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 14, 2017
We were approached on behalf of a single mum who had had to flee her home following the kidnap and torture of her teenage son. She was under witness protection until earlier this year, resulting in her moving home nine times. She is still in temporary accommodaton, waiting on permanent accommodation. She was visited this week by our contact who reported that she had very little in terms of possessions and is very isolated, not knowing anyone in the area. Our contact is going to get her involved with some local groups so that she can make friends, but they wondered if they could request some financial help so she could maybe get a cheap secondhand TV. We agreed to send across £50 to help her.
Sep 12, 2017
We were approached by a new referer about a 24 year old woman who has epilepsy, depression and anxiety issues. She is currently receiving £73.10 per week Employment Support Allowance and is unable to afford anything to put into the new accommodation she has been provided with. Our agents have sourced her a furniture package locally, and have a charity they can approach for funding for an oven, but she needed a fridge freezer. We agreed that we would send across £60 so that she could use that to pay for a second hand one from her local selling sites, or somewhere like Gumtree for instance.
Sep 12, 2017
We were approached about a mum who needed help for her daughter. The mother who is currently being sanctioned on her benefits, was unable to provide a suitable school uniform for the child. The knock on from this is that the child had missed a lot of her schooling last term as the mother had kept her off school. Our agents asked us to pay for a main set of uniform for her, which we did and actually placed an order with the local school uniform supplier and arranged for the mother to call by to collect this, so we could be certain the money was used for its intended purpose.
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.
Sep 5, 2017
We helped someone earlier this year, who was in a desperate situation, she was in debt and being hounded by debt companies and bailiffs. She was being supported by a woman's shelter, who reported that she was cold from not having a winter coat. We offered at the time that if needed we would transfer over some money so that she could purchase one. They approached us again this week and we agreed to send her £35 so that she could have a look round her local area for something suitable.
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 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 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.
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 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 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 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.