which topped up his ESA and is to help you to try to live as normal a life as possible.  He lost his PIP a year ago and has been waiting since then to have his case come up at a tribunal so the decision can be challenged. He is on a pre-payment meter for his gas and electric and they are too expensive to run, so when he has the money he puts on a small portable radiator, but even that he hasn't been able to afford to use.  His home being constantly cold is negatively impacting on his already failing health.

Tags : Benefits PIP ESA disability noheating

Woman struggling to stay in her home

We were approached to help a woman who following a relationship breakdown found herself homeless.  She also had recently lost her expected baby which had had a huge impact on her mental health.  She was taken in and supported by a refuge then finally a flat was found for her to move into.  Her benefits payments have been impacted resulting in her not receiving her payments one month, which caused her to fall into arrears with her rent.  Our agents are helping her to apply for a discretionary housing payment and to get her rent arrears sorted.  We agreed that we would send her £30 as a moral boost and to allow her to get some groceries in.

Tags : Benefits refuge homeless rentarrears debts

House infested with bugs

In this case our client is a woman who has left an abusive relationship.  She accepted a housing association property and found out after she'd moved in that the flat was infested with bed bugs. She tried to get the housing association to help her but for some reason they refused to help, stating the issue was hers to resolve.  She borrowed £500 from her family to purchase replacement furniture and the cost of having the flat fumigated.  So far she has repaid half of what is owed, however her family are insisting that she repay the loan with half the benefits she has to live off.  This is leaving her in a situation where she is unable to afford food to eat or to be able to cover her bills.  She currently has the added stress of being on Job Seekers Allowance, having lost her Employment Support Allowance.  Our agents are helping her to get back on to ESA as the stress is seriously impacting her mental health.  We agreed between us that we would send her £50 to help her out in the interim.

Tags : JSA Benefits debts family bedbugs infestation

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

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

Already depressed man is sanctioned by the DWP

Our help was asked for in respect of a man who is battling depression.  He missed an appointment with the DWP and consequently the DWP have sanctioned his money and he was left with no money to cover his bills, which he now in debt with, nor any money to buy food.  When our agent visited him, he was very tearful and feeling unable to cope, so they asked us if we could help him until he could get a claim for Universal Credit submitted.  Our agents are taking him to his local CAB office next week to get the UC claim started and we agreed in the meantime to send him £100 to help him out.

Tags : Benefits DWP Sanctions Depression UniversalCredit

Woman sanctioned by DWP following death of her partner

We were approached regarding a woman who has recently lost her partner and is under serious stress at the moment, due to other issues beside this.  With all this stress she missed an appointment with the DWP and as a result her money has been sanctioned and won't be back in payment for at least four weeks.  She has some arrears regarding her rent and council tax, and no money to pay bills or buy food.  We were asked if we could consider helping her out in the interim.  We agreed to send her £100 to hopefully tide her over until her payments can restart.

Tags : DWP Benefits Sanctions bereavement nomoney nofood

Single lady with no means of cooking

Our agents are helping a lady that suffers with hearing and sight loss, as well as a degenerative condition.  She is existing currently on only £55 a week to cover everything she needs, such as utilities, bills and food.  While they were visiting this lady they realised she has no means of cooking in her accommodation apart from a toaster.  They asked us if we could help her out by sending enough money for her to be able to purchase a microwave oven, as she is struggling to meet her current needs let alone have anything left over to save.  We agreed to send her £50 to help her out.

Tags : Benefits disabilities nooven lowincome struggling

Single Mum starts work

Our agents contacted us about a single mum who was previously not working and in receipt of Employment Support Allowance.  She has now started working, 16 hours a week, but because she doesn't receive any payment for a month, she is struggling to cope.  She will be in receipt of working tax credit eventually, but that too will take time before it is in payment.  We agreed to send to her £100 to help her out through this month.

Tags : WorkingTaxCredit WorkingMums SingleMums Benefits ESA

Domestic Violence survivor needs help

We were approached about a young woman who lives with her two children.  She is a survivor of domestic abuse which has impacted her mental health, resulting in her losing her job as she was unable to fulfill the role.  She has been switched over to Universal Credit which has resulted in her getting behind with her rent while it was being sorted out.  Her PIP application is currently at the appeal stage and she won't know the outcome for some weeks yet.  She does receive some money, albeit not the full amount.  Her child tax credits are paid to her next week but in the meantime she is without any money between now and then.  We agreed to send across £50 to help her out.

Tags : UniversalCredit RentArrears Benefits MentalHealth

Mother with mental health issues is sanctioned

A mother who lives with her 20 year old daughter has had her ESA sanctioned for four weeks.  She is suffering with mental health problems and this has left her in a very difficult financial situation.  Her daughter has a part-time job, working 12 hours a week, but this is the only income they have at the moment.  She has applied for a hardship payment, and has been given a food voucher.  Our agents are assisting her to apply for PIP, but in the meantime, until her sanction is lifted in September she is very hard up.  We agreed to send her £100 to use to buy food and top up her energy meters.

Tags : DWP Benefits ESA PIP Sanctions nomoney nofood foodbanks

Young single mum of four needs help

Our case this time is a young single mum of four children.  She has had a very troubled life, finding herself repeatedly in abusive relationships.  At one point she was kidnapped and attacked by some men unknown to her.  This has left her with extreme anxiety and unable to trust anyone.  Three of the four children live with her, and the two youngest do not have mattresses on their beds, although she has bed frames for them.  She sleeps on the sofa and allows the children to sleep in her bed.  We were asked to consider sending her some money so that she could buy some mattresses and bedding for each of the beds so that they can all have a decent nights sleep.  We agreed to send her £100 to be able to do this.

Tags : Benefits singlemum nobeds nomattresses nobedding abusiverelationships

Grieving man struggling to cope

This case was brought to us because our contacts needed help for a man they are helping, a former alcoholic.  His partner died two weeks ago and he has been struggling to cope with the breavement and also staying on top of his need to drink.  He is supported by an outreach project and is travelling there everyday, taking a day at a time to stay on top of things.  The cost to get there is seriously eating into the money he has available and following the funeral things are seriously going downhill.  He also suffers with depression and anxiety and has applied for PIP (Personal Independence Payments) as he is already in receipt of Employment Support Allowance.  We agreed to send him £150 to keep him going, as the application for PIP will take at least 8 weeks to get sorted, and he is currently paying £17 a week for a bus pass which he is using daily to get to his alcoholism support group.

Tags : Benefits bereavement death alcoholism nomoney travelcosts buspasses outreachsupport

Woman released from short prison sentence

We were asked to help a French lady who has been living and working in the UK for a number of years.  She served a short prison sentence and all her children were subsequently taken into care.  She has been released and was allowed to sign on for Job Seekers for a number of weeks, but this was then stopped, along with her housing benefit because the DWP claimed she was not a UK national.  Her housing benefit was successfully appealed, and they are now working to get the decision regarding her Job Seekers claim reversed.  She has exhausted all the provison in her local area, so we agreed to send her £100 so that she has money to buy food.

Tags : DWP Benefits FrenchNational PrisonSentence Childrentakenintocare JSA HousingBenefit

Benefits mess leaves bed-bound woman without money

It was brought to our attention that a lady who is chronically disabled, bed-bound and totally reliant on carers has had her benefits stopped.  It seems that the system at the DWP defaulted to an old, (over 14 years old) address, which caused a change of circumstances and triggering a new claim.  This means her Disability Living Allowance which was in payment has been stopped and she now has to apply for Personal Independence Payment instead.  It is going to take some time to get this mess sorted out, but in the meantime we were asked if we could help her with some money so that she can hopefully cope until then.  We agreed to send her £100.

Tags : DWP DLA PIP Benefits Disabled Bed-bound carers nomoney

Homeless man offered accommodation

A housing support officer contacted us about a man she'd been helping off the streets and into accommodation of his own.  She'd successfully applied for a grant for some furniture and white goods, such as an oven and fridge, however he is without a washing machine.  She asked if we could offer a sum of money so that he could put that towards the cost of a second hand machine.  We agreed to send him £80.

Tags : Homelessness permanenthome offthestreets DWP Benefits washingmachine second-hand

Single Mum on extended Jury Service has her benefits suspended

A mum of two small children, one at school, and one not yet of school age as asked to attend Jury Service, which ended up being for 10 weeks in all.  As she didn't have anyone to take care of the youngest child, or pick the oldest one up from school and then take care of them both, she asked her partner, who lives elsewhere to help her out with caring for them both.  Someone took it upon themselves to report her to the DWP for having her partner live with her, presumably because they were seen at the house on a daily basis.  In response to this the DWP suspended her benefits and she is due to attend a fraud interview with the DWP in early July.  Our agents are helping her to put forward a case in argument of what has happened and to prove that her partner does not live with her.  We agreed as this might take some time and there are three of them, to send over £150 to hopefully help keep them afloat until this decision can be overturned.

Tags : ExtendedperiodJuryService Benefits DWP FraudInvestigation Livingtogther notlivingtogether leftwithoutmoney

Toddler burns hand on hotplate

A toddler/young child reached up and touched the hotplate on the cooker while his mums back was turned.  It only took a second, but has left the child with quite serious burns on his hand.  The hotplate was switched off at the time, but had been used and was cooling down.  They took him to their local A&E, however due to his burns the hospital sent them to another hospital for specialist treatment quite some distance from their home.  They are on an extremely limited budget and having to spend money on train fares left them without money for food  (the mother and child live with the child's grandmother).  We have advised the mother that she can claim the travel costs back for the scheduled appointments as she is on the required benefits to do this, however as she'll be doing this retrospectively the money won't be repaid straightaway.  We agreed to send over £40 to keep them going until her next payment arrives.

Tags : Benefits burnthand youngchild hotplateburns benefits hospitalappointments travelcosts

Without electricity or food

We were contacted urgently late in the day on a Friday to help a man who has an 11 year old son.  The father has been helped to successful appeal and overturn a PIP decision, however the wheels at the DWP turn very slowly and he is still waiting for the PIP to be put back into payment.  Being without the money means that he has no electricity as no credit on his meter, nor does he have any food.  Our agents although they could get a food voucher for him, he wouldn't be able to use it until the following Monday, leaving them without all weekend.  We agreed to help him and sent across £50 to tide him over until he could be paid or a food bank voucher got to him.

Tags : PIPappeals nofood noelectricity nomoney DWP Benefits

Homeless man needs everything!

We saw a call out on Social Media for a homeless man that had absolutely hit rock bottom.  An outreach group had been helping him, and sufficient money had been raised to cover the cost of a deposit and the first weeks rent of a bedsit.  However, despite that, he has absolutely nothing to take with him when he moves in, no plates, cups, a kettle, something to cook in, etc, etc.  We discussed this between us and agreed to send over £85 to the people that were organising this on behalf of the man, as a contribution to be used to get some things together for him.  Hopefully his benefits payments will soon be in place for him.

Tags : homelessness permanenthome offthestreets nomoney nobelongings Benefits

Single man under threat of eviction

Our contact asked us to help a single man that they housed last year.  As part of his arangement he was to pay towards the £500 deposit each week, meaning he didn't have to find it all at once.  He has suffered a family breavement, a relationship breakup, as well as losing his job in December, so has been struggling as his mental health has been poor.  Due to a shortfall in his housing benefit he has fallen into arrears with his rent.  Our contact has applied for a Discretionary Housing Payment from his local council, which has been awarded for a short while, this will cover the housing benefit shortfall.  He has been served with a Section 21 notice regarding his home situation, but that notice has now expired.  He needs to find the money to cover the rest of the deposit in order to remain in his property.  His landlord has been supportive now that our contact is on board and trying to help him resolve the situation.  We agreed we would send over £150 to go towards the deposit, which we are told will help appease the landlord, and keep the threat of eviction at bay.

Tags : Benefits housingproblems housingbenefit DHP rentalarrears rentaldeposits

Diabetic man with no food or hot water

Our case today was for a man, sadly now widowed and lives alone.  He has severe diabeties which has affected his eyesight causing cataracts to form in both eyes, and he has issues with his mobility.  He is currently in receipt of Universal Credit and has been advised to apply for Personal Independence Payments, which they have done, but it will take several weeks before he is even assessed as suitable to claim.  In the meantime he does not have any food, not does he have any spare money to put on to the meters so that he might have access to hot water.  Our contact would normally offer him a food voucher to take to a food bank, but many of the tinned foods that he would be provided with would not be suitable for him to eat.  We agreed to send him £80 so that he could resolve both these issues.

Tags : Mobility Diabetes Widowed NoFood NoHotWater UniversalCredit PersonalIndependencePayments UC PIP DWP Benefits

Mother of 3 needs help

Our agents contacted us about a single mother of three children.  Her oldest child has behavioural issues and is consequently tutored at home, as mainstream school cannot manage his behaviour.  Her middle child has a health issue, and the youngest is only 3 years old.  The middle child is 11 years old and has a heart problem, which means he needs surgeries to correct this, has to take medication to keep his blood thin, and has oxygen problems.  She has applied for Disability Living Allowance, but has failed to achieve this.  We guided her to some agencies that can help her apply for this, and support her through the process and sent over £80 to help her with the extra heating and transport costs.   

Tags : Benefits disabilitylivingallowance heatingcosts transportcosts

Man left without food

We were contacted urgently about a man our agents have recently been helping.  He suffers with very severe PTSD and has failed an ESA assessment.  He's been existing on his PIP payment only each week, £55, to cover everything, but of course this is not going very far.  He lives in sheltered accommodation, and is in dire straits so close to Christmas when the agencies close down.  They are trying to get his ESA appealed, but know that it is going to take a long time.  In the meantime they wanted some short term help as he has exhausted the support from his local area, and is too stressed to be able to claim JSA while he waits.  We agreed to send across £100 to tide him over, and hopefully our agents will be successful in getting his ESA decision overturned.

Tags : Benefits ESA JSA nofood nomoney DWP

Man needs to move nearer to family

Our agents asked us about helping a man who wants to move nearer to his sister, following the death of their father.  The move would be of great benefit to him, and he has been offered a place near to her, but in order to accept he has to pay the first weeks rent in advance.  The trouble with this is that he is in receipt of Universal Credit, but due to DWP deductions he loses 40% of his benefits because this is clawed back, leaving him with barely enough to live on, let alone pay for a change of accommodation up front.  Our agents asked us to consider making that first weeks rental payment for him of £87 which we agreed to do.

Tags : Benefits UniversalCredit deductions accommodation DWP

Ever increasing need for help

We received two cases in one day from the same agents.  The first case was a young mum with a one year old daughter.  She has fled a domestic violence situation with her daughter and ended up in a completely different area with very little in the way of personal belongings.  The only way of cooking she has is to warm up ready meals in a microwave, which is not good for her or her daughter.  She is currently at college, training for a career so that she can provide for her and her daughter in the future.  We agreed to send to her £70 so that she could use that money to source a second-hand or reconditioned cooker in the area where she lives.

The second case was again a young mum, who had fled her previous tenancy with a newborn and ended up homeless.  She has been sofa surfing with her young baby with various relatives and has finally, after a lot of hard work, been able to secure a flat for her and her daughter.  She has very little in the way of belonging and has been living out of a suitcase.  She needs a cooker and a washing machine, and the places our agents usually try for grants are not available at the moment, due to lack of funding.  We agreed to treat this case the same and offer £70, and then she could choose which to buy, the reconditioned cooker or washing machine.

Tags : Benefits SingleParent DWP DomesticViolence College

Mum fleeing domestic abuse needs help

We were contacted this morning about a single mum who fled a domestic abuse situation.  She and her son have been living in a refuge while they waited to be housed.  When they finally were housed, her home needed some work doing on it, which has taken up almost all of her money and left her without any funds to pay for gas and electricity.  We agreed we would send across £50 to keep her utilities topped up and to buy some food until she received her usual payment next week.  Going forward our agents have offered to help her sort out the best energy option and how to improve the energy efficiency of her home.

Tags : DWP Benefits EnergySuppliers DomesticAbuse Refuge

Universal Credit Dilemma

Our agents contacted us about a lady who had been reassessed for PIP and had failed the assessment.  An award of PIP protects a person from the benefit cap, so the loss of her PIP award means that she now has to suddenly find an extra £120 per month for her rent and council tax.  Both her adult sons live at home with her, so non-dependent deductions are made, hence the need to pay the £120 per month.  Both sons were at college, so had some income from student loans, but this has now stopped, so the eldest son has been forced to sign on for Universal Credit, but the younger son did not want to because the stigma associated with signing on.  We agreed we would offer some help but we wanted the mum to encourage the younger son to put his concerns to one side and apply for Universal Credit himself, this will at least give him some income to help the family out.  We agreed to send across £150 to help them out until their payments come through.

Tags : Benefits PIP UniversalCredit FamilieswithoutIncome

Debt Relief Help Required

This time we were asked about a woman, who suffers with depression and anxiety.  This has meant that dealing with her mail was proving to be very difficult, to the point where in the hopes it would all go away, she tried to ignore it.  Unfortunately that decision has now caught up with her and she is faced with being chased for repayment.  Previous to March this year she was working and struggling to keep her head above water financially, but now she has been signed off work and is on Sickness Payments, her income has dropped substantially.  She and her disabled daughter are struggling now to even buy food.  Our agents are going to help her apply for a debt relief order, but they needed our help to fund the £90 necessarily to allow her to do this.

Tags : Benefits DWP Debt DebtReliefOrder Depression Anxiety

Debt Relief Order Needed

Our help was needed this time for a  of single parent two teenaged children. He was left on his own with their young children when his wife was diagnosed and died of cancer.  They ran into a considerable amount of debt during that time, amounting to almost £50,000.  They ended up having to sell their home to repay the outstanding mortgage and some of the debts.  He is now in receipt of Universal Credit, as he has been pensioned off due to ill health, and unable to work, due to periods of PTSD.  He still has £16,000 of debt which he is struggling to repay, so our help was sought to help him fund the £90 needed to apply for a debt relief order, which he qualifies for.  His home will not be affected as a result of him applying for this, so we were happy to help him.

Tags : UniversalCredit Benefits Debts Cancer DebtReliefOrder

Woman needs washing machine

Our clients contacted us about a client they had recently been put in contact with.  She has been offered her first tenancy after having lived in hostels for the past two years.  She has no white goods, nor furniture, only what she could carry.  Our agents have helped her source a bed and some furniture, funding has been sought for kitchen appliances, but she still needed a washing machine.  As she had been quite fortunate in what had already been supplied towards her, we agreed to send across £50 so that she could use that to find a second hand or reconditioned one on one of her local selling sites.

Tags : Benefits homelessness washingmachine

Single Mum to be, sleeping on a relative's floor

We had lots of requests for help yesterday, and this case was one of those.  She is a young mum to be, 36 weeks pregnant and is technically homeless.  She is currently staying with a relative, but having to sleep on the floor as she has nowhere else to go while she finds suitable accommodation.  She has had to give up work because she became too heavily pregnant to work safely, but hadn't been employed there long enough to be entitled to maternity benefits.  Our agents are helping her sort out her benefits claim and will support her in finding accommodation.  In the meantime, we sent across £100 to tide her over until her benefits claim is looked again in October.

Tags : Benefits pregnantmumtobe homelesspregnantmother

When bed bugs bite!

Our case this time is a single mum with three young children, the youngest being just two years old.  Unfortunately their flat has become infested with bed bugs.  She is in social housing and contacted her council to aler them to this, but they have told her she needs to pay £275 to have this inspected and then treated.  This does cover several visits to ensure all of the bed bugs have been got rid of, but she does not have the money to pay for this, or any of it in fact.  The young woman is in debt, so we arranged for half the money £140 to be paid to a family member on her behalf, and her family are hoping to help her with the rest of the money she needs.

Tags : Benefits JSA ChildTaxCredit BedBugs Fumigation SingleParent Children

Single mum with two children and 27p on her energy meters

Details of our client today came to us via our agents who told us about this single mum with two children, her youngest, 10 years old is autistic and she was in receipt of DLA for him, plus carers allowance and income support.  Her son's DLA came up for renew and the DWP decided that DLA payments were no longer necessary, so she lost that, the income support and the carers allowance, as well as the disabled child top up on child tax credits.  This failure of the DLA impacts so many other payments and they have been without any benefits payments apart from basic child tax credit and child benefit since early August.  She has had two welfare payments already from her local authority, and even though she has only 27p on her energy meters, her energy company is refusing to help her.  Having exhausted all help in her local area, our agents turned to us for help.  We agreed, as it was an urgent case, not coming to us until late on Friday, that we should send across £150 so she can top up her meters and get some much needed food into the house for the three of them.

Tags : Benefits DLA CarersAllowance IncomeSupport DisabledChildElementofTaxCredits DWP Benefits EnergyCompanies

Medical information needed for tribunal

We had a rather odd request.  Our agent asked us if we could assist a man they are helping with £50 to pay for a letter from his doctor, stating his medical conditions and how they affect him so that the letter could be sent to the courts for his forthcoming tribunal hearing.  Normally at a disability hearing a doctor has to be present, but this is not an ordinary tribunal, and one that a doctor is not routinely there because they don't normally consider medical needs at this type of tribunal.  The young man, 26 years old has been diagnosed with MS, along with a whole host of other conditions.  He had to be sent a good distance from his home for treatment, which he did, but he didn't react too well so was unable to travel home, let alone the further 15 miles from where he normally lives to attend the meeting.  As he failed to show, they suspended/sanctioned his benefits, ignoring his medical situation completely that rendered him unable to be present.  Our agents are very confident that this letter will allow the tribunal to understand completely his failure to attend, and will reinstate his benefits payments.

Tags : Benefits DWP Sanctions NoMoney DoctorsLetters Tribunals

Debt relief help needed

We were approached by our agents who are working with a single man who is temporarily staying in a homeless shelter and has a lot of debt which is steadily rising.  He is on Employment Support Allowance and unable to raise the £90 fee so that he may apply for a debt relief order.  We agreed to pay this on behalf of their client so that they can help him move forward and get his life back under some sort of control.

Tags : ESA Benefits Debts DebtReliefOrder

Woman estranged from her family needs help

We were approached by a new referer about a 24 year old woman who has epilepsy, depression and anxiety issues.  She is currently receiving £73.10 per week Employment Support Allowance and is unable to afford anything to put into the new accommodation she has been provided with.  Our agents have sourced her a furniture package locally, and have a charity they can approach for funding for an oven, but she needed a fridge freezer.  We agreed that we would send across £60 so that she could use that to pay for a second hand one from her local selling sites, or somewhere like Gumtree for instance.

Tags : ESA Benefits NoMoney NewFlat NoFurniture NoWhiteGoods FridgeFreezer Secondhand

A prisoner in his own home!

Our agents told us about the plight of a man they are working with.  He was attacked so severely two years ago, that it left him needing a full facial reconstruction.  He suffers PTSD as a result and is afraid to go outside and leave his home.  He recently had his benefits stopped, leaving him without any income whatsoever.  This is where our agents come in as they are helping him to appeal this decision.  On their visit they noticed he had covered all the windows up with newspaper.  He told them that he cannot afford any curtains, nor has any poles to hang them from.  The newspaper gives him some privacy.  He does though as a result, spend all his time in the dark.  We were asked if we could provide him with some funds to purchase some basic curtains and curtain poles, as well as some net curtains. This will mean he could at least draw the main curtains during the day,but still have the net curtains to maintain his privacy, but have some light coming in.  We agreed we would be happy to help with this request, and with the nights getting cooler, some curtains will be essential to stop heat loss.

Tags : Benefits PTSD FacialReconstruction NoCurtains NoMoney BenefitsStopped DWP

Winter is coming!

We helped someone earlier this year, who was in a desperate situation, she was in debt and being hounded by debt companies and bailiffs.  She was being supported by a woman's shelter, who reported that she was cold from not having a winter coat.  We offered at the time that if needed we would transfer over some money so that she could purchase one.  They approached us again this week and we agreed to send her £35 so that she could have a look round her local area for something suitable.

Tags : NoMoney Benefits Debts NoWinterCoat

Man loses his benefits payments on switch to PIP

We are unfortunately seeing a lot of these lately.  The gentleman in question has severe mental health problems, and is currently in receipt of ESA, and was also being paid DLA, with a disability premium on top of that.  However he was invited to switch over to PIP from DLA (claimants don't have any choice in the matter, if you don't accept the 'invitation' to switch, your DLA payments simply stop).  This is what happened to this man, as he'd been given an appointment at a centre which was too far away for him to get to, so he requested a more suitable appointment at a closer location.  Unfortunately he was simply registered as a 'no show' and so his payments stopped, the knock on of this happening is that his disability premium also stopped being paid, leaving him with just his ESA.  He has fallen into debt and has been referred to our agent's debt counselling team.  He currently has no gas, or electricity, no food and his son goes back to school on Monday, and currently does not have any uniform that fits him.  We agreed to send £100 to help him out until his next payment is due.  Our agents are supporting him to get his appeal in for his PIP application.

Tags : DLAtoPIP Benefits NoMoney NoFood NoGas NoElectric NoUniform

Lady loses money on switch from DLA to PIP

We were contacted regarding a lady who has recently been invited to apply for PIP in the switch from DLA.  Sadly she failed and has to appeal this decision, but is struggling as the only money she has coming in is her ESA payments.  From next week it is likely she would have not had any gas or electricity.  She has a liquid protein meal, so foodbanks are out of the question for her.  We agreed to send over £100 so that she is able to top up her meters and buy the food she desperately needs.

Tags : DLA PIP DLAtoPIP Benefits NoMoney NoFood

A sad case needing our help

We were approached for help for a young man, 22 years old, who has recently taken over the tenancy of his Mum's house, following her death earlier this year.  This young man has been given a catalogue of incorrect advice, and by places that should know better, which has resulted in him not having the financial support he should have been receiving.  He has ended up in terrible debt, which is awful for someone so young.  He is also a single parent, having been granted custody by the courts of his young 2 year old son, with the mother not being allowed access at all to the child.  He has been receiving no financial assistance regarding his son, as he'd been advised to stop his income support claim and claim universal credit instead, which triggered a stop in his child tax credits payments.  They are trying to exist on £53 per week.  Our agents are helping him get all the correct benefits back in place, and they are assisting him too with the council as he's fallen behind with his bedroom tax payments, but in fact he should have been given 12 months grace following the death of his mother.  He has had an awful lot to deal with in the past 10 months.

We agreed to send across to him £150 for him and his son, so they are able to buy some food and essential items.  He'd had to borrow the money to buy a postage stamp so he could send off some evidence to the DWP for his universal credit claim.

Tags : SingleDad Benefits NoMoneyforFood UniversalCredit ChildTaxCredits Custodyofchild

Man with spinal issues needs access to washer

Our client, a man in his middle 50s, has recently been housed into his own accommodation, but it is completely unfurnished.  His agents applied to his local council for a home needs award, and they do help to a degree, but there is a limit of course.  A mattress was found for him via his local Freecycle, but he needed a washer and some bedding, as having spinal issues means that he is incontinent and needs to wash his bedding regularly.  We agreed to send over £200 to put towards a washing machine and some bedding.

Tags : Benefits homelessness washingmachine bedding incontinence spinalinjuries

More Sanctions

We have been contacted in this past week by organisations that are working with individuals to resolve their issues, as in each case they have been sanctioned for failing to attend a meeting.  This is an awful outcome as simply missing an appointment, such as a bus being late, a date being forgotten (also don't forget, if you have mental health issues, then getting yourself up out of bed is like fighting a daily battle, let alone remembering an appointment), or even worse the claimant not being notified of the appointment to even be able to attend it.  The knock on from a benefit sanction is usually the housing benefit and council tax relief payments also being stopped, it just goes on and on leading eventually to the threat of eviction.  People who are struggling to keep body and soul together then have to 1) become aware of the situation, and 2) find help.  This is a further hurdle for many that struggle with social interaction, agoraphobia, or more.  Our agents are now faced with trying to get these individuals benefits restored, as well as their housing benefit and council tax relief.  In each case we sent £100 to help them out, to have money for food, and in one case some essential clothes, until their benefits are restored. 

Tags : DWP Benefits Sanctions ESA JSA NoMoney NoFood HousingBenefitStopped CouncilTaxReliefStopped

It's sometimes the little things!

We were contacted about a man who following a fall from a roof had been left unable to work.  He is desperately in need of a vacuum cleaner and not having one is beginning to really get to him.  He told our agents he was going to go without food so he might be able to stretch his benefits to be able to get a cheap one.  They asked if we could help out, so we sent over £50 so he could be able to get a vacuum cleaner and still have money for food.  Hopefully being able to keep where he lives clean and tidy will help to improve his self respect and mental health.

Tags : Benefits nomoney nofood

Man on a fresh start needs help

We were contacted by a group that supports people, giving them the opportunity to a fresh start in life.  This man was facing life on his own, following a brief spell in custody as he was no longer living with his wife on his release.  All he had was a place to live, a bed and a kettle and was existing on sandwiches and junk food, the cost of which was prohibiting him from being able to save any money in order to purchase an oven.  He can't access food banks as mostly the food they have available requires cooking.  We agreed to send across enough money to supply an oven, and our agents said that they could from this sum get someone qualfied to install it for him.

Tags : Benefits prison releasedfromprison nowhitegoods oven foodbanks junkfood

Woman battling alcohol issues faces eviction

Our agent contacted us about a woman who frustrated with the lack of support in her area took it upon herself to fight her alcohol addiction.  Doing this on her own meant that she missed an appointment with the Job Centre so they sanctioned her.  This meant that her rent and council tax support also stopped being paid, the result of which is that she now faces eviction due to arrears of £320.  As she was so ill due to the alcohol detoxing she was unable to seek support until now.  Our agent has intervened on her behalf and sought assurance that if £200 could be raised would she be certain of being able to remain in her home.  They will try to get some help with the rest from the council as it should have been possible for her to submit a nil income form to the council and have her rent and council tax covered, which would have prevented the arrears.  We agreed to send over the money needed to allow her to keep her home.  We didn't want to have her back out on the streets again, where it would be highly likely she'd be tempted by alcohol again, given how hard she has worked so far to get herself off it.

Tags : Alcoholaddition eviction homelessness homelessfemale rentarrears rentandcounciltax nilincomeforms JSA Benefits DWP

Job Seeker released from hospital is sanctioned

We were contacted about a young man that had been sanctioned on his Job Seekers payments because he failed to attend a Job Centre Interview, the reason he missed it was because he was in hospital.  This meant his only source of income stopped so he was without money for food, gas or electric.  We were asked for £60 to keep him going until his sanction could be reversed, and he can be transferred onto Employment Support Allowance, rather that Job Seekers.

Tags : JSA ESA Sanctions hospital Benefits DWP NoMoney NoFood NoGas NoElectric

Teacher in need of our help

Our agents contacted us about a qualified teacher who has been battling depression for the past 15 years.  He has been doing some supply teaching but it is only a day here and there.  He is currently claiming Universal Credit for a single person, yet has shared responsibility for his 11 year old son.  Consequently he is trying to feed two people on £73.10 per week and cover his bills out of that as well.  Our agents have been supporting him and realised that he does not have a lot of furniture.  They have managed to get a bed for his son, and also a gas cooker, but the cooker needs to be properly installed, and needed help to pay for this as it is beyond their client to be able to pay for it and they had investigated all the grant funding they were aware of, but the process was going to take far too long.  They knew we could act quickly if we were in agreement, which we were happy to do.  This means that he will finally have a functioning cooker for when his son comes to stay in the summer holidays.

Tags : Teacher Benefits teachersonbenefits Nomoney GasCooker safeinstallationGasSafe

Panic move for family

We were contacted a few hours ago about a family that were evicted from their home yesterday, who have been offered a new place to live, but they need to move today.  Our agent managed to convince the landlord to allow them to stay last night so at least they weren't out on the streets.  She found a 3.5 tonne Luton Van with a driver to shift the furniture and belongings and rounded up some volunteers to help them pack up and shift everything at the other end.  The trouble she had though was that the family, which includes 4 children, are in receipt of Universal Credit and do not have the money to be able to pay for the move.  This is where we came in and we paid the removal costs of just under £100, which included insurance as well.  We were able to respond to and have this situation resolved from start to finish in under 3 hours, we would have been faster but our agent had to be present at a PIP assessment with someone else she was helping.

Tags : Benefits Eviction FamilyEvicted RemovalCosts NoMoney UniversalCredit

Ex Soldier refused help with housing and other benefits and made homeless

Our agent is helping a family of five, the father an ex soldier with the British Army.  He served for 14 years and was medically discharged last year due to an injury.  His local council have evicted them over arrears and are now stating that they do not believe he is eligible for housing and other benefits and have currently suspended his application for assistance.  The family are being temporarily housed in a local B&B, on a bed and breakfast only basis which is being paid for by another organisation supporting the family.  We were asked to offer the family a grant of £100 to allow them to buy some food other than just the breakfast they currently receive.  Our agent is helping them appeal their current housing situation.

Tags : Benefits NoRightstoClaim ExSoldierEvictedHomelessness FamiliesHomeless

Single Mum in serious amounts of debt following benefit cap

Our agents approached us about a single mum of four dependent children.  They are assisting her to get her benefits sorted out, and unfortunately as a result of the benefit cap the benefits she was receiving have been seriously hit, resulting in her being in quite serious debt.  She is trying to resolve this, but with not enough money to go around she ends up "robbing Peter to pay Paul" to quote a phrase.  To apply for a debt relief order she needs to save £90, but as fast as she tries to something crops up and the money saved is needed for something else.  We agreed to send a cheque for £90 to support her debt relief order application.

Tags : Benefits BenefitCap SingleParentof4 NoMoney Debt DebtReliefOrders

Single parent of three under threat of eviction

Our agents approached us about a single parent of three they are helping.  She is recovering from a domestic violence situation and last year unfortunately was the one that discovered her brother dead.  This has triggered her PTSD and has resulted in her almost giving up and not opening her mail.  This action, or lack of has resulted in her discovering she is now under threat of eviction and she has missed two appointments for Work Capability Assessments for ESA.  She is receiving help and support with this, being forced into claiming JSA while she waits the outcome of her ESA appeal.  Her benefits are already subject to deductions and she is now without any money until the end of the week to buy food to feed her and her three children.  We agreed to send her £50 to tide her over until Friday.

Tags : ESA JSA Appeals WCA Benefits SingleParent PTSD Eviction NoMoney DeathofaSibling DomesticViolence

Lady on benefits without enough money for food

This was a quick one for us to sort out.  A lady who has been on benefits long term has been finding it dificult to have enough money to buy any food so has been going without food at all.  It was agreed to send over £50 to allow her to buy some food which would tide her over for a few weeks.

Tags : Benefits NoFood notenoughmoneytoliveon

Family left in financial trouble when accepting an older child back home!

Some days we can go two or three days, four even and there aren't any cases we are made aware of, then suddenly like buses, we get three in one day.  Technically the case of the single pregnant mother started earlier in the week, but has taken a day or so to get settled.  Our case this time, was brought to us by one of our own biscuits, she had seen this lady posting about her dilemma and how they as a family were struggling to manage.

One of her older children was forced to live back at home, when she suddenly, through no fault of her own, lost her job and also was not given a P45, nor a P60.  Without either of these, she was struggling to prove her entitlement to claim job seekers allowance or any kind of benefits.  Her Mum thinking she should tell her local authority, just in case it impacted negatively on their housing benefit or council tax benefits, suddenly discovered she had to pay far more as the council were insisting her grown up daughter was contributing to the household income so they were making non-dependent deductions from their housing benefit and council tax relief.  They were just about keeping their heads above water, but at the expense of what food they could put on the table.  Although the Mum was being incredibly creative about what meals she could create and feed her family of six, it was beginning to take its toll on her, triggering her PTSD.  We agreed that as they were certain that in a few weeks time things should begin to  regulate for them financially that we would send across £200 to keep them in food for the rest of the month.  
 

Her response to us when we told her of our decision was

"OMG this is going to help so much like you wouldn't believe. I can't say thank you enough xxxxx

Sat with happy tears. I can't put into words what I want to say xxxx"

Tags : Benefits HousingBenefit CouncilTaxRelief NonDependentDeductions NoP60 NoP45 Strugglingtoproverighttoclaimbenefits

Disabled ex-offender attempting to restart his life

We were contacted by a new to us organisation, who had a disabled client they were trying to help.  After careful consideration and checking we then put their case to our members to vote on.  This gentleman had been released from prison into temporary accommodation, where he had been living for some time.  Now finally he had been offered a permanent place of his own, but of course having been in temporary accommodation, he had very few possessions.  The agency were supporting and helping him all they could, but were struggling to find him funding that would also cover the cost of a basic washing machine.  They had identified a basic one online that came to under £150, so it was put to the vote and agreed that the money should sent across straightaway.  The agency were so relieved as they had very little idea of how we operate, and mostly how quickly we can respond if need be.  We don't expect lengthy application forms to be completed, we don't even have a form,, but we do only take referrals via official organisations.  We do on occasions get requests made directly from individuals, but we cannot accept those as we need to protect the fund at all times from being scammed.

Tags : Benefits Disability Prison Rebuildingalifeafterprison washingmachines newaccommodation newstart

Expectant Mother in need of items for impending birth

We were approached about a single young woman who was expecting to deliver her baby daughter in the next couple of weeks.  She is on contributions based Employment Support Allowance which means she is unable to access the maternity grant at the moment to enable her to buy some much needed things for her baby girl.  Initially she was without a pram and a car travel seat, which she has to have to take the baby home from hospital and we were looking at contributing towards those items.  However we were then updated to say that she'd been offered a pram and the loan of a car seat.  She still needed a cot, some bedding and also clothing etc for the baby when she is born, so we agreed between us that we would make an offer of £100 to allow her to purchase those items herself, hopefully a pre-loved cot or Moses basket and the other items.  Once her baby is born then she will be able, once the child is registered, to apply for child benefit and child tax credits, so hopefully her financial circumstances will then begin to improve.

Tags : Pregnancy SingleMother Benefits ESA ContributionsBased NoCot NoClothes NoBedding

Homeless man, finally has a home after 13 years!

Our client is a man who has been living on the streets for the past 13 years.  He has finally been given a place of his own but was short of some things.  There is a place locally that they can use to purchase refurbished items, and he needed a bed, a fridge and curtains for his new home.  We agreed to send £200 so he could be provided with the items that he needs.  Our agent was actually meeting him in person to make sure that all the items were got for him and then arranged collection and delivery.  Hopefully he will now be settled in.

Tags : Benefits ESA Homelessness 13yearsStreetHomeless

Vulnerable woman left in a mess following mix up with courts

We were contacted urgently yesterday about a very vulnerable woman who turned up at courts yesterday morning at 9.30am for a hearing, her paperwork, everything prepared ready for her.  Upon arrival, she found out that there had been a last minute, 4pm the day before, change to a different court and she would be physically (even with a time machine) unable to get there.  Our agents pleaded with the courts for an adjournment which was granted, but for one day only, so the hearing would be today instead.  There had been a mix up with the Barristers representing this lady, as they had telephoned to inform her of the change on an old, no longer functioning mobile number, so she'd never received it.  Our agents, all volunteers and financially strapped for cash asked if it was possible to provide some funds to allow this lady and our agent to travel to the court via train.  We sent across enough money to cover their train fares, plus a bit extra to pay for them to have a sandwich lunch as they would be out most of the day.

Tags : Benefits Courts Adjournments TrainFares NoCash

Full time student and lone parent needs help

We were approached about a young woman, who is a full time Masters Student,studying social work.  She is also a lone parent, who has chosen to become further qualified in order to improve the long term situation for both herself and her daughter.  Her hope is that they then don't have to rely on benefits to survive.  She has been struggling financially and as a result got into a fair amount of debt, due to being employed in low income jobs and finding it difficult to live on that.  She has with the help of the agents applied for a debt relief order which will relieve her of the debt, but does not have the £90 fee to be able to apply for this to be processed.  This is where we come in, we agreed to pay this amount for her, so now hopefully she won't be living constantly in fear of bailiffs calling.

Tags : Benefits Students LoneParenting DebtReliefOrder Bailiffs

Man, living in UK for 15 years, loses identity

We were approached about a man who due to missing paperwork and payment errors, after being resident in the UK has been granted a temporary visa to stay and been told he has no recourse to public funds.  His matter is being supported by our agents and this man's local MP to get this mess resolved, but as he has no access to public funds, he has absolutely no money whatsoever, so any help was going to be of benefit to him.  It would take some time to get all this sorted out so we agreed to send to him £100 to keep him going until then.

Tags : Benefits Visa UKResident NoPermanentRighttoStay Mixups lostpaperwork

Man, sofa surfing is airlifted to hospital following a haemorrhage

We were urgently contacted regarding a man that our agents had been helping with applying for Job Seekers Allowance.  He has been homeless, so relying on being able to sofa surf, and his belongings all fit into a backpack.  He was suddenly taken ill with a haemorrhage and airlifted to hospital.  He has no money, and now no clothes at all, so we were asked if we could provide some funds to allow some underwear to be bought for him for while he is in hospital, some funds to allow his mother, who has no spare money herself to be able to visit him, and also to get some clothing for him for when he finally leaves hospital.  His own clothing will have been destroyed on arrival at hospital.  We agreed to send across £100 to cover all of this, plus to allow him enough money to travel home after release from hospital and buy some food for himself.

Tags : JSA Benefits Hospital NoClothes NoMoney NoFood

Young woman, a prisoner in her own home

Our agents approached us about a young woman, just 20 years old, who has severe mental health problems which prevent her from leaving her home.  Due to this, she failed to attend a work capability assessment and subsequently her Employment Support Allowance has now stopped being paid.  The knock on from this is that then her housing benefit and council tax relief was also stopped, resulting in her falling into quite serious debt.  The agents are helping her with getting her benefits payments reinstated, and hopefully will be able to get the arrears on the housing benefit and council tax resolved.  We agreed to send across £100 so that food could be bought for herr as she is currently without any food at all.

Tags : Benefits WCA ESA NoMoney NoFood Rentarrears housingbenefit counciltaxrelief

Man refused ESA needs help

A man in his 50's who has been living in a hostel was finally offered his own accommodation.  He has been refused Employment Support Allowance, despite ongoing psychiatric interventions.  He is appealing this decision with support from our agents and only receives £73.10 per week, the pre-assessment rate of ESA.  His local council have been very supportive towards him and have provided a fridge freezer, bed and seating, but he did not have access to a washing machine.  Service washes at laundrettes are very expensive, and were not accessible to him, nor was ready access to his family where he might have been able to get some washing done.  We agreed that we would grant the money to provide a basic one for him.

Tags : ESA Benefits Homelessness Housednowformerlyhomeless washingmachines psychiatrichelp

Homeless MS sufferer had his motorised wheelchair stolen

Our client is a homeless man who is currently staying in very temporary accommodation, and is without his motorised wheelchair that was stolen from him two months ago.  He has been using a borrowed manual chair, but is unable to propell himself around in this and relies heavily on other homeless people to push him around.  Most are okay, but some are not and take advantage of him, by pushing him in his chair to say the cashpoint, but then demanding he gives them a loan from his disability benefit payment, which he feels obliged to give them.  He is also pushed to places, then abandoned when the person pushing him becomes drunk and this is where our agent found him, stranded in his manual chair, baking in this heat.  She got him to safety and approached us for a contribution towards a replacement for him, a motorised scooter with a tracking and security device on it to prevent it being stolen again.  The impact of him losing his chair has been enormous and he has detoriated so much.  We agreed to send across £200 towards this.  Our agent secured a grant from a local organisation, and a new motorised scooter will be purchased for him to give him his independence back.  A secure place has been found for it to be stored when it is not in use or is being charged.

Tags : Benefits ESA MS Homelessness StolenMotorisedWheelchair

A fresh start

Our agents contacted us today about a man in his forties they've been helping who has recently been released from prison.  He wants to avoid getting into trouble again and going back to jail so he has been doing all he can to engage with the service our agents are providing, as well as the Job Centre.  He has been offered permanent accommodation but needed to find £100 to cover a necessary fee to be able to do this.  We agreed that we would send across £150 to allow him some money to buy some essentials that he'll need when moving into a new place.

Tags : Benefits Prison ReleasedfromPrison Tenancy Rent

Man with chronic anxiety being constantly sanctioned

We were contacted about a man who suffers with chronic anxiety who has been kicked off Employment Support Allowance, forced into applying for Job Seekers instead, and is now moved again, this time on to Universal Credit.  However he is subject to sanctions by the DWP which can be for reasons as simple as being held up and arriving late to sign on for example.  He is now on his fourth benefit sanction, is desperate for food, but has used up all his entitlement to food bank vouchers.  He also cannot get another welfare emergency payment from his council for another 12 months.  He has another month to run on his latest benefit sanction, so we agreed to send across £100 to tide him over until his benefits can restart again.

Tags : Benefits NoMoney UniversalCredit JobSeekers EmploymentSupportAllowance Sanctions

Disabled man and his wife, reported maliciously to the DWP for the third time!

Our clients today are a couple, he is disabled and requires constant care from his wife, they also have a 6 year old child to consider.  He doesn't leave the house at all as he is bed bound, she only leaves the home when it is essential for her to do so.  They have been maliciously reported to the DWP on two previous occasions, both times having their benefits payments stopped, and each time they faced a battle to get them reinstated.  Now once again, the DWP have stopped their payments, without notice, as the payments failed to arrive in their bank account yesterday as expected.  When the lady made a call to find out what was going on she had to attend her local job centre and sign paperwork confirming that she wasn't working from home.  For the third time they had been maliciously reported, and the DWP wouldn't reinstate their payments until their investigations had been completed.

We instructed the lady to get the support of her MP to get this resolved as quickly as possible.  Knowing this couple had been maliciously reported twice before, we are shocked and astonished that the DWP have accepted a third malicious report, despite the fact that they already know this couple's situation.  We agreed to send across £100, which will hopefully allow them to purchase enough food to keep them going until their payments can be put back into place.

Tags : DWP Benefits MaliciousReporting NoFood NoMoney

Moving man removed from benefits

A gentleman in his 50s who'd worked for many years in the furniture removals business.  He strained himself and was unable to work, but also unable to claim Statutory Sick Pay so put in a claim for income support instead, for which he received £80 a week, of which £13 he paid cover his rent and council tax.  Unfortunately his condition worsened and he ended up in hospital with a punctured lung.  On release from hospital he resigned from his job as he knew he would be unable to continue to work in that environment.  The downside has been that his claim for income support has been now been suspended until he can provide payment slips from his old employer, who is now refusing to supply any of those.  He has an agency helping him now to put in a claim for Employment Support Allowance instead as well as a claim for Personal Independence Payments.  They will also help him get his claim for housing benefit and council tax help sorted out.  He has been without any income since the middle of May, so we agreed to send across £100 to help him manage until his benefits can be reinstated.

Tags : Benefits ESA PIP IncomeSupport NoMoney

Gluten free on a tough budget

Our clients were a young woman and her partner.  She had recently been released from the mental health section of her local hospital.  They have been having problems with managing on their very tight budget, wouldn't be receiving any further benefits payments for several days and have hardly any food in the house.  The woman is gluten intolerant and needs to eat food that is suitable for her to consume.  Her partner suffers with severe depression and doesn't always consider her needs when he fixes himself something to eat and will eat the gluten free food that is set aside for her. We agreed to send across £50 to allow a small food shop to tide them over until they get their next benefits payment.

Tags : Benefits nomoney nofood glutenintolerant

Man left without benefits by DWP

A man who'd had some hassle with the DWP, them believing there had been an overpayment on their part of his Employment Support Allowance, stopped all his ESA payments while they investigated.  He was cleared of all the claims and found that an overpayment hadn't been made, yet they have still not put his payments back in place again.  Recently he had to renew his claim for Personal Indpendence Payments and the DWP have made a mess of that, resulting in the only payments he had coming in also being stopped, leaving him with nothing.  We agreed to send across to him £100 so at least he had some money to buy food, gas and electric until he could hopefully get his benefits reinstated.

Tags : ESA PIP Benefits NoMoney NoFood DWP

Benefits Mix up

Today, our person in need was a lady in her early 50s who had been messed around by the DWP, which had resulted in not only her Employment Support Allowance payments being stopped, but also her Personal Independence Payments too.  This had left her with no money for two weeks now, and she was in a position where she literally had no money, nor any food in the house she could muddle by on.  Contact with the DWP had not been helpful at all, with them pushing her from pillar to post.  We found somewhere she could go to for help with getting her benefits reinstated, and also somewhere she could go to for mental health support too.  We agreed to send across £100 as she needed money for her utilities, as well as food, and it could be another two weeks before she begins to receive any kind of payments through from the DWP.  She commented that she'd never voted before, but she definitely will be this Thursday.

Tags : ESA PIP DWP Benefits NoMoney

Universal Credit Headache!

Our client is a single man who has been street homeless for quite some time.  He was living in a tent during the winter, but having developed a chronic cough was ordered to stay with friends temporarily while he recovered.  Once the weather improved he moved back towards "home" and stayed with other friends for a nominal sum of money, but now every penny he had has been used up so he is faced with having to navigate the Universal Credit system which seems to cause more headaches than it offers solutions.  While he waits for his first payment which could be another few weeks we agreed to send across £75 to allow him to top up his meters and buy some food.

Tags : Benefits UniversalCredit Nomoney nogas noelectric nofood

Depressed man, isolated and in need of help

We were contacted about a man who had been struggling after having lost his job.  After becoming seriously depressed, his doctor signed him off work and he reluctantly applied for Employment Support Allowance, which he is being paid at the very basic pre-assessment rate.   He lives in a very remote area without public transport, and is in fact lodging temporarily with friends.  His only means of transport developed a very serious problem way beyond his own skills and needs some work done.  It was concerning that he was already retreating because of the depression, so a decision was made to contribute half of the cost of the repair so that he might hopefully be mobile again soon.

Tags : ESA Benefits NoMoney Depression NoTransport

Help offered to lady with vets bill

A lady in receipt of Employment Support Allowance and Personal Independence Payment has recently been sent home after a full hip replacement, without any help and support, so a former neighbour of hers has been making the journey each day to make sure she is okay and helping her out.  It was noticed that her cat was unable to bear weight on one of its legs, so it was taken to the vets for treatment, where following an xray it was discovered that the cat, like its owner has chronic osteoarthitis, which will be managed with pain relief. The lady still has to have another full hip replacement, as well as both knees replaced, and the vets bill was weighing heavily on her mind.  An application was made to the PDSA who made a significant contribution, and we agreed we would settle the balance, to allow this lady to be relieved of the debt and able to focus on getting well enough for the next stage in her medical treatment.

Tags : ESA PIP Benefits NoSpareCash VetsBills CatasCompanion

Man with extreme facial injuries and mental health difficulties is found fit for work

The man in question, sustained a serious injury to his face some years ago which had left him with difficulties in trying to speak, and because of the trauma of how it happened, it has left him with severe mental health issues.  He was recently reassessed for Employment Support Allowance and was found by the assessor fit for work.  He approached the agency that came to us for help on his behalf and they are trying to support him in making a claim for Job Seekers Allowance.  The agency have applied for a mandatory reconsideration on his behalf, but that has been returned by the DWP as a negative, so now he is faced to take the matter to a tribunal to try to get the decision overturned that way.  He has a wife and two children, and although he has made the appointment to sign on for Job Seekers but it will be at least 10 days before any money is received, so we agreed to send across the sum of £150 to help them out until their benefits can be paid.

Tags : ESA Benefits Nofood Nomoney FitforWork WCAfailure

Ex-nurse hit by benefits failure

We were contacted rather urgently about a 63 year old lady, who having worked hard all her life as a nurse, was now needing both her knees replaced, unable to work, and had totally been let down by the benefits system.  The same system that is supposed to be there as a safety net to catch people as they fall.  She has not been paid any benefits since December 2016 after failing her ESA, and has been relying on help from her young pregnant daughter.  This lady is in arrears with her rent, facing court action over her home,  not knowing she could have gone to the council and requested a nil income form to make sure her rent and council tax would be covered.  A complaint about how this case has been handled has been lodged with the DWP and the agency that is now helping her, having taken her case at the end of March, is supporting her to submit a fresh claim to DWP for Employment Support Allowance on the grounds of a worsening condition.  The agents confirmed that this lady had done everything they had requested of her to do and were confident with the right support this situation could be pulled around, but for now she was quite literally at breaking point.

We agreed as a group to send across £150 to the lady and a further £50 to her daughter.  We also agreed an extra small amount to be held in abeyance just in case it is needed,  if her ESA takes time to begin payments.  She was extremely grateful for the help.

Tags : ESA Benefits Nofood Nomoney Foodbanks eviction rentarreas DWPfailure

Too unwell to attend food bank

One of our agents spotted a lady asking for advice regarding her ESA claim as she was waiting to hear when it would be processed and she might begin receiving payment.  Her council had given her a voucher for a foodbank, but she was simply too unwell with a chest infection,  to be able to attend the foodbank and collect some much needed food.

After we were certain that she was genuine and was following the correct procedures to best help herself with her ESA claim, we were happy to send across £50 so she could purchase some food and put some money on her gas and electric meters.  She was extremely grateful and incredibly surprised that a group of unknown people had reached out to her and helped, in her hour of need.

Tags : ESA Benefits Nofood Nomoney Foodbanks

Single Mum left in the lurch over Easter

We were made aware of a young Mum with two children, one of whom has been formally diagnosed with autism, but who also has special requirements regarding food.  She'd been prepared for the holiday, but unfortunately a large amount of money left her account to pay a bill, earlier than she had budgeted for.  They'd tried to get the payment stopped but it was too late, it had already left her account.  This left her without money for food for herself and her two children, and the oldest child would be unable to eat the food she could get hold of from the local foodbank.  We agreed to send across £60 to tide her over until her next payment of Employment Support Allowance, reached her bank account.

Tags : ESA Benefits Nofood Nomoney Foodbanks

Saved from Eviction

We were told about a family, who having got into rent arrears were being taken to court for eviction from their home.  The debt had happened because the lady in question, a single mum, had been sanctioned a number of times through no fault of her own.  This sanction meant that her housing benefit and council tax relief had stopped being paid, hence the debt.  A fundraiser was put together by another party and raised over £900 to pay off the arrears, we stepped in and sent over £100.  The total sum raised will be paid to clear the arrears, and it had been agreed if this happened within the time frame, then the eviction notice would not be enforced and they would be allowed to stay.

Tags : Eviction Benefits Sanctions Rentarrears

Mother and son: lost their way!

We were approached about a mother who has been struggling for some time on Job Seekers Allowance, to deal with all her household bills, and each time she falls behind, then fees get added, or a court summons is sought, which just keeps making the financial hole she's found herself in, deeper and deeper, with seemingly no way out. Plus money is then deducted from her JSA, which leaves even less money to live off than she was struggling on before.  So you see it really was a bottomless pit, and she was close to a nervous breakdown.   She has the support of a friend, who is doing what they can, plus the agency that approached us for help.

They requested help with payment to apply for a Debt Relief Order, which we agreed to so that this lady can find her way out of this situation and begin to rebuild a life for her and her son.  We also sent an extra amount so that they could buy some much needed food (they'd been surviving on food from the food banks, as they'd no money left for food),  and a small treat for them both.

Tags : Familieswithoutfood Benefits JSA DRO Debts

Stranded without financial support

We were approached about a man in his 50s, with complex mental health issues.  He lives in a caravan in quite a remote area, not easily able to access public transport.  His van needs gas bottles to provide fuel for the heating and for cooking.  He had no money to pay for this, nor for electricity, food or fuel for his motorbike he uses to get into town.  We agreed to send across £150 to allow him to purchase a bottle of gas (£52), to put some money on to his electricity meter and buy some food.  He is being supported to get his application for Personal Independence Payment put through again, as he lost his award of PIP when he failed the transition from Disability Living Allowance.

Tags : PIP DLA Benefits Livingalone nomoney nofood noheat

Overwhelming debt crisis

We were approached about a lady who had worked for the past 30 years, and had, as we mostly do, come to rely on her usual money coming in each month.  She'd suffered with depression for a while, but it was becoming more and more difficult to ignore and carry on, so she ended up unable to continue with her job.  This left her signing on for Employment Support Allowance, and at the moment she is only on the pre-assessment rate of £73.10 per week.  She and her 18 year old son, currently on a full time course and unable to claim any benefits in his own name are trying to exist on this meagre sum.  

Sadly her debts were building up, and although she was trying to keep everyone happy by paying here and there where she could, it had all become too much.  This is where we stepped in and we have sent across a cheque for £90 to the agency that are supporting her, so that she can apply for a debt relief order, together with £80 directly to them, so that they can have £40 each to go towards food and energy payments.

Tags : EmploymentSupportAllowance Benefits Debts DRO

Single mother needs help

Today we sent across £100 to help a newly single mother, with two children, each of whom have health issues.  The mum does all she can to support and take care of her children, but all her benefits payments she was receiving were in joint names.  Her husband leaving her and the children though means that there have been issues with the payments being made, and has messed up her housing benefit payments too.   She is now receiving support to get her benefits reinstated.  The money we sent will go towards putting some credit on her gas and electric meters and purchase some food for her and the children.  When her husband left, the Police became involved and the Crown Prosecution Service are now looking to take the matter further, so hopefully our help today will remove a little of the stress for her.

Tags : Familieswithoutfood Benefits FamilyBreakdown NoGas NoElectric

Rent arrears leaves woman penniless

Today our agent told us of a lady who has been homeless in the past and has lived in homeless shelters.  She was finally offered a permanent place to live, but in order to be able to move in she had to clear some outstanding arrears.  She did this using her Employment Support Allowance payments, but by doing so this left her without any money for food, cleaning materials, or money to put on her gas and electric meters.  She has Chron's Disease, so has to have a careful diet to stay on top of it.  We agreed to send £100, so that she could put £15 on each of her gas and electric meters, and the remaining £70 to buy food to stock up with, as well as some cleaning materials.

Tags : ESA Benefits Nofood Nomoney RentArrears NoGas NoElectric

ESA payments suspended

We were contacted about a lady who had returned her completed Employment Support Allowance (ESA) forms to the DWP as requested.  She didn't though send them recorded delivery, which she later regretted when the DWP claimed not to have received them.  She discovered this when her ESA payments stopped without warning.  This went on for a while as last month she had to borrow enough money to be able to pay her bills and buy food.  She had sensibly sought a nil income form from her local authority to cover her rent and council tax payments.  Eventually the DWP 'found' the forms and agreed that her payments would be reinstated, however they then cancelled them again just a few days later and she is still in the midst of trying to understand why this has happened or for the DWP to be able to explain why, as they don't appear to know why either.

As she is completely without money and needs to buy food, top up her gas and electric meters and buy some medical items we agreed to send across £100, which will hopefully tide her over until the DWP can reinstate her payments again.

Tags : ESA Benefits Nofood Nomoney

Suspended Tax Credits payments

We were approached regarding a young mum, a single parent, who was struggling with ill health herself and taking care of her two teenaged daughters, both of them suffering with aspergers, behavioural problems and suicide attempts.  Both girls are in receipt of DLA, but one of whom was refused DLA on renewal of the award.  This is currently being appealed.  Losing that DLA award has had a knock on effect on her tax credits payments, with those being stopped and she has not had any money through since last November.  Tax Credits have decided that there has been an overpayment as the Mum was late notifying them of the DLA stopping, so her Tax Credits payments have been halted until April 2017.  We agreed to send across £100 as we found out that her rent and council tax payments were still being covered.  

Tags : TaxCredits FamilieswithoutFood Benefits SingleParents

ESA Rejection

We came across a man with mental and physical health issues.  He'd been refused Employment Support Allowance back in August last year and forced to apply for Job Seekers Allowance.  Unfortunately his mental health had worsened and he'd developed bronchitis which had left him unable to leave his home, and on some days his bed even.  His adviser at his local Job Centre Plus was insisting he attend the job centre every single day which was not possible for him to achieve.  He reapplied for ESA, and was immediately rejected for that, but they also stopped his JSA as well.  Instead of investigating his current claim of ill health, they have used the assessment carried out last year all over again (where they rejected him then) and basically ignored any new information he has submitted.  

We agreed to send him £100 as he had no food, or any credit on his gas or electric meters.  He has sought the help of Citizens Advice to request a Mandatory Reconsideration, to get his ESA reinstated, or for them to at least assess him properly.  He also has a local to him advocacy service that are going to come out to visit him this week to try to help arrange some support with his benefits.

Tags : ESA Benefits MR ESAFailure Famileswithoutfood noheatnofood

Throwing a lifeline

We were approached about a young man, who had previously been street homeless but was now in accommodation, safe and dry.  However, his crippling depression and anxiety moved in with him and things have got on top of him.  His finances had got out of control and after paying his bills, his remaining money was sucked up by his bank overdraft, leaving him and his dog without food, or any money for the gas and electricity meters.  We agreed to send across a sum of £80 to allow him to top up his meters and buy some much needed food.  Also, he was supposed to have been previously supported in terms of financial budgeting, but this will now be taken over by a new agency that will fully support him going forward.

Tags : familieswithoutfood ESA Benefits debt overdrafts

Head in the sand!

We were contacted today by an agency that are working with a man suffering with anxiety and depression.  He had got himself into some quite serious debt and had effectively switched off to it all, shoving his head in the sand.  He hadn't claimed any benefits at all for the past two years, relying instead on family who had been putting him up and feeding him.  These debts have begun to catch up with him and the relentless letters chasing the debts are only serving to increase his anxiety and feed his depression.  The agency are now in the process of helping him to apply for employment support allowance, and seek much needed medical help.  They are also helping him deal with his debts, urging him to apply for a debt relief order, as he has no assets or savings.  Unfortunately, though with no money to his name he is unable to raise the £90 needed to pay for the fees for the order.  We agreed that by sending the money across to cover this, it would allow him to have some relief from stress and begin to rebuild his life again. 

Tags : ESA Benefits Nomoney DebtReliefOrder debts homelessness

Family without food

We became aware of a family, parents and their four children that were being supported by a local to them welfare rights group.  The father had been in receipt of Employment Support Allowance, receiving the basic assessment rate of £73.10 per week.  He had been trying to get his wife added to this claim but they were having issues with her national insurance number, so that had not been possible and in fact this meagre amount had been stopped so they were without any money at all.  They are being supported to get this resolved and to get Child Tax Credits put into place as soon as possible so that they might have enough money to survive on.  We agreed in the interim until the DWP could restart the payments to send across £100 to help them.

Tags : familieswithoutfood ESA Benefits NationalInsurance

60 Year Old Man Refused ESA!

We were contacted about a 60 year old man who had been kicked off Employment Support Allowance (ESA) despite being not well enough to work.  He had with help submitted a request for a Mandatory Reconsideration (where the DWP Decision Makers look at the assessment data again) but that too had been refused.  All his benefits payments had been stopped and could not be reinstated until an appeal has been lodged.  In normal circumstances you would claim Job Seekers allowance while you wait to hear the outcome of the appeal and if it has been accepted to go to tribunal.  We agreed to send across £100 to keep him going until his appeal can be lodged and accepted.

Tags : ESA Benefits WCA ESAFailure Nofood

No money for heating

Our agents told us of a lady, that although she owned her own home and wasn't therefore claiming Housing Benefit (there is a claim for council tax relief though), she was unable to afford to pay for any heating in her home at all.  Her hot water was heated using the gas boiler, so without gas, there was no heat nor hot water for washing even.  The lady is in the process of applying for a Mandatory Reconsideration of her Employment Support Allowance, which she was kicked off after her last assessment and forced to claim Job Seekers Allowance while this is being looked at*.  We agreed to send across £50 to top up her gas and electricity meters so she could at least have some heat again.

*Currently when a person is assessed for Employment Support Allowance (ESA) a large number of people are refused, even if they had been claiming ESA before.  You cannot claim ESA without a fit (sick) note from your doctor, so your own doctor deems you sick/disabled/mentally unwell enough to not be working, yet individuals are still refused ESA.  Their only alternative is to apply for Job Seekers Allowance (JSA), while they apply for a Mandatory Reconsideration (MR) where a Decision Maker at the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) looks at the claim again.  If the first decision is overturned, then the claimant can be put back on to ESA, and any monies due to them is paid, less the amount they have been paid in JSA.  There are currently no guidelines as to how long a MR can take, and it can be weeks.  Many times the case is overturned at the MR stage, if that fails, then the claimant has the right to take the matter to Tribunal, where a great many of the cases are overturned, and the claimaint is then paid what is owed to them, again, minus the amount they've been paid in Job Seekers Allowance.  Many of these claimants would not be safe to be employed in a work situation, for their own sakes and others around them, yet the DWP states they are when they are refused ESA.  

There is a great deal on TV in the UK where those on disability or out of work benefits are demonised.  Yes, you will see individuals that 'milk' the system, but those individuals are few and far between.  Many people stuck at home, looking at four walls on disability benefits would love to be able to go out to work again and miss that work environment.  To have individuals like that on TV though, wouldn't 'up the ratings' for the TV producers, so they go with the sensationalised cases instead, and quite possibly edit the programmes to make things look even worse than they really are.  Many illnesses are invisible, just because a person doesn't look sick, doesn't mean they aren't.  Many people put a brave face on depression, not wanting to drag others down to that pit of despair they find themselves in, because knowing how bad it feels for them, they wouldn't wish that on their worst enemy.  

So please, be kind, you are not walking in that person's shoes and don't necessarily know how they feel.

Tags : ESA Benefits WCA ESAFailure Noheating

Homeless man unable to work

Our agent made us aware of a man, homeless with only the clothes he was stood up in.  He suffers with PTSD, depression and anxiety.  Currently he is able to stay with a friend.  He failed an ESA work capability assessment and while requesting a mandatory reconsideration he attempted to apply for Job Seekers but he was unable to fulfill the job search obligations due to his mental health issues.  He has reapplied for ESA with a new diagnosed condition, but this is failing because he is unable to supply the DWP with a fit (sick) note as his doctor is too far away from where he is currently able to stay.  His anxiety won't allow him to travel via public transport and he does not have the money to be able to afford a taxi to get there.  He had with the help of our agent applied for financial assistance from his local welfare support, but with the Christmas closures it is unlikely it would happen in time and also might not happen anyhow, due to previously being supported this way.  We agreed to send across £100 to allow him to get to his doctors and get the fit note and to have some money to buy some food and clothing.

Tags : ESA Benefits WCA ESAFailure Peoplewithoutfood

Possible illegal eviction

Our agent had been in touch with a lady and her family that had been suddenly evicted from their home because they had complained about the condition of their property.  Absestos had been found in the property and was open to the inside of the property.  They had had a bad time anyhow with their landlord, who had been harrassing them as well.  They used all their benefits money and the small amount of savings they had to move and pay for a replacement cooker.  We agreed to send across £100 to help them get through until their next payment benefit is due.  Our agent also has advised them to seek some advice regarding the eviction as it does sound as if it is an illegal eviction.

Tags : Benefits familieswithoutfood evictions

ESA Complications

Our agent made us aware of a single mum with a teenaged daughter.  This lady has been refused ESA three times, been all the way to tribunal and still been refused.  However whenever she attempts to sign on for Job Seekers she is refused as they say she is too ill to fulfill their obligations.  So caught between a rock and a hard place she only has child benefit and child tax credits for them both to live off, as she has also been refused PIP too.  With little or no money to pay for food, gas or electric, she and her daughter have been living off food vouchers given by a local to them organisation.  We agreed that we should send across £200 to help her out at such a difficult time.  

Tags : ESA Benefits WCA ESAFailure Famileswithoutfood

Fit note goes AWOL

Our agent told of us a man who had sent his Fit Note to the DWP to fulfill his Employment Support Allowance (ESA) obligation, but it was not received.  The first he knew of this was when his payment did not arrive in his bank account as he expected it to.  As they hadn't received the fit note, his ESA payments had stopped leaving him without money for gas, electric or food.  He phoned the DWP who has requested that he sends a replacement fit note, and having done that his payments should begin again next week.  In the meantime we sent across £50 so he could top up his gas and electric meters and buy some food.

Tags : ESA Benefits Familieswithoutfoodorheat

Found fit for work, yet contagious

Our agent told us of a lady who had missed a Work Capability Assessment (WCA) for Employment Support Allowance (ESA) because she was very ill with glandular fever and was hightly contagious, so unable to attend.  The assessor and DWP found her fit for work though, so she was kicked off ESA.  She has a young son, so is in receipt of child tax credits and child benefit, but that is all.  Her council tax and housing benefit was being looked into, to get that reinstated, as the ESA stopping will have informed her local authority, so her housing benefit will have stopped, along with the counci tax relief.  This all happening has caused the lady to have panic attacks as her anxiety levels have been stressed beyond belief.  We agreed we would send across £150 to help her and hopefully ease some of her fears that her son might be taken from her if she is seen as being unable to feed him adequately.

After she had received the money, this was her reply  "I'm lost for words I've gone from suicidal to hopeful in seconds - I can't thank you enough xx  I just can't believe it, please pass on my massive thanks it means more than just the money, I was ready to give up xx"

Tags : ESA Benefits WCA ESAFailure Famileswithoutfood

Sending a little hope

We became aware of a man in his late 50s who had been forced to leave his previous job as a carer as his health was so poor, with a long list of physical ailments.  He applied for ESA but was unsuccessful and forced into claiming Job Seekers instead.  He is keen to try to find some employment as he feels this will help improve his mental health, but trying to get back into employmentt means interviews and suitable clothing.  We made them aware of the flexible fund which is set up for purposes such as this.  As we began to find out more about this man we realised that life had dealt him many unfortunate blows.  It was decided that the fund should send him £50 as an exercise in hope.  When you are struggling so much, just to survive, finding any spare money to even buy a shirt becomes nigh on impossible, so hopefully this will allow him to see that there are people that do care.

Tags : ESA Benefits JSA FlexibleFund nofood

Suicidal and in desperate need of help

Having just got off the phone to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) this woman found out that they had stopped all her Employment Support Allowance payments, stating she had capital in the bank and wasn't seen to be in need.  She tried to explain, this capital, a small inheritance following in the death of her Father was several years ago and none of it was left now, she had nothing in fact.  They wouldn't listen though and her benefits were stopped regardless, meaning she had nothing at all to live off.  This, unsurprisingly had left the poor woman distraught and stating she felt suicidal.  We were assured though that she'd promised she would not act on these feelings.

We agreed, following the news that there was some local support in her area, that we would send £100 to purchase much needed food, with the option of a revist of a further £100 if that was seen to be necessary.

Tags : ESA Benefits WCA ESAFailure Famileswithoutfood

ESA Exasperations

A young mother, married with two children attended her work capability assessment, after losing her full time employment due to her disabilities, no longer being able, in their opinion, to do her job.  So her employer considers her unfit to work, yet the ESA (Employment Support Allowance) assessor felt differently and found her fit for work.  This lady's husband had quit his job in order to care for her and so consequently their tax credits payments had ceased.  The whole family were relying on the pre-assessment rate of ESA and child benefits payments to survive on.  Now they were reduced to the child benefit only.  A nil income form from their Council will help with the rent and council tax (which will have stopped due to the ESA being stopped).  A local support group have stepped in to help guide them through the maze of requesting a Mandatory Reconsideration on this decision.  She put in a request to apply for Job Seekers Allowance and turned up at the due time to sign on, only to be told that her appointment had been missed as it was a different time to that which she was told.

We as a group decided that something needed to happen and quickly, so we agreed to send them £150 to purchase food for the family. 

Tags : ESA Benefits WCA ESAFailure Famileswithoutfood

The kindness of friends and strangers

When a claimant fails to be awarded PIP, you'd think that might be a straightforward thing to happen, but not at all.  You see an award of PIP entitles and leads the way to other benefits help, which when PIP is not awarded, they simply fall away.  The lady in question, a double amputee, with a serious illness on top of that, had applied to transition from DLA, Disability Living Allowance, which she had been in receipt of for some years, to PIP, Personal Independence Payment, which the Government brought in to replace DLA.  (There is no choice in the matter, once you are 'invited' to apply for PIP, you cannot choose not to do that and remain in receipt of DLA.  Once your invitation date has passed, your DLA payments stop).  Increasingly we are seeing more and more seriously ill and disabled people, dependent on specially adapted vehicles, as was the case with this lady, having their cars taken away from them.  This for her means that as well as the money she'd come to rely on to survive, her means of getting out of the house will be gone, so she will become housebound.  She is appealing that decision thankfully, but as it takes so long to be resolved, it is highly likely that her specially adapted car will have to go back before she can get this resolved.  This week she and her family are being fed by her friends that have stepped up to help her, and next week it would be the foodbanks for help.  We agreed to send her £100 so she could buy some much needed food and other items, for which she was extremly grateful.

Tags : PIP DLA MobilityVehicles DWP Benefits

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