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"
Oct 5, 2016
A couple finding themselves without their expected Employment Support Allowance payment rang the DWP to find out why this hadn't been paid in, only to discover that their ESA payments had been stopped on the 22nd September, a form for them to fill in had been sent to them on the 26th September, along with a reminder to fill in the form on exactly the same day! To stop the ESA payments without allowing adequate time for the claimant to fill in the extensive form (usually a month is allowed to complete and return this) let alone before they'd even received a form to fill in is not normal DWP policy. They admitted to the claimant that this should not have happened, but the decision to reinstate the payments and allow time for a new form to be sent, completed and returned would be up to a decision maker to decide on, not the person that answered the phone at the DWP. Unfortunately, this meant the claimant would be without any money to be able to buy food. Both the claimant and her partner are diabetic and have to take their medication with food, otherwise it would cause them problems. To not take the medication would be worse as it could case them further complications
Thankfully the claimant had had the sense to contact her Housing Association for a nil income form, to cover her housing benefit and council tax relief payments, as the ESA payments stopping, would have triggered these payments to stop also.
We decided this was a critical case and needed an urgent decision, so we agreed to send them £150 to allow them to purchase some food and have some money available until the DWP could sort this mess out and reinstate their payments. She and her partner were both moved to tears to the generosity of strangers, willing to step in and lend a hand at such a scary time.
This case for us was very alarming as many people do not have a buffer of money to fall back on as most are living from one benefit payment to the next.