Jul 24, 2017
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.
Jul 19, 2017
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.
Jul 12, 2017
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.
Jul 11, 2017
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.
Jul 11, 2017
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.
Jul 11, 2017
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.
Jul 8, 2017
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.
Jul 6, 2017
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"
Jul 6, 2017
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.
Jul 6, 2017
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.
Jun 30, 2017
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.
Jun 29, 2017
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.
Jun 28, 2017
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.
Jun 27, 2017
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.
Jun 26, 2017
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.
Jun 24, 2017
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.
Jun 22, 2017
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.
Jun 21, 2017
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.
Jun 19, 2017
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.
Jun 16, 2017
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.
Jun 15, 2017
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.
Jun 12, 2017
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.
Jun 10, 2017
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.
Jun 8, 2017
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.
Jun 6, 2017
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.
May 26, 2017
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.
May 25, 2017
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.
May 24, 2017
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.
May 22, 2017
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.
May 10, 2017
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.
May 2, 2017
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.
Apr 20, 2017
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.
Apr 4, 2017
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.
Apr 3, 2017
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.
Mar 16, 2017
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.
Mar 7, 2017
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.
Feb 23, 2017
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.
Feb 23, 2017
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.
Feb 23, 2017
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.
Feb 21, 2017
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.
Feb 17, 2017
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.
Feb 9, 2017
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.
Feb 8, 2017
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.
Jan 25, 2017
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.
Jan 10, 2017
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.
Jan 9, 2017
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.
Dec 22, 2016
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.
Dec 22, 2016
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.
Dec 20, 2016
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.
Dec 16, 2016
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.
Dec 12, 2016
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"
Nov 29, 2016
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.
Nov 1, 2016
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.
Oct 30, 2016
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.
Oct 24, 2016
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.