Apr 9, 2018
This case just goes to show that people from all walks of life are affected when they find themselves in a situation where they are unable to work any longer and become reliant on the benefits system. Our client here is an academic, who found himself in a situation where his previous social housing home, was expensive to heat and had a vermin problem that was proving impossible to resolve. He decided to move home and went to a new area and a new housing association property, which he does get some help paying for via housing benefit. He is currently in receipt of Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and Disability Living Allowance (DLA). He has been 'invited' to apply for Personal Indpendence Payments (PIP), which will replace the DLA, but this is not as easy to do as it might seem, as many applicants having been on DLA for some years frequently find themselves refused PIP and are faced with tribunals to try to get the decision overturned. Often the wait time to get a refusal overturned if it goes beyond the mandatory reconsideration stage, and ends up at tribunal can take almost a year to resolve.
This man is struggling to keep his head above water financially, as his benefits payments aren't stretching far enough. He is currently without a bed, so sleeps on the floor, doesn't have a cooker, so cooks on a camping stove. There is no furniture, nor any carpets in his home. He chooses between heating his home and eating, it is that much of a hand to mouth existence. He visits the food bank when he is able to, but still isn't coping too well, and the lack of decent nutrition is impacting his physical and mental health negatively.
Our agents are assisting him with the transition from DLA to PIP, as if these payments stop then he will be in even more trouble financially. They are helping him to apply for a grant to obtain some carpeting or floor coverings for his house, so he isn't sleeping on a concrete floor. Local to him furniture banks will be able to supply some second hand or used items, and we agreed to send him £120 to help him purchase items of his own choice, as well as some food.
Mar 2, 2018
A 39 year old man needed our help. He suffers with epilepsy following a brain injury which now impacts his memory quite badly. Our agents are helping him as his benefits have been cut dramatically and they are assisting him to appeal this. They have discovered that his home is in a poor decorative state, plus he has a concrete floor which means if he falls during a fit he can considerably injure himself. He is without a kettle and boils water on the stove, but there are health and safety reasons why this is not a good idea for him to do. They asked on his behalf for some funds to help him pick up some things to help him, which we agreed to do.
Feb 14, 2018
We were asked to help out a lady who is in receipt of ESA, as she has Epilepsy, Anxiety and depression. She was in receipt of DLA, but when she was switched for PIP, she lost her claim. This has meant that her income has dropped by £130 per week. She is appealing the decision and is due to have her claim heard later this month, our Agents are confident that her PIP will be awarded. She needs help in the meantime to pay for some heating, as she is currently unable to heat her home. She needs to cover the next few week, because even if she is successful, it will take several weeks for the DWP to address the backpayment she would be due, and to actually pay that. We agreed to send her £150.
Feb 13, 2018
Our help was requested for a lady who was a nurse, working for the NHS, until she became unable to work through disability. Her son has now left full time education, so she no longer receives any financial support for him, and to complicate matters she has lost her PIP entitlement, which caused rent arrears as she lost her PIP premiums. A mix up with her council tax, resulted her being persued for eviction, this is now resolved. She is though in serious need of help with her gas, electric and for some food. We agreed to send her £100 to help her out.
Jan 8, 2018
It was an urgent request we received to help a man who has been long term homeless. He has been offered a home to move into but has absolutely no furniture whatsoever. Our agents have applied to the emergency fund with his local council to help purchase some items, but they wanted to know if we could help with some money to get him started. He is in receipt of ESA and PIP but has no spare money to purchase anything. We agreed to send him £100 and hopefully with that and the support of our agents he will be able to pick up some low cost items second hand on local selling sites.
Nov 13, 2017
We have worked with these agents before, and this time they brought to us a case where a young woman, 18 years old, who has just left the care system, has found herself without any money to survive on at all, not for food, anything. She put in an application for Employment Support Allowance and Personal Independence Payment, but has been told that the Department for Work and Pensions have lost her forms, and therefore she has to wait until they can be found and dealt with. She is a vulnerable person who has been left in a dreadful mess through no fault of her own. We agreed that we could send across £100, and our agents will help her manage the money, so she has enough to last her. We also advised our agents to apply to her local council for a welfare payment, which they are going to do. Unfortunately though, applications like these take a long time to be processed, the money agreed to, and released. This was an emergency situation and she needed help there and then, she could not wait. We were glad to be able to help her out.
Oct 5, 2017
Our agents contacted us about a lady who had been reassessed for PIP and had failed the assessment. An award of PIP protects a person from the benefit cap, so the loss of her PIP award means that she now has to suddenly find an extra £120 per month for her rent and council tax. Both her adult sons live at home with her, so non-dependent deductions are made, hence the need to pay the £120 per month. Both sons were at college, so had some income from student loans, but this has now stopped, so the eldest son has been forced to sign on for Universal Credit, but the younger son did not want to because the stigma associated with signing on. We agreed we would offer some help but we wanted the mum to encourage the younger son to put his concerns to one side and apply for Universal Credit himself, this will at least give him some income to help the family out. We agreed to send across £150 to help them out until their payments come through.
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.
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 24, 2017
A lady in receipt of Employment Support Allowance and Personal Independence Payment has recently been sent home after a full hip replacement, without any help and support, so a former neighbour of hers has been making the journey each day to make sure she is okay and helping her out. It was noticed that her cat was unable to bear weight on one of its legs, so it was taken to the vets for treatment, where following an xray it was discovered that the cat, like its owner has chronic osteoarthitis, which will be managed with pain relief. The lady still has to have another full hip replacement, as well as both knees replaced, and the vets bill was weighing heavily on her mind. An application was made to the PDSA who made a significant contribution, and we agreed we would settle the balance, to allow this lady to be relieved of the debt and able to focus on getting well enough for the next stage in her medical treatment.
Mar 16, 2017
We were approached about a man in his 50s, with complex mental health issues. He lives in a caravan in quite a remote area, not easily able to access public transport. His van needs gas bottles to provide fuel for the heating and for cooking. He had no money to pay for this, nor for electricity, food or fuel for his motorbike he uses to get into town. We agreed to send across £150 to allow him to purchase a bottle of gas (£52), to put some money on to his electricity meter and buy some food. He is being supported to get his application for Personal Independence Payment put through again, as he lost his award of PIP when he failed the transition from Disability Living Allowance.
Jan 26, 2017
We were told of a couple, who'd recently had to move home after they had been subject to being stalked. Since moving, the wife had been fortunate enough to find work but the work was very intermittent. Her husband is disabled and unable to work, and because his wife is working he is unable to claim any out of work benefits to help them. Following the move of home they'd fallen into arrears with their rent. An agency are helping the husband apply for Personal Independence Payment, and would also see if it might be possible for them to apply for a discretionary housing payment (these though are very hard to be awarded, and looked at on a case by case basis by the local authority.) We agreed as a group to arrange for £100 to be sent to the couple to help relieve some of the worry regarding the arrears.
It is not just people that aren't working that are struggling financially, it is also those in employment, but where their hours of work are not regular enough for them to make any plans, rely on them or even meet their basic living requirements.
Dec 9, 2016
Our agent, who had personal knowledge of this lady, spotted a mention that she'd had to go to a foodbank for help to feed her and her family. On enquiry we found that although her husband works, his income is just over the limit that means they can not claim any additional financial help. She'd had to give up her part time job as her arthritis was preventing her from working, and her adult son had recently lost his job due to his mental health condition. The lady was signposted to apply for Employment Support Allowance and Personal Independence Payments for her son, as his mental health prevents him from working. We agreed to send across £100 as a boost to help them. She was extremely moved by the help and said that she was so happy, crying tears of joy, as she would be able to top up her meters and have the heating on.
Oct 24, 2016
When a claimant fails to be awarded PIP, you'd think that might be a straightforward thing to happen, but not at all. You see an award of PIP entitles and leads the way to other benefits help, which when PIP is not awarded, they simply fall away. The lady in question, a double amputee, with a serious illness on top of that, had applied to transition from DLA, Disability Living Allowance, which she had been in receipt of for some years, to PIP, Personal Independence Payment, which the Government brought in to replace DLA. (There is no choice in the matter, once you are 'invited' to apply for PIP, you cannot choose not to do that and remain in receipt of DLA. Once your invitation date has passed, your DLA payments stop). Increasingly we are seeing more and more seriously ill and disabled people, dependent on specially adapted vehicles, as was the case with this lady, having their cars taken away from them. This for her means that as well as the money she'd come to rely on to survive, her means of getting out of the house will be gone, so she will become housebound. She is appealing that decision thankfully, but as it takes so long to be resolved, it is highly likely that her specially adapted car will have to go back before she can get this resolved. This week she and her family are being fed by her friends that have stepped up to help her, and next week it would be the foodbanks for help. We agreed to send her £100 so she could buy some much needed food and other items, for which she was extremly grateful.
May 13, 2016
On the 13th we helped a girl who resides in a hostel. She has an inoperable tumour and fits everyday from it. The hostel moved her benefits from incapacity and income support to PIP only and it caused a massive drop to her income. She pays service duty at the hostel which amounts to £35 a week.
This left her wuth £40 per week to live on. Our expert benefit advisers worked out a plan to help sort her benefits out, and we sent her £50 to tide her over.