May 26, 2017
Our client is a single man who has been street homeless for quite some time. He was living in a tent during the winter, but having developed a chronic cough was ordered to stay with friends temporarily while he recovered. Once the weather improved he moved back towards "home" and stayed with other friends for a nominal sum of money, but now every penny he had has been used up so he is faced with having to navigate the Universal Credit system which seems to cause more headaches than it offers solutions. While he waits for his first payment which could be another few weeks we agreed to send across £75 to allow him to top up his meters and buy some food.
May 22, 2017
The man in question, sustained a serious injury to his face some years ago which had left him with difficulties in trying to speak, and because of the trauma of how it happened, it has left him with severe mental health issues. He was recently reassessed for Employment Support Allowance and was found by the assessor fit for work. He approached the agency that came to us for help on his behalf and they are trying to support him in making a claim for Job Seekers Allowance. The agency have applied for a mandatory reconsideration on his behalf, but that has been returned by the DWP as a negative, so now he is faced to take the matter to a tribunal to try to get the decision overturned that way. He has a wife and two children, and although he has made the appointment to sign on for Job Seekers but it will be at least 10 days before any money is received, so we agreed to send across the sum of £150 to help them out until their benefits can be paid.
May 10, 2017
We were contacted rather urgently about a 63 year old lady, who having worked hard all her life as a nurse, was now needing both her knees replaced, unable to work, and had totally been let down by the benefits system. The same system that is supposed to be there as a safety net to catch people as they fall. She has not been paid any benefits since December 2016 after failing her ESA, and has been relying on help from her young pregnant daughter. This lady is in arrears with her rent, facing court action over her home, not knowing she could have gone to the council and requested a nil income form to make sure her rent and council tax would be covered. A complaint about how this case has been handled has been lodged with the DWP and the agency that is now helping her, having taken her case at the end of March, is supporting her to submit a fresh claim to DWP for Employment Support Allowance on the grounds of a worsening condition. The agents confirmed that this lady had done everything they had requested of her to do and were confident with the right support this situation could be pulled around, but for now she was quite literally at breaking point.
We agreed as a group to send across £150 to the lady and a further £50 to her daughter. We also agreed an extra small amount to be held in abeyance just in case it is needed, if her ESA takes time to begin payments. She was extremely grateful for the help.
May 2, 2017
One of our agents spotted a lady asking for advice regarding her ESA claim as she was waiting to hear when it would be processed and she might begin receiving payment. Her council had given her a voucher for a foodbank, but she was simply too unwell with a chest infection, to be able to attend the foodbank and collect some much needed food.
After we were certain that she was genuine and was following the correct procedures to best help herself with her ESA claim, we were happy to send across £50 so she could purchase some food and put some money on her gas and electric meters. She was extremely grateful and incredibly surprised that a group of unknown people had reached out to her and helped, in her hour of need.
Apr 20, 2017
We were made aware of a young Mum with two children, one of whom has been formally diagnosed with autism, but who also has special requirements regarding food. She'd been prepared for the holiday, but unfortunately a large amount of money left her account to pay a bill, earlier than she had budgeted for. They'd tried to get the payment stopped but it was too late, it had already left her account. This left her without money for food for herself and her two children, and the oldest child would be unable to eat the food she could get hold of from the local foodbank. We agreed to send across £60 to tide her over until her next payment of Employment Support Allowance, reached her bank account.
Feb 23, 2017
Today our agent told us of a lady who has been homeless in the past and has lived in homeless shelters. She was finally offered a permanent place to live, but in order to be able to move in she had to clear some outstanding arrears. She did this using her Employment Support Allowance payments, but by doing so this left her without any money for food, cleaning materials, or money to put on her gas and electric meters. She has Chron's Disease, so has to have a careful diet to stay on top of it. We agreed to send £100, so that she could put £15 on each of her gas and electric meters, and the remaining £70 to buy food to stock up with, as well as some cleaning materials.
Feb 23, 2017
We were contacted about a lady who had returned her completed Employment Support Allowance (ESA) forms to the DWP as requested. She didn't though send them recorded delivery, which she later regretted when the DWP claimed not to have received them. She discovered this when her ESA payments stopped without warning. This went on for a while as last month she had to borrow enough money to be able to pay her bills and buy food. She had sensibly sought a nil income form from her local authority to cover her rent and council tax payments. Eventually the DWP 'found' the forms and agreed that her payments would be reinstated, however they then cancelled them again just a few days later and she is still in the midst of trying to understand why this has happened or for the DWP to be able to explain why, as they don't appear to know why either.
As she is completely without money and needs to buy food, top up her gas and electric meters and buy some medical items we agreed to send across £100, which will hopefully tide her over until the DWP can reinstate her payments again.
Feb 8, 2017
We were contacted today by an agency that are working with a man suffering with anxiety and depression. He had got himself into some quite serious debt and had effectively switched off to it all, shoving his head in the sand. He hadn't claimed any benefits at all for the past two years, relying instead on family who had been putting him up and feeding him. These debts have begun to catch up with him and the relentless letters chasing the debts are only serving to increase his anxiety and feed his depression. The agency are now in the process of helping him to apply for employment support allowance, and seek much needed medical help. They are also helping him deal with his debts, urging him to apply for a debt relief order, as he has no assets or savings. Unfortunately, though with no money to his name he is unable to raise the £90 needed to pay for the fees for the order. We agreed that by sending the money across to cover this, it would allow him to have some relief from stress and begin to rebuild his life again.