May 24, 2018
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.
Mar 6, 2018
Our client, a single mother of two children has had her Universal Credit claim sanctioned for three months, because she did not attend a meeting at the Job Centre, which she says she was never notified of. She is in the process of appealing this decision, but like most things with the DWP, it takes ages to make any progress. In the meantime she has two sons, one 13, the other 16 that are depending on her for their needs. She has had some help from elsewhere from her local authority and her energy supplier for food, and gas and electric, but has now exhausted all that help. So we were contacted as a last resort for help. She won't receive any money from the DWP until the end of March when her sanction expires, so we agreed to send her £150 to tide her over until then.
Dec 3, 2017
We were approached about a lady that our contact had noticed online, posting about the fact that she has recently been sanctioned by the DWP, and also has had to deal with the fact that her home had been badly damaged by vandals. We agreed between us to send her £60 to spend on food and keep her ticking over until her sanction can be overturned.
Sep 1, 2017
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.
Sep 1, 2017
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.
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.
Aug 9, 2017
We were approached by our agents who are frantically trying to help a single mum with three children. She suffers badly with mental health issues and failed to attend JSA appointment, and consequently her JSA payments stopped, which then meant she lost her housing and council tax benefit. This has resulted in her being served with an eviction notice for the 17th of this month. Our agents have got her housing and council tax benefits payments reinstated and they are hopeful that this will frustrate the eviction notice, which could then be cancelled. She has to do a rapid reclaim for JSA, and has an appointment for this Friday. She currently has no money at all to buy food for her or her children. We agreed to send across £100 to tide her over until her JSA payments can begin again.
Jul 24, 2017
Our client is a lady in her late forties who has been on Employment Support Allowance for a long time due to mental issues. In April she was assessed again as part of her renewal of her ESA Application and refused ESA. This meant her ESA payments stopped leaving her only with her PIP payments. Due to her mental health issues she feels unable to sign on for Job Seekers so is trying to hold out for her appeal to be resolved. Unfortunately she is fast running out of money and needed to buy some food. The agency that are supporting her are hopeful they can get her ESA reinstated in the next 14-21 days, so asked for help to keep her going until then. We agreed between us to send across £100 so she can do a decent food shop to see her over the next fortnight to three weeks.
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 Client is a lady who failed her ESA Assessment in April and was consequently found fit for work. Her mental health is not good, and when she phoned up the DWP to query this, she believed she was doing the Mandatory Reconsideration for her ESA assessment, but they told her it had to be done in writing (which is not true), unfortunately this didn't happen and so her assessment wasn't reconsidered. She has been claiming Job Seekers the past few week, but is really struggling and attempted suicide four weeks ago. She lives with her son who is in his late teens, and he himself has also failed his ESA assessment, so has no income whatsoever, so she is struggling to keep them both on the tiny amount she has coming in. The last payment she received, it all went on food and electricity and she is fast running out and won't have enough to last them both until when she receives her next payment. We sent over £100 to tide them over.
Jul 8, 2017
Our client, a disabled lady who is a wheelchair user has been honest with the DWP and Tax Credits about her boyfriend moving in with her and her children. Their reaction was to say that he would now be financilly responsible for looking after her and her family. She was told to contact and apply for Universal Credit as she was no longer entitled to tax credits. Universal Credits said to her as she had three children, she couldn't claim Universal Credit and was told to ring Tax Credits back. They then told her she had to apply for Income Support, the result of that was that the DWP then stopped her ESA claim. They have been left only with the Child Benefit of £43.10 a week to live off for a family of five. Her partner is unable to take care of them financially as he was laid off his job six months ago. They've been told it will take 2-3 weeks to get their benefits payments sorted out and reinstated. Meanwhile they have pennies on their electricity meter. We agreed to send them £100 to keep them and their energy meters topped up for the time being.
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.
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 19, 2017
We were made aware of a food bank which was struggling to have food available to give as donations following the closure of a supermarket near to them that had a collection point for their customers to leave any donations they wanted to make. The closure of the store meant that there was now not an obvious point for people to leave their donations, and the next available store, which is one of the main ones, doesn't appear to be allowing for a collection point in their store. One of our team went and did a physcial shop and dropped off just over £150 worth of food to them, canned, packets and non-perishables.
If you have a food bank near to you, it might be worth finding out where the drop off points for food are and get the word out there among your community. So even if you are unable to help out yourself, the person you tell about it, might be able to. Or maybe you could become involved with your local food bank and see what can be done with the stores local to you, to either donate food, or allow a collection box for donations in their stores. Often stores aren't always sure of what to do and it takes someone coming in and asking them about it to get the ball rolling.
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.