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.
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.
Oct 18, 2016
We came across a lady who had been off work since earlier this year, having been taken to hospital suddenly in a desperate situation and needing life saving surgery. Unfortunately her sick pay (SSP) ran out in early October, and so she requested to claim Employment Support Allowance, but that wasn't as straightforward as she thought it might be. Initially refused, they then agreed she could claim ESA but that it would not be paid until she had received her last payment from her employer, and as she was paid in arrears, this meant that she would be left for a period of time with no money coming in whatsoever. What made matters worse was that her daughter was now 18 years of age and about to begin studying at University. This of course means that the child tax credits and child benefits payments that were being received stopped in August, as her daughter was no longer eligible to claim. This changeover often catches parents out, but for this to happen as well as everything else for this lady meant that she and her daughter were really in a desperate situation, with no money for even food. We agreed a sum of £100 so they could buy some food until her ESA payments started being paid.
Sep 12, 2016
A lady suffering with COPD and mental health issues had been refused Employment Support Allowance, even at the tribunal stage and so found herself having to sign on for Job Seekers Allowance or being totally without any money at all. She was in a catch 22 situaton in that she didn't have any money to be able to afford to pay to get a bus to the job centre and it was too far for her to walk, especially with COPD. We agreed to send over a small amount to allow her to get to the Job Centre to sign on, otherwise her whole claim was going to be closed.
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.