Nov 13, 2017
We have worked with these agents before, and this time they brought to us a case where a young woman, 18 years old, who has just left the care system, has found herself without any money to survive on at all, not for food, anything. She put in an application for Employment Support Allowance and Personal Independence Payment, but has been told that the Department for Work and Pensions have lost her forms, and therefore she has to wait until they can be found and dealt with. She is a vulnerable person who has been left in a dreadful mess through no fault of her own. We agreed that we could send across £100, and our agents will help her manage the money, so she has enough to last her. We also advised our agents to apply to her local council for a welfare payment, which they are going to do. Unfortunately though, applications like these take a long time to be processed, the money agreed to, and released. This was an emergency situation and she needed help there and then, she could not wait. We were glad to be able to help her out.
Nov 1, 2017
We were asked to help a man that our agents had been told about by a service that operates out of the same centre as them. This gentleman has serious mental health issues, his benefit has stopped being paid and he is completely without food or any way of heating where he lives. This also means no hot water, and no way of cooking any food should he be given any from a food bank. It transpires that the DWP state they sent him a letter inviting him to attend an assessment, however as frequently seems to be happening, lots of people aren't receiving these letters. This man needs help to contact the DWP and get his payments reinstated, as he is unable to do this himself. We agreed to send him £70 to allow him to top up his energy meters and buy some food.
Oct 25, 2017
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.
Oct 11, 2017
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.
Oct 6, 2017
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.
Oct 3, 2017
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.
Oct 2, 2017
We were approached about a man in his early 30s who is desperately struggling to keep his head above water financially. He is in receipt of Universal Credit but has been sanctioned because he missed some appointments. He has severe mental health problems, which get in the way of him keeping his appointments. The property he is in is his first property in his own name, as he grew up in the care system, then was in supported housing of one kind or another. In his property he nly has a table and a sofa to his name. He lives alone, has no family to support him and was recently attacked by a gang which has only heightened his anxieties. He has rent arrears, debts and utiliity arrears too which our agents are going to help him try to get sorted out. They discovered he has had no money for two weeks, so has been unable to purchase any food, so all he has been living on is a box of Weetos per week, allowing himself two handfulls a day. Our agents sorted him out a food voucher, but asked for some money from us to help him. His bank account was £38 overdrawn, so we sent across £100 to cover his overdraft and allow him enough money to buy some food which will hopefully last him until they can appeal his sanction and sort his benefits payments out.
Sep 23, 2017
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.
Sep 20, 2017
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.
Sep 6, 2017
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.
Aug 18, 2017
This is the hardest group for agencies to source funding for, they are so far down the chain of needing help, with almost everyone coming before them. He had recently been housed, after a long time waiting, and temporaily houses in a hostel. We were asked to help them with purchasing some white goods, and they had a list of things they needed, as where he'd been moved to there was nothing there at all. We all agreed that we would send across £100 so that this young man with the help of his support worker, could try to source second hand items in the area that he lives so that he could get more for his money, plus it keeps things that are already in circulation out of landfill, so everyone wins.
Aug 10, 2017
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.
Jul 28, 2017
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Aug 12, 2016
An urgent case came to our attention. A man who, for half of his life had been a below the knee amputee, with heath complications connected to this. Despite letting the DWP know he wouldn't be able to attend a work capability assessment, they stopped his Employment Support Allowance claim, which left him with no money, and the knock on of this was his housing benefit and council tax relief claims also stopped.
With two children under 10 to feed and no money, he was trying to see if he could return his motability vehicle so he could have at least the money that went to pay that, for food instead. Doing this though would mean he couldn't get around so well, and would struggle to get the children to school.
His gas and electric were on prepayment meters, so there were no debts associated with them, however there was nothing on the gas card, so they were without hot water. As all this had happened with such short notice he was unable to prepare for it financially, so the bank were returning direct debit payments and debiting his account with bank charges instead. Although as it is such a hand to mouth existance, it is almost impossible to have any sort of a financial buffer to deal with these kind of emergencies. So we sent over £200 to buy food, put money on to the gas card and fuel in the car. He was so grateful, and insisted that when he was able to, he hoped to pay the money back to the fund so that it can be used to help someone else.