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Single mum left with nothing from Universal Credit

Our agents contacted us about a single mum that works part-time, due the fluctuating nature of her hours of work, she has been in receipt of Universal Credit (UC), but this month it has ended up that she has received nothing from UC at all.  This has left her in a predicament over her bills and she is without any money to pay for her monthly bus pass, which comes to £64, or to top up her energy meters.  Our agents are currently applying for some energy credit on her behalf, as well as doing a benefits check to make sure she has fully claimed all she is able to.  We agreed to send her £100 to help her pay for her travel costs and for some money for food.  We had some feedback to say she was very grateful for the help, and that our agents are helping her to source access to a suitable training course so that she could apply for a full-time management job.

Tags : Benefits UniversalCredit Poverty travelpass singleparents

Single mum of three in a fix

A single mum of three children, a young teenager and 11 year old twins has recenlty had to submit a claim for Universal Credit when she was told she had to switch over.  She was a victim of domestic abuse for a number of years and relocated to a new area with the support of the Police.  Shortly after she moved she was involved in a car accident which left her with a brain injury and she lost her job.  Following being off work for twelve months, she has now found a job but doesn't start work until later this month and will have to wait for her wages to be paid  In the meantime she is without any money to pay for food or cover her bills.  We agreed to send her £150 to help her with this.

Tags : Benefits UniversalCredit Poverty DomesticAbuse BrainInjury Employment

Father loses job after motorbike was stolen

Our agents approached us about helping a young family.  The father was working, doing agency work, but unfortunately his motorbike was stolen that he used to travel to and from his place of employment.  Without the means to get there, he had to cease his contract and since has struggled to find work, any work.  Reluctantly they have had to apply for Universal Credit and are waiting at the moment to have their claim processed.  In the meantime they are without food, and have a 3 month old baby to take care of, as well as feed themselves.  We agreed to send the family £150, so they can buy some food and nappies for the baby.

Tags : UniversalCredit Motorcycletheft youngfamilies poverty

Man with cancer unable to work

Our attention was brought to a man who is currently undergoing intensive treatment for cancer. Previously he had been self-employed and managing quite well, however the change in income for him has been difficult to manage.  He is currently having daily radiotherapy and chemotherapy and the demands on his body means he often struggles to stay warm, which means putting on his heating which he cannot afford to do.  This is causing him to become stressed which is only making the situation worse.  We agreed to send him £100 to help with his energy costs over the next few weeks.

Tags : Cancer UniversalCredit Debt FuelPoverty

Single dad without power

A single dad, living with his 6 year old daughter has been sanctioned by Universal Credit and will not receive another payment until 18th April.  He has debts for his energy, tv licence, and council tax.  He borrowed £7 to put on to his energy meters, but because the standing charges were £5, that has meant he is still without power.  We agreed to send him £75 to help him out.

Tags : UniversalCredit Sanctions SingleParent FuelPoverty

New mum's baby goes to foster home

Less than a week ago a young mum gave birth to a baby, which immediately went to a foster home.  The partner took their Universal Credit payment of £98 for the month to pay for travel to where the baby was going to help get them settled in and to stay overnight nearby.  The mother has applied for Universal Credit in her own name and requested an advance payment which she can use to get some suitable clothing post pregnancy.  She is currently staying with her mother and normally pays towards her rent and board but the mother has said she will manage without that this month until she gets back on her feet.  In the meantime though she has some post natal appointments she must attend as she is very vulnerable at the moment.  Plus her three other children are currently in foster care and she sees those regularly but does not have any money to pay for the transport to get to see them.  We agreed to send her £80 to cover that until her benefits payments come into payment.

Tags : DWP Benefits FosterCare ChildreninCare JobSeekers UniversalCredit

Mother flees domestic violence

Our agents asked us if we would consider helping a young mum of two children, ages 2 and 4.  They have had to leave their family home and are currently living in refuge accommodation.  When they arrived they had the clothes they wear wearing and she had a few items of clothing for the children.  All the benefits she receives goes to pay for the refuge accommodation as well as paying back her Universal Credit advance.  Our agents are concerned that she really needs some changes of clothes, specifically underwear, and some toiletry items.  We agreed to send the family £150 to help with this.

Tags : DWP Benefits UniversalCredit Poverty noclothes

Man unable to read or write

We were asked to help a man who left his job in January and has been without income since then.  He sought help today from our agents who assisted him in applying for Universal Credit.  His appointment to get this arranged is not until April, and then he will need to wait for it to be approved before he can possibly apply for an advance on his benefits (although he will be forced to repay this from future benefits payments.)  The man lives with his mother, who has threatened to kick him out on to the streets unless he contributes something to the household.  He is struggling and is unable to read or write, so dealing with the DWP is not easy for him.  We agreed to send him £75 which will hopefully help him out.

Tags : DWP UniversalCredit Unemployment Poverty Unabletoreadorwrite

Young mum with cancer needs help

We were asked to help a young mum of two small children.  She has recently been diagnosed with cervical cancer and is about to start treatment for this, radiotherapy and surgery.  Following the surgery she is going to need a replacement mattress as the one she currently has will no longer be suitable, they have applied for a grant to buy a new mattress for her.  Before she became ill she was working full time and providing for her family.  Since her diagnosis she has had to give up work and apply for Universal Credit.  By applying for this though her previous payments of child tax and working tax credit have been stopped, and her Universal Credit payment last month was just £20 for the three of them.  She is currently trying to buy what little food she can using her credit card and the debt this is causing is stressing her out.  We agreed to send the family £150 so they can buy food and energy for the next month.

Tags : YoungMum Cancer youngchildren UniversalCredit FamiliesinPoverty FoodPoverty

Family in dire straits

Help was needed for a family that arrived here in the UK back in 2011.  The parents separated for a while and lived their lives, however the father became dependant on alcohol in 2017 and was unable to work as a result.  He claimed for Employment Support Allowance and joined a detox programme which has resulted in him giving up alcohol completely.  Shortly after the couple moved back in together but have now realised that this was a mistake and they should have stayed apart.  The wife is now considered homeless and is waiting to secure accommodation for her and their teenaged children.  Both parents have submitted separate claims for Universal Credit, and despite them having worked almost continuously since they arrived in the UK in 2011 they are both having to fulfill a habitual residency test.  The initial test they failed and the first claim was cancelled.  They are now claiming again, and need to wait for the result of the habitual residency test before they can make an advanced claim on the Universal Credit.  The Mother now works part-time, 16 hours per week but it is not enought money to keep a household of four going.  We agreed to send over £150 to allow them to purchase energy and fuel.

Tags : Benefits DWP UniversalCredit AlcoholDependency EUNationals Homelessness FoodPoverty

Urgent request for assistance

We were approached to help a young lady who unfortunately suffers with many health conditions.  She is at the moment suffering very serious epileptic seizures several times a day which means she is unable to work as she would be a health and safety risk both to herself and those around her.  Up until now she has been existing financially on just her Disability Living Allowance payments, so our agents are helping her to make a claim for Universal Credit, but they are going into this knowing that it will take at least 7 weeks before payments are properly in place.  In the meantime she is without money for energy or food.  We agreed we would send over to her the sum of £150 to help her out. 

Tags : DWP Benefits DLA UniversalCredit Poverty FoodPoverty FuelPoverty Epilepsy NotFittoWork

Family on Universal Credit forced to consider giving up family pet

One of our agents was contacted today by a man who lost his job in December last year.  He has applied for Universal Credit but is still waiting all these weeks later for it to be sorted out properly.  He has fallen into arrears on his rent and has no money for food for him or his family.  Fortunately they are being well supported by their local foodbank who are supplying them with food, but they have no cat food to give them.  With only one can of food left, he made the painful call to ask if their cat could be rehomed to somewhere that could afford to feed it.  (According to our agents lots of people are abandoning their pets because they don't have enough money to feed them). We organised some tins of supermarket cat food for him, enough to last the month, until hopefully his Universal Credit is finally sorted out, and an extra £20 for him to get some essentials with.

Tags : Benefits UniversalCredit Poverty Pets GivingupPets OutofWork JobSeekers RentArrears

Man feels bullied so leaves his job

A man who was working as a chef, has recently left his job as he felt he was being singled out for unpleasant attention, so much so that he felt bullied.  He suffers as well with mental health issues, and doesn't fully understand the benefits system, so has fallen behind with his rent and is now facing the threat of eviction.  He has applied for Universal Credit, and is due to receive his first payment this Friday.  From his £520 payment he is going to make his  rent payment plus £50 towards the arrears.  This though will mean he will be left once the bills have been paid with no money for food for the month until his next payment is made.  We agreed to send him £100 to help him out so he has some food.

Tags : UniversalCredit Benefits Debt RentArrears Eviction

Expectant mother without any provision for the baby

A young mum to be, 35 weeks pregnant has been in contact with our agents who have discovered that she doesn't have anything ready for when the baby arrives.  Our agents have been helping her to obtain some items she needs, but still have a few things to get and asked if we could help out.  She is in receipt of Universal Credit, and has applied for the maternity grant, but is still waiting for the outcome of that.  We sent her £70 so she can pick out some items herself.

Tags : Pregnancy expectantmum poverty UniversalCredit

Man with cancer not coping with bills

A man diagnosed with skin cancer has had his application for Universal Credit turned down.  Currently he receives £280 a month from a personal pension and that is it, yet his rent alone is £122 a week.  He has an appointment scheduled with the DWP to get this refusal sorted out, it seems it has become complicated as he was self-employed before.  Our agents are prepared to help him appeal the decision if necessary.  We agreed to send him £100 towards his bills.

Tags : DWP Benefits UniversalCredit SkinCancer Poverty

Single mum unable to afford gas or electric

A single mum who is in receipt of Universal Credit to top up her wages is really struggling to manage financially.  Her UC amount varies from month to month, but usually she has just enough to cover the cost of her rent.  Once she has bought food, and paid her bills she doesn't have enough money to put any credit on to her energy meters.  We agreed to send £100 to help the family out.

Tags : UniversalCredit Benefits Debt FuelPoverty Poverty

Travel costs needed to get to funeral

We were approached on be4half of a young woman whose Gran has recently died.  Her Gran raised her as a child, and although they are at opposite ends of the country the woman would like to be able to attend the funeral.  She recently lost her job when the care home she was working at closed suddenly without notice.  She applied for Universal Credit over 5 weeks ago, and has taken advantage of the fact that she can obtain an advance payment, as she is in privately rented accommodation and her landlord is unprepared to wait to be paid.  Universal Credit have told her that despite the fact she has already been waiting five weeks, she could have to wait a further three weeks before the first payment can be made.  The cost to get her from where she lives down south to Manchester and back would cost just over £72, which we agreed to cover.

Tags : DWP UniversalCredit Benefits Funerals TravelCosts Poverty JobSearching

Single mother wants to rebuild her life

A single mum who has throughout her life suffered abuse, from her parents growing up, from partners in relationships, often fleeing physical abuse.  She has tried many times to rebuild her life but keeps getting knocked back.  Our agents asked if we could help this single mum out, she is currently in receipt of Universal Credit and once all her rent and bills have been covered, she is left with £50 a week to heat the house and feed both her and her children.  We agreed to send her £100 to help her out.

Tags : DWP Benefits SingleMother UniversalCredit Poverty

Mature student finds apprenticeship cancelled

A mature student in his thirties had found an apprenticeship as a plumber.  He was with the business for almost a year but they realised they were in trouble and could no longer afford to keep him on.  He found another placement, but they messed him around and were refusing to pay him.  He suffers with depression and is the sole carer of his teenaged son.  All these issues are weighing him down, he is struggling to cope financially.  Our contacts had assisted him with money to put on to his fuel meters, and he's been to the foodbanks for food.  His child tax credits have stopped being paid, and he's had to apply for Universal Credit.  His first payment from Universal Credit won't be until the 20th February, and he has already had a £200 advance payment.  We agreed to send him £150 to buy food and to be able to top up his fuel meters.

Tags : DWP Benefits Apprenticeships UniversalCredit Poverty foodpoverty fuelpoverty

Young mum of two applying for Universal Credit

We were asked to help a young mum of two children, both under 4 years of age.  The mum was in business with her husband on a self-employed basis, however he has since left both the family home and the business leaving them both without any income.  She has applied for Univeral Credit, but is facing delays as her husband is still listed on the tenancy agreement, so obtaining housing benefit is proving difficult.  The husband has been abusive and this is now reported to the Police.  In the meantime she has no money for food for her or the children, so we agreed to send her £100 to help her out.

Tags : DWP UniversalCredit foodpoverty domesticabuse

Lady too terrified to leave her home

This lady was brought to our attention by our agents.  She is a lady in her late forties, that is in receipt of Universal Credit, but because her adult son currently lives with her that UC amount is seriously reduced.  He is moving out soon to move in with his girlfriend, this will leave her subject to bedroom tax as she will be occupying a 3 bedroomed home.  She is really struggling and is in quite serious debt, so our agents are referring her to their debt team to try to get this resolved.  She has been a victim of domestic violence which has been so severe it has left her with a brain injury.  This has meant she is unable to work, plus she rarely sleeps for very long as any noise and she wakes up.  She is afraid to leave the house as her ex-partner knows where she lives and has already damaged the property leaving her with a broken window she cannot afford to have repaired and her landlords have said that because it was done deliberately they won't pay to repair it either, so she is in her home and it is freezing cold.  She doesn't currently have any money for heating or for food.  We agreed to send her £100 to allow her to buy food and put credit on to her energy meters.

Tags : DWP UniversalCredit FoodPoverty FuelPoverty Debts Poverty

Man with cancer found fit for work

This situation is a man that has been diagnosed with head and neck cancer, needing to have extensive surgery.  He did have a job but had to give that up when he became too unwell to work.  He was in receipt of Universal Credit, but recently had a work capability assessment (WCA) where they found him fit for work, despite the fact he is unable to turn or lift his head or arms.  The outcome of the WCA has caused him emotional and psychological distress.  He is still at high risk of infection, so it is important that he has access to hot water for keeping clean, however he is having to decide between heating his home or being able to eat.  Our agents are going to help him put in an application for Personal Independence Payments, as well as appeal the decision of the WCA.  We agreed to send him £100 to buy food and fuel.

Tags : DWP UniversalCredit WCA FuelPoverty FoodPoverty Poverty Cancer

Lady in refuge accommodation without funds

A lady was moved into refuge accommodation today and the group helping her discovered that she had run out of money.  She is paid £230 per month to live off in Universal Credit payments.  She is not due another payment until the end of February, so they were very concerned about how she would cope.  We agreed to send her £100 so she could have money for food and fuel.

Tags : UniversalCredit Poverty Refugeaccommodation NoFood NoFuel

Young mum of two struggling to cope

We were approached about a young mum of two boys, ages 5 and 3.  She was previously in receipt of child and working tax credit, but had to switch over to claiming Universal Credit instead.  This meant a break in her payments, resulting in her falling behind with her rent and some of her bills.  She works 5 hours per week as a play assistant and is studying towards a qualification which will improve her employment options once she is qualified.  She does not have access to a computer at home, so has to go to her local library and use the computers there to study.  She received an advance on her Universal Credit payment (otherwise they'd have had nothing to live off), repayment for the advance is being deducted at source from her benefits, leaving her and her boys even less money.  We advised our agents to encourage her to request to repay the advance over 12 months, so it lessens the monthly deductions.  We also agreed to send her £100 to help her out in the meantime.

Tags : DWP UniversalCredit WorkingTaxCredit ChildTaxCredits Poverty LivinginPoverty benefitspoverty

Mother of one without food and heat in freezing conditions

This mother of a six year is in employment, but for the past weeks she has not been given any shifts at work.  She is in receipt of Universal Credit but is unable to cover her council tax bill, nor have any money for food or heating.  She has been trying to find a better job where she can be guaranteed hours of work, but so far she has not had any success.  Her mental health and anxiety are being exacerbated by the stress of her situation. She is not due another Universal Credit payment until the middle of February.  We agreed to send her and her daughter £150 to cover the cost of topping up her energy meters and buying some food.

Tags : Benefits UniversalCredit ZeroHoursContracts FuelPoverty FoodPoverty DWP

Freezing cold and no money for heating

We were asked to help a young woman who up until the 21st December last year was working.  She has attended a couple of job interviews but so far has not had any success in securing employment.  She is in the process of applying for benefits but has failed to get the application completed as she does not yet have a bank account.  To apply for an advance on her Universal Credit payment, she'd need a bank account.  Her friend will accept the first payment for her but is away until after the weekend.  In the meantime where she is staying is freezing cold and she has absolutely no money for food or heating.  We agreed to send her £70 to tide her over until her friend returns home.

Tags : Benefits Unemployment UniversalCredit BankAccounts Poverty FuelPoverty

Family struggling on Universal Credit

The family, a mother, father and two children, ages 3 and 1 years of age are struggling to manage.  Both parents work, but in low paid jobs and they receive Universal Credit to top up their wages to a liveable amount.  This is not working for them as they are in desperate need of some essentials for the children, such as duvets, pillows and bedding.  We agreed to send them £100 to help them out.

Tags : UniversalCredit Benefits LowIncome Bedding Children

Foodbank needs funds to be able to help others

We sent a £100 donation towards a foodbank that were crowdfunding to raise money to buy food to stock their foodbank larder.  We don't do this often, but we know that this money can help lots of families to have access to much needed food.

Tags : Foodbanks Benefits UniversalCredit FoodPoverty Familieswithoutfood

Man unable to put on his heating

We were asked to assist a gentleman struggling with anxiety and depression.  He moved home in January 2018 and his gas meter was in arrears when he moved.  Since the move he has been trying really hard to clear the arrears so that he can have some heating on in his flat, as the lack of heat is triggering his depression and making him even worse.  His Universal Credits payments don't allow him to make any headway in clearing the debt and his mental health is really poor with this extreme cold weather.  Our agents had tried other agencies for help with grants, but all so far had refused because of his arrears.  We agreed to send him £100, so he could clear the debt completely and have £30 to top up his meter with.

Tags : UniversalCredit Benefits Debts FuelPoverty Poverty Depression

Student without essential uniform

We were asked to assist a family, single mum of three children, where the teenaged daughter had been out of education for 15 months.  The girl was now back in school, following support given to the family.  However she is struggling because her Mum who is on Universal Credit is unable to provide her with a school blazer and some items of PE kit.  The lack of these items is seriously impacting on this young girl's school experience.  We agreed to send the family £75 so that they can buy the blazer for her and the other things she needs, so she feels more included.

Tags : DWP Benefits UniversalCredit Poverty SchoolUniforms Education

Young Mum frustrated by Universal Credit Application

A Mum of a young daughter was working part-time in a supermarket, 7.5 hours per week, claiming child tax credits, child benefit and some financial support from her ex partner.  Struggling to make ends meet she applied for Universal Credit to top her payments up, but this brought her existing payments to a halt and she faces a long wait while her claim is processed.  In the meantime her rent payments have fallen behind as her housing benefit was one of those that stopped being paid.  Her landlord annoyed that the rent isn't being paid has been threatening the mum, causing her to become very concerned.  She has been unable to go into work because she needs to put her daughter into the breakfast club at school, but without the money to pay for it, she can't access the scheme.  Her bank account was a little overdrawn, £24, so we agreed to send her £125, to clear the overdraft and allow her and her daughter to have some money for food.  Our agents are going to help her regarding the landlord situation as they are not allowed to threaten her like this and must follow the official route.

Tags : Singleparents Benefits DWP UniversalCredit debt poverty

Young man struggling to claim benefits without a phone

We were asked to help a young man whose benefits stopped being paid over the Christmas Period, he had been in receipt of Employment Support Allowance.  He tried to make an application for Universal Credit, but due to his poor language skills, mental health issues and lack of a mobile phone this was not successful.  He is unable to top up his gas and electricity meters due to not having any money, nor any money for food.  We agreed to send him £75 to help him out until he can get his benefits claim sorted out.

Tags : Benefits DWP ESA UniversalCredit FuelandFoodPoverty

Dad unable to have his kids at the weekend

Our case this time was a father of three children, twins aged 7 and a five year old.  One of the twins is autistic and attends a special school.  He suffers with anxiety and depression following the break down of his abusive relationship.  The children currently live with their mother, who has mental health problems.  The father has had the children staying with him several nights a month, but has had to tell the mother he is unable to as he cannot afford to heat his flat, nor heat the water so that the children are able to have a bath.  His flat is rented and is currently heated by large inefficient storage heaters.  He is desperately missing having his children and this is impacting negatively on his mental health.  However the agencies that are helping him, such as his local foodbank are all reporting that he is engaging well and doing everything that is asked of him in an effort to improve his situation.  We agreed to send him £100 so that he can top up his energy meters and be able to put the heating on.

Tags : DWP Benefits SingleDad FuelPoverty UniversalCredit

Man trying to make a fresh start

We were approached by our agents, asking for us to help a man that is suffering with anxiety and depression.  He is struggling to find work, due to him having a previous minor criminal conviction.  He is in serious debt and this is only making his condition even worse.  His home is very cold and due to debt relating to his energy supplier he is unable to live there and put the heating on, so he is currently staying with friends and family.  We were asked if we could cover the cost of a Debt Relief Order, to the sum of £90 so that he can apply to have these debts resolved and hopefully have a fresh start with his finances.

Tags : DWP UniversalCredit FuelPoverty Debts DRO

Homeless young man finally has a home of his own

A young man who had been street homeless for quite some time was finally offered a place to live, somewhere to call home.  As he has been homeless for some time all he has are the clothes he was wearing, we were asked to help him with some money.  Our agents had managed to secure some furniture and white goods for him, but he still needed bedding, saucepans, crockery, cutlery, towels, etc.  He has made a claim for Universal Credit but his first payment won't be until after Christmas.  We agreed we would send him £100 to help him get started on what he needs.

Tags : DWP Benefits UniversalCredit homelessness onthestreets rehomedatlast

Mother of 7 month old needs money for baby milk

A young mum rang a helpline yesterday worried that once she'd been paid her Universal Credit payment and she'd covered her rent she wouldn't have enough money to buy baby milk for her 7 month old, as she had been in receipt of statutory maternity pay which had thrown her over a threshold for Universal Credit.  She'd worked out she would have enough for most things but not be able to cover the cost of the baby milk, which would be £40 for the month of January.  We agreed to send her £40 to cover the cost of this so it was one less thing to worry about.  Our agents are organising food bank vouchers for her to keep her going.

Tags : UniversalCredit benefits maternitypay babymilk 7montholdchild

Heavily pregnant mother at Christmas has benefits suspended

We had an urgent case to respond to.  A pregnant mother, baby due the 23rd of this month has had her benefits suspended because she has been told she has failed the habitual residency test.  She actually has leave to stay indefinitely in the UK, however there was a house fire and her documents confirming this were lost in the fire.  The DWP have already had sight of these documents when she applied in the first place, but they are now saying she isn't entitled.  As her home and belongings were destroyed she is now living in temporary accommodation, housed by her local council. She is in the process of getting her documentation replaced via the Home Office and has been given a small grant of £105 by her council but she cannot claim anything more.  That money she used to buy food for herself and some items for the baby, however she does not even have money to be able to get herself to the hospital when she needs to.  We agreed to send her today £150 so she can have some money to help her out.  Our agents are supporting her in getting the habitual residency test resolved and are appealing the Universal Credit suspension decision.

Tags : Benefits UniversalCredit housefire temporaryaccommodation habitualresidencytest righttostay heavilypregnantmother

Young mum and 4 year old facing Christmas without money

A young mum who is currently living in a refuge with her 4 year old daughter is waiting to receive her first Universal Credit payment.  So far she has received two crisis loans and has been told that she cannot have anything more.  It could be several weeks before she receives her first UC payment and faces Christmas without money or food.  Our agents asked us if we could offer some help to her and her daughter.  We agreed to send her £100, plus a further £50 for them both to enjoy some Christmas cheer.

Tags : Benefits UniversalCredit Refuge Christmas NoMoney NoFood

Mother of two flees domestic violence

Help was requested for a mother of two children.  She had fled a domestic violence situation and had had to move to a completely new area of the country to feel safe.  Leaving everything behind them, bar what they could carry, the local council where she was moving to covered the cost of getting them there and they've been housed in an empty property.  Her health worker has purchased a kettle and a toaster for them, and they have a toddler bed for the two year old.  The other child is sharing a bed they've been loaned with her Mum.  The area she has moved to has Universal Credit in place, so she's had to submit an application for that, which will have a knock on effect on the payment of her benefits.  We were asked to help her with some money so that she can buy a bed for her eldest daughter and any other things she might be able to pick up cheaply secondhand.  We agreed to send her £150 and an extra £50 for the children to ensure that their first Christmas in their new home has some Christmas cheer.

Tags : Benefits domesticviolence children refuge nobed UniversalCredit

Universal Credit not working for people!

This case was a frustrating one.  A young mother is trying to keep herself and her children afloat, working and being 'assisted' by Universal Credit.  She has rent arrears, owes money to her family and to her childminder.  She is paid minimum wage and has rent, etc  to pay.  She is supposed to be topped up by Universal Credit, but her payments are being cut because they say she is earning too much.  She has tried to get some advice but isn't fairing too well in the area of the country she lives and ended up being given some advice printed off the Internet that she could have found herself.  Our agent has helped her write an email to her local MP to get some help and support with her case with the DWP, because when she phoned them up and was on the phone for an hour, as soon as she said she wanted to lodge a formal complaint they hung up the phone on her.  We agreed to send her £100, plus an extra £50 for the children.

Tags : Benefits DWP UniversalCredit debts workingdoesn'tpay

Lady in education loses ESA

We were contacted about a young woman, here in the UK on a refugee status.  She was previously in receipt of Employment Support Allowance, but her payments stopped being paid.  Our contacts attempted to help her apply for Universal Credit but were told as she is in full-time education now, UC would not be an option available to her.  She is now unable to afford her rent, pay her bills or buy food.  Our agents have organised food parcels and small amounts of money, and have approached the college, but all they can help with is a small travel grant.  We agreed between us to send her £75 to allow her to buy some food and pay for some gas and electricity.

Tags : DWP Benefits RefugeeStatus UniversalCredit

We are featured in today's issue of The Guardian newspaper

Today we were featured in an article written by Frances Ryan in The Guardian newspaper, which you can read here.  We are overwhelmed by the level of support from individuals that have stepped up to offer a donation to the fund, or to apply to become regular supporters.  We are a group of volunteers that fit in what we do around the other stuff in our lives, such as families, our health, work, etc. so as such it is going to take us a while to be able to respond to you all.  Rest assured we will do this because we know first hand how tough it is and how even the smallest amount can begin to make a difference in another person's life.  We pride ourselves on our ability to act as quickly as possible.

Some people have been asking on the article if they can donate via another route other than Paypal.  You can, by instructing your bank to make a direct payment to our bank. 

Our details are as follows:  Lloyds Bank plc, Sort code: 30-98-41 and Account Number:  72674060

If you would like to donate via Gift Aid, then please email: giftaid@biscuitfund.org

Once again, a big thank you to you all.  With your donations we are going to be able to help so many more people in dire situations over the coming months.

Tags : TheGuardian donations helpatChristmas UniversalCredit DWP Benefits FamiliesatCrisispoint homelessness nofood nomoney

Staying connected

Our case was a request to help a man who has formerly been street homeless.  He is housed now, and his rent is paid directly to his landlord via housing benefit, but he is struggling to survive on £190 a month benefits, which has to cover the shortfall in his council tax payments, his bills, energy costs and food.  His phone contract is in arrears and he is becoming increasingly anxious about losing the ability to use his phone, which could have serious implications for his Universal Credit claim.  We agreed to help him out by sending him £50 to use towards his phone and bills.

Tags : UniversalCredit MobilePhones Bills Homelessness

In desperate need of help!

We had an emergency request which we have been dealing with over the weekend (being volunteers working from home this does mean we work over the weekends on occasions).  The request was made on behalf of a single mum of four children, ranging in ages from 5 to 15.  All of the children have behavioural issues and she herself suffers with chronic depression.  She has been in a string of abusive relationships, the first one began when she was only 14 years of age.  Two years ago, with the help of a keyworker from a local children's centre, she left her last abusive relationship and took the children with her.   She now finally has a place to live, but still has debts relating to her accommodation which she is struggling to deal with.  Over the weekend she was without money because although she works 16 hours a week as a cleaner, last week it was half-term so she was unable to work as she had no childcare.  Her support worker is assisting her with this going forward so she doesn't face this problem again.  Her immediate problem that we were asked to help with was her inability to heat the home or buy food for herself and the children.  We agreed to send her £80 to clear the energy debt, £20 to add to the meters so she could use her gas and electricity, and £50 to buy some food.  Her local council have agreed to help her by paying some of the outstanding rent amounts directly to her landlord.  Our agent contacted us later that day to let us know how much of a help this was and she was confident that this had been a huge boost for her.

Tags : youngmum singlemum behaviourissues benefits domesticviolence debts UniversalCredit Nochildcare

Single man with broken wrist off work

We were approached to help a single man who has been off work because of a broken wrist.  While he has been waiting for his Universal Benefit payments to begin he has been relying on friends, family and foodbanks, but he has exhausted these now.  His first Universal Credit payment is not due for at least another week.  He is in arrears with his rent and has other debts mounting up.  Our agents are assisting him to deal with the debt, but he needed money in the meantime to be able to purchase food and put some money on his energy meters.  We agreed to send him £70 to help him out.

Tags : UniversalCredit noheating nofood nomoney Benefits DWP

Mum of two unable to heat their home

Our case was a young mum with a 7 year old and a 9 month old.  She is in receipt of Universal Credit but is struggling to make ends meet.  She left the father of her oldest child following domestic violence issues, and he is now no longer able to see her or their child.  The father of her youngest child is no longer on the scene, leaving her completely on her own.  She is struggling to heat their home, or have enough hot water to bathe the children, and at the point of contacting us, they told us she only had £4 left on the meter.  We agreed to send her £100 to help her out over these forthcoming months.

Tags : Benefits UniversalCredit DomesticViolence Children

Man without money to pay to top up his energy meters

We sent £40 to help a man in his fifties that suffered a stroke a while back which has left him difficult to understand at times.  He needs quite a bit of assistance to access details about his benefits because he is unable to use a computer and nowadays most contact happens that way.  He is waiting on his first Universal Credit payment, and although they tried to get an advanced payment of this for him, without him knowing his log in details, or even any information to pass the security with the DWP, this has been impossible to resolve.  The £40 we sent to him will be used to top his meters up so he can put his heating and hot water on, as well as be able to operate his fridge, etc.

Tags : UniversalCredit noheating nohotwater stroke benefits computeraccess

Already depressed man is sanctioned by the DWP

Our help was asked for in respect of a man who is battling depression.  He missed an appointment with the DWP and consequently the DWP have sanctioned his money and he was left with no money to cover his bills, which he now in debt with, nor any money to buy food.  When our agent visited him, he was very tearful and feeling unable to cope, so they asked us if we could help him until he could get a claim for Universal Credit submitted.  Our agents are taking him to his local CAB office next week to get the UC claim started and we agreed in the meantime to send him £100 to help him out.

Tags : Benefits DWP Sanctions Depression UniversalCredit

Domestic Violence survivor needs help

We were approached about a young woman who lives with her two children.  She is a survivor of domestic abuse which has impacted her mental health, resulting in her losing her job as she was unable to fulfill the role.  She has been switched over to Universal Credit which has resulted in her getting behind with her rent while it was being sorted out.  Her PIP application is currently at the appeal stage and she won't know the outcome for some weeks yet.  She does receive some money, albeit not the full amount.  Her child tax credits are paid to her next week but in the meantime she is without any money between now and then.  We agreed to send across £50 to help her out.

Tags : UniversalCredit RentArrears Benefits MentalHealth

Bereaved lady in need of a mattress

This case is for a lady who has recently lost her husband.  She is in very poor health and the property she was living in was in a bad state and not suitable for her to stay in.  She moved to a property nearer to family but ended up having to leave much of what she owned at her old house.  Her family have helped as much as they are able to and have found her most of the things she needs.  She has though as a result of her move been transferred on to Universal Credit and will be sometime before she is in receipt of any payments.  In the meantime she needs a double mattress and she and her family are unable to purchase one.  We agreed to help her by sending £80 towards the cost of this.

Tags : UniversalCredit Bereavement PoorHealth NoMattress

Young mum finds herself suddenly alone with 2 month old

We were approached about a young mum of a 2 month old who suddenly finds herself alone, after her partner has been inprisoned for the next four years.  She is in receipt of Universal Credit which has been issued at half the amount it should be due to a clerical error at the DWP.  They have acknowledged and accepted it is their error, however they are taking their time to resolve the situation and this young mum has been waiting some time.  She is struggling to work out which bills to prioritise as this error has left her without even enough money to pay her rent, let alone buy a much need cot and pram for the baby.  We agreed to send over £100 for her to use to cover food and energy costs for them both.  Hopefully with the help of our agents the DWP will rectify this mistake as a matter of urgency.

Tags : youngmum 2montholdbaby nopram nocot nomoney prison singleparent benefits UniversalCredit DWP

A sad case needs help

Our contacts asked us to assist a family this time.  They are a mother and father, and two children, one 11 months and one born last month, but 7 weeks premature.  The youngest child was born not properly developed, and was born without a fully functioning digestive system, so has to have a colostemy bag fitted until the child is old enough to have reconstructive surgery to address its needs.  They are currently living in an emergency unit and don't have any spare money at all.  They have been assisted to put in a new claim for Universal Credit, but that will take 4-6 weeks to be put into payment.  They need to travel back and forth to the hospital and that costs money for bus fares, so the mother has been walking the long distance there with the children in a buggy, however the buggy is now broken and needs replacing which they can't afford.  Our agents were concerned because the mother was considering a payday loan so she could replace the buggy and have some money for bus fares.  We agreed to send across £150 to allow them to replace the buggy (with hopefully a preloved one to make their money stretch further) and have some money left over to pay for the bus.  They should aslo be able to apply for an advanced payment of the Universal Credit, which will arrive sooner than the 4-6 weeks.

Tags : emergencyaccommodation familiesintemporaryaccommodation prematurebaby notfullydeveloped digestivesystemnotfullyformed benefits DWP UniversalCredit

Single Mum needs a DBS check

We were asked to help a single mother who has been desperately trying to get her life back on track.  She is currently in receipt of Universal Credit and is using that to take care of herself and her young daughter, but is struggling to make ends meet.  Previously she worked as a carer and enjoyed doing that, but to be able to get employment in a similar field she needs to have a DBS (Disclosure and Baring Service Check) done, but cannot afford to do that herself so it is in place ready for being given a job.  We agreed to cover the cost of that so that she can turn their lives around.

Tags : UniversalCredit DWP SingleMothers Carers DBS Nosparecash

Diabetic man with no food or hot water

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.

Tags : Mobility Diabetes Widowed NoFood NoHotWater UniversalCredit PersonalIndependencePayments UC PIP DWP Benefits

Single mother has Universal Credit sanctioned

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.

Tags : UniversalCredit Sanctions SingleParent NoFood NoGas NoElectric

Woman and daughter in refuge needs help

The Police, has had to remove a lady and her daughter from their home, following a domestic violence situation, perpertrated by one of her twin teenaged sons.  They were moved into a B&B and then into a refuge for their safety.  Unfortunately just before this happened the mother had settled some overdue bills at the house, paid back a loan and did a large shop for food.  Her Universal Credit payment had covered that, but she now suddenly had no money to cover the transport costs to get the child to college, and has to walk 3 miles from the refuge to the home to take food to the second twin.  We agreed to send her £50 to help cover the fares for her and her son.

Tags : benefits UniversalCredit domesticviolence refuge

Man needs to move nearer to family

Our agents asked us about helping a man who wants to move nearer to his sister, following the death of their father.  The move would be of great benefit to him, and he has been offered a place near to her, but in order to accept he has to pay the first weeks rent in advance.  The trouble with this is that he is in receipt of Universal Credit, but due to DWP deductions he loses 40% of his benefits because this is clawed back, leaving him with barely enough to live on, let alone pay for a change of accommodation up front.  Our agents asked us to consider making that first weeks rental payment for him of £87 which we agreed to do.

Tags : Benefits UniversalCredit deductions accommodation DWP

Universal Credit Dilemma

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.

Tags : Benefits PIP UniversalCredit FamilieswithoutIncome

Debt Relief Order Needed

Our help was needed this time for a  of single parent two teenaged children. He was left on his own with their young children when his wife was diagnosed and died of cancer.  They ran into a considerable amount of debt during that time, amounting to almost £50,000.  They ended up having to sell their home to repay the outstanding mortgage and some of the debts.  He is now in receipt of Universal Credit, as he has been pensioned off due to ill health, and unable to work, due to periods of PTSD.  He still has £16,000 of debt which he is struggling to repay, so our help was sought to help him fund the £90 needed to apply for a debt relief order, which he qualifies for.  His home will not be affected as a result of him applying for this, so we were happy to help him.

Tags : UniversalCredit Benefits Debts Cancer DebtReliefOrder

DWP Sanctions

We were approached about a man in his early 30s who is desperately struggling to keep his head above water financially.  He is in receipt of Universal Credit but has been sanctioned because he missed some appointments.  He has severe mental health problems, which get in the way of him keeping his appointments.  The property he is in is his first property in his own name, as he grew up in the care system, then was in supported housing of one kind or another.  In his property he nly has a table and a sofa to his name. He lives alone, has no family to support him and was recently attacked by a gang which has only heightened his anxieties.  He has rent arrears, debts and utiliity arrears too which our agents are going to help him try to get sorted out.  They discovered he has had no money for two weeks, so has been unable to purchase any food, so all he has been living on is a box of Weetos per week, allowing himself two handfulls a day.  Our agents sorted him out a food voucher, but asked for some money from us to help him.  His bank account was £38 overdrawn, so we sent across £100 to cover his overdraft and allow him enough money to buy some food which will hopefully last him until they can appeal his sanction and sort his benefits payments out.

Tags : DWP UniversalCredit Sanctions MentalHealthIssues CareSystem GrowingupinCare

A sad case needing our help

We were approached for help for a young man, 22 years old, who has recently taken over the tenancy of his Mum's house, following her death earlier this year.  This young man has been given a catalogue of incorrect advice, and by places that should know better, which has resulted in him not having the financial support he should have been receiving.  He has ended up in terrible debt, which is awful for someone so young.  He is also a single parent, having been granted custody by the courts of his young 2 year old son, with the mother not being allowed access at all to the child.  He has been receiving no financial assistance regarding his son, as he'd been advised to stop his income support claim and claim universal credit instead, which triggered a stop in his child tax credits payments.  They are trying to exist on £53 per week.  Our agents are helping him get all the correct benefits back in place, and they are assisting him too with the council as he's fallen behind with his bedroom tax payments, but in fact he should have been given 12 months grace following the death of his mother.  He has had an awful lot to deal with in the past 10 months.

We agreed to send across to him £150 for him and his son, so they are able to buy some food and essential items.  He'd had to borrow the money to buy a postage stamp so he could send off some evidence to the DWP for his universal credit claim.

Tags : SingleDad Benefits NoMoneyforFood UniversalCredit ChildTaxCredits Custodyofchild

Something as simple as a pair of shoes

A case we were approached about recently is very sad.  Our contact has been supporting this man for some time.  He has been living on the streets for a very long time, alcohol dependent, which many people are in that position, trying to blot out their feelings, so all they feel is numb.  He has been in hostels for a long time and has finally been offered a real place to live.  He is existing on the absolute basic level of Universal Credit, and has been coping with a sanction on his benefits for the past three months, as he was late for an appointment at the job centre.  This happens so easily, it just needs lack of a bus fare and having to walk all the way there, sometimes several miles, or the bus not turning up to make a person late.  Sadly the reasons why are often not considered and a sanction is slapped into place.  This leaves a person with absolutely no money at all to buy food.  So this man has been relying on foodbanks, and the people at the flats where he lives who have been sharing with him their own meagre supplies.  His support worker was going through his financial statement with him, based on his payments being back in place and she commented that things must be really hard for him trying to manage.  He explained that he didn't need much, but what he wanted to do would be to get out and walk more as it would help him cope and feel much better about himself, but he cannot afford to buy himself any shoes, nor see himself able to save up enough to buy any.  So she approached us to ask if we could help him.  We all agreed to help him, and sent over £50 to enable him to buy some decent trainers that would last him, and any left over he could use towards buying some food.

Tags : Sanctions JSA UniversalCredit Nomoneyforfood nomoneyforshoes alcoholdependency

Woman needs urgent help after bank closes account over fear of fraudulent activity by a third party

We were urgently contacted today, asking help for a lady who has had her bank account closed by her bank as they claim that there has been fraudulent activity on her bank acount by a third party.  She is on Universal Credit, and has been assisted in submitting a claim for DLA for her children, and PIP for herself.  Her doctor has issued her with a food voucher, so she can at least get some food for her and the children.  The agents when applying for PIP on her behalf, asked that she be assessed at home as she is extremely anxious, however this has been declined.  She has to attend an assessment centre tomorrow, and although they have agreed they can refund her costs in getting there, they won't do this for at least 14 days, so has no money to get to the centre.  We agreed to cover the money she needed to get there, so sent across £30, so if there is anything left over she can put that towards some food.

Tags : UniversalCredit BankFraud BankAccountClosed PIPAssessments TravelMoney

Panic move for family

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.

Tags : Benefits Eviction FamilyEvicted RemovalCosts NoMoney UniversalCredit

Man with chronic anxiety being constantly sanctioned

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.

Tags : Benefits NoMoney UniversalCredit JobSeekers EmploymentSupportAllowance Sanctions

Universal Credit Headache!

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.

Tags : Benefits UniversalCredit Nomoney nogas noelectric nofood

Debt Relief Order desperately needed

We were contacted about a single mum with two young children who had unfortunately got into debt when she was switched over to being paid by Universal Credit.  This young mum is deaf and suffers with anxiety, and the constant chasing from her creditors is only compounding the situation, making things far worse.

With the help and support of the agency, she is getting on top of her day to day bills, but she needs to apply for a debt relief order to sort this out.  However raising the £90 to apply was beyond her means, so we agreed to send across a cheque for the £90 to be sent along with the application for the DRO.  Hopefully she will be able to rebuild her life once the DRO is in place.

Tags : DebtReliefOrder DRO Debt UniversalCredit SingleMum YoungChildren Deaf Anxiety

Eviction successfully halted

We were made aware of a family, Mum, Dad, and four of their children, struggling to keep their heads above water and not lose their home.  They'd been given two weeks notice of eviction, and had to raise £650, which were the arrears on the rent, in order to prevent this from happening.  The mother is disabled and has been unable to claim employment support allowance previously as the husband has been working which wouldn't allow this.  Earlier last year the husband had surgery he had been waiting some time for on his back and was forced to go on to sickness benefits.  He retrained afterwards as a lorry driver and was all set to go back to work, but was thwarted in his attempts when he was knocked off his motorbike.  This meant he was back on sickness benefits again.  With the introduction of Universal Credit, it means that many people go weeks before any money actually arrives in their bank accounts, from which they need to pay their rent, so this only served to mean there were huge gaps in their payments.  Their attempts to claim for any financial help are made worse by the fact that their older sons are working jobs on minimum wage, so as non dependant adults, any housing benefit is seriously reduced.  This meant that the boys money was literally keeping the family afloat, paying for the rent, council tax, bills and food.  A fundraiser was put together to help the family, and £450 of the amount needed was raised that way, by donations offered by friends, family and complete strangers, that simply wanted to help.  The Biscuit Fund stepped in and offered £200 towards the final sum, as there is a 15 year old girl in the household currently studying for her GCSEs.  This literally saved the whole family being made homeless as well as their two elderly dogs and their cats.

Tags : Eviction Sicknessbenefits UniversalCredit Familieswithoutmoney GCSEs

Much needed relief from Debt!

We were approached via an agency about a man in his 30s who had been self employed but had had to give up work last year when his work began to dry up.  He somehow managed to exist by taking out loans to provide some money to live off, but they were now writing to him constantly, seeking repayments which he was unable to meet.  He was already suffering with anxiety and depression, and the constant worry of debt was only serving to escalate that.  He had been advised to arrange a debt relief order which the agency were helping him with but he was unable to push that forward without the £90 it costs to put a debt relief order in place, as the Universal Credit payments he receives do not allow enough money to do that.   We agreed we would send a cheque to cover this amount so that this man could then begin to focus on getting his life back on track and be well enough again to be able to return to work.

Tags : debt debtrelieforder UniversalCredit selfemployment benefits

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