Mar 6, 2018
Our client, a single mother of two children has had her Universal Credit claim sanctioned for three months, because she did not attend a meeting at the Job Centre, which she says she was never notified of. She is in the process of appealing this decision, but like most things with the DWP, it takes ages to make any progress. In the meantime she has two sons, one 13, the other 16 that are depending on her for their needs. She has had some help from elsewhere from her local authority and her energy supplier for food, and gas and electric, but has now exhausted all that help. So we were contacted as a last resort for help. She won't receive any money from the DWP until the end of March when her sanction expires, so we agreed to send her £150 to tide her over until then.
Jan 31, 2018
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.
Oct 25, 2017
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.
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.
Oct 3, 2017
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.
Oct 2, 2017
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.
Aug 25, 2017
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.
Aug 3, 2017
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.
Jul 26, 2017
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.
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.
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.
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 11, 2017
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.
Feb 6, 2017
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.
Feb 5, 2017
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.