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Homeless female in need of help and support to stay dry

The female we were approached for help has been street homeless for quite some time.  She has issues around alcohol and has been struggling to stay dry.  She'd been living in temporary accommodation, but there are rules that your arrears are not allowed to exceed a set limit, so this meant she was at threat of being put back out on to the streets and would lose her support.  Our agents had stepped in and found that lack of support had caused this lady to get into the arrears that she had.  Closer support has been arranged and it was agreed she would pay her charges weekly as she should have been doing.  Hopefully removing this pressure from her will help her to stay dry as the financial pressures and feeling out of control was driving her back to drink again, creating a spiral of self destruction.  We as a fund agreed we would send across enough money to clear almost half of the arrears and she would be supported to repay what was left with some budgeting assistance.  Hopefully with better support in place she will be able to get her life back on track.

Tags : homelessness homelessfemale arrears benefits alcoholism

Lady in desperate situation following her brother's suicide

We were urgently approached about a lady who was under threat of losing her home.  She was employed in a very low income job, but following her brother's suicide she had been unable to work.  Her doctor has signed her off work for the time being, and she had put a claim in for sickness benefit, but was waiting for that to be actioned.  In the meantime her landlord was pushing to repossess her home.  We agreed to send across £250 directly to the landlord which was an agreed amount that would prevent things being taken further.  Hopefully her claim for housing benefit will be in place soon and with the arrears caught up it will allow her a chance to try to recover from what has happened.

Tags : eviction benefits housingbenefit suicide lowincomejobs zerohourcontracts

Lady with physical and mental health problems loses ESA claim

Our agents contacted us about a lady in her 50s, with various physical health conditions, including alopecia, depression, anxiety, diabetes and arthritis, and self harms as well.  She had lost her ESA claim.  She'd been instructed by the DWP  to attend an assessment, but her agoraphobia had prevented her being able to leave her home and attend the assessment.  The DWP registered her as a "no show" and immediately stopped her award without referring back to her.  Our agents are helping her with this, but being agoraphobic means she is unable to sign on for Job Seekers either, and her nerves have meant she has picked her skin raw, which has become infected, so they are trying to appeal the ESA decision on her behalf.

They wanted to know if we could help her, but spread any help we offered over a period of time, to allow her enough to buy food and put some money on her energy meters.  We have agreed £150 of help, sent across at £30 a week for five weeks only.  This is not something we normally do, but this was a case where the agency have specifically asked for this type of support.

Tags : ESAfailure nomoney benefits selfharm mentalhealth agoraphobia

Young couple expecting a baby needing urgent help

We were approached about a young couple, she had lived her life in care, he had been brought up by his grandparents, they'd discovered she was pregnant and expecting their baby in the summer.  He is working but on a zero hour contract, which is quite literally that sometimes.  They are struggling to get anywhere with benefits and it was agreed they would be steered in the direction of working tax credits, although that is a minefield where zero hours contracts are concerned.  She is not far enough along with the pregnancy yet to claim maternity benefits, but hopefully will be in a few weeks time.

A friend to the couple has been asking for donated baby clothes from whoever she thinks might have some to offer, and she has been able to source some nappies and also a crib, which she is buying for them second hand.  They are literally choosing between paying their bills and eating, relying on foodbanks when they can.  We agreed to send across £250 which they are going to use to do a big food shop and buy a pram for the baby when it arrives.  Also as this is their first child they will be able to apply for a maternity grant to help with some purchases, and child tax credits and child benefit once the baby is born.

Tags : pregnant newbaby benefits heatingoreating zerohourscontracts

A home of his own

We had a man referred to us that had been provided with his own accommodation.  His council had very generously helped him with certain items of furniture, but he had no way to keep his clothes and bedding clean, and with serious eyesight issues, taking them to a laundrette was not an option.  A very reasonably priced washing machine was found for him, purchased on his behalf and will be delivered to him this Friday.  He is extremely grateful for the help.

Tags : homelessness housedatlast washingmachine benefits

No clothes, no shoes!

A homeless charity were supporting a young girl who had no spare clothing, nor spare shoes.  They desperately needed size 6 clothes and size 4 shoes.  We got in touch with them to see if we could help, who responded by saying they'd had some clothes and shoes donated to give to her.  They had secured accommodation for her, donated plenty of food and assisted with applying for benefits.  They asked if we could possibly send a small amount of money instead to tider her over until her first benefit payment could be made.  So we sent £50 today for them to pass on to her.

Tags : homeless nofood noclothes nofood teenagers homelessteenagers benefits

Washday blues

This lady we helped had been taken advantage of by her violent and controlling ex husband when he encouraged her to claim for some benefits she was not entitled to.  The DWP caught up with her and she was interviewed under caution where she admitted what had happened but that she had no idea she was not entitled.  She trusted her husband to have made the correct claim.  He promptly disappeared as soon as the money dried up.  She has spent the past 8 years repaying this money each week from her benefits.  Our agents have arranged with the DWP to lower the weekly repayments as she was only being left with £18.50 per week once the DWP repayments are made and she has covered her bills.  This lady suffers with Chron's disease which means that she needs to follow a special diet which she struggles to afford.  She also needs to wash her bedding and clothes frequently, as when she becomes stressed she soils these.  Her washing machine, that she relied on, had broken beyond repair and she was unable to afford to use the launderette.  Our agents had tried many places to secure a grant to purchase a new machine.  We agreed to send her £250 so that a new machine could be purchased, delivered and installed for her.

Tags : Chron'sDisease washingmachines benefits

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

Fridge Fiasco!

We were made aware of a man who volunteers in his local area with an organisation that helps the less fortunate.  He'd discovered  his fridge had blown and all his food had gone off.  It was a second hand fridge anyhow that had been given to him by a friend, and had lasted well.   He'd been offered a replacement fridge, which the organisation he volunteers for was going to arrange to get PAT tested for him, but he had no money to buy any food until his benefits payments were due to be paid next Tuesday.  We agreed to send across a sum of £30 so that he could replace the food he'd lost and refill his fridge.

Tags : brokenfridge benefits nofood

Ex-Dinner lady needs foodbanks

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.

Tags : benefits familieswithoutfood lowincomefamilies.ESA PIP

Family Sanctioned and Left without Food

A young mum with a six year old daughter has been left without any money for gas, electric or food because her Job Seekers Allowance has been sanctioned for 3 years!  She still has a way to go yet on this sanction and the agents we are dealing with on this case are looking into helping her to get the sanction overturned.   She has no family around her and has borrowed as much as she has been able to to survive from her friends and neighbours which has now made day to day living difficult as she is unable to pay them back.  She has sold most of hers and her daughter's belonging to try to make ends meet.

When our agents met with this lady she was inconsolable.  Her concern is with her daughter, who has only one pair of shoes to her name, a coat that is way too small, no fresh food to feed her.  Although she has been able to get some food via a voucher for her local foodbank, much of the food she is given is not suitable for a young and growing child.

A decision by her local authority as to whether they are able to help her has to go to a decision maker, which is fine but it all takes time and while this decision is being reached, people are literally starving and freezing in the cold.  We agreed because of how urgent this case was to send across £200, this was to provide money for gas and electric, and much needed food .  

Two of our members were particularly affected by this story and one sent vouchers for £30 to buy a Christmas present for the little girl, and another member sent vouchers for £100 to buy some clothing for her.  

Tags : familieswithoutfood youngmums vulnerablechildren benefits

Tax Credits Overpayments

We were contacted with an urgent case.  A single mum with a child had been overpaid on tax credits and HMRC were collecting the overpayment from her child tax credits, which left her with no more than £20 per week for her and her daughter to live off.  She had secured herself a new job, but found out that Tax Credits won't award working tax credit until she has supplied wage slips, but her new employer won't be doing that until some time in December.  It was agreed that we send her £150 to be able to top up her gas and electric meters, buy some food and have some money for bus fares to get back and forth to work.  Hopefully that money and the voucher for food sent to her from another organisation will keep her ticking over until her first salary is paid.

Tags : familieswithoutfood youngmums vulnerablechildren benefits

A response from one of our clients to share

We recently had some feedback from a client following a recent grant that was sent across to help her and her young family.  We do get lots of feedback but mostly it is a 'thank you so much' or 'this has made so much difference', maybe a 'this has made me cry that people want to help', or only yesterday someone said 'no one has helped me this way before'.  Many people are embarrassed that they have needed the help and as you know no one is allowed to directly approach us for help, which allows us to be fairly certain that whom we help are in genuine need.

Every so often though you get one person who writes back just how they feel and this came through to us yesterday and we would like to share her words with you.

'just an update on the grant made recently to the woman near XXXX.

I just wanted to let you and the people who donated the money know that the last couple of weeks has been great for my family after receiving the donation. My children have eaten proper, nutritious meals for the first time in weeks as I have been able to do a proper shop. My son has started an new school this week and the money has enabled me to buy the uniform that he needed.

I have been able to make all of my medical appointments as we have also been able to put fuel in the car.
I can not express our gratitude enough. Your kindness and selflessness has really made a difference in our lives.

Other things are being sorted out too.'

From all of us here at The Biscuit Fund, from the bottom of our hearts we thank you.  Your donations help us so much to help those in such desperate situations.  So thank you once again for your help, and please share this post to get the word out there if you can. :-)

Tags : familieswithoutfood youngmums vulnerablechildren benefits

Terrifying Tax Credits Decision!

We came across a young mum, with two small children, one 18 months old and one 17 weeks old.  For some completely unknown reason, the Tax Credits Office were convinced these two very young children had moved out of the house and so therefore she was no longer entitled to her tax credits claim.  She found out on the Friday morning as she was preparing for her weekly food to be delivered as usual from her local store.  This meant no food and no money to go on the gas and electricity meters.  

After some practical support in terms of getting the Tax Credits office to understand that they had got it wrong and potentially left two very young children in a very vulnerable situation they agreed to send across a sum of money until things could be properly resolved.  We agreed, that we would still send across the money they had planned to send before Tax Credits pulled their finger out and got things partially sorted.  So £100 was sent across which she was incredibly grateful for.

Tags : taxcredits familieswithoutfood youngmums vulnerablechildren benefits

Complications of going from employed to sick and disabled

We were made aware of a young woman, separated from her partner with the children spread between them at different addresses.  She'd told tax credits she had had to stop working due to ill health, and was also struggling to get housing benefit in place, as well as her Employment Support Allowance payments, as they were waiting on her P45.  

The changeover from being employed to relying on benefits can result in days or weeks of waiting for payments to begin, but how is a person supposed to manage to survive in the meantime?  On top of dealing with a possible eviction, the child living with her was due to start back at school and needed some new uniform items, on top of needing money for food and utilities.  Fortunately we were able to help and an amount of £200 was agreed between the Biscuit Fund members and sent off to her.  She was extremely grateful for the help and to know that her son would be able to go into school dressed in the correct uniform.  She would eek out the rest and see if possible to use some of it towards the arrears on her rent.

Tags : eviction benefits schooluniform changeoverofbenefits

ESA Claim Complications

A man in his 40s had been encouraged by his local job centre and social worker to move from claiming Job Seekers allowance, to claiming Employment Support Allowance (ESA).  The problem though was that this meant he fell through the gaps of the benefits payments and his money suddenly without warning stopped.  Living alone, with mental health issues, and unable to adequately access help, he turned to his mother for help.  Seeing her distress call, we stepped in, gave some advice as to how to proceed and arranged for a food shop to be delivered to his home so at least he had some food in the house.  Hopefully, his ESA payments will begin soon and he will be receiving some money again.

Tags : benefits employmentsupportallowance jobseekersallowance nofood

Preventing a proposed eviction

We were contacted about a mother in receipt of employment support allowance, who with the support of an agency had been provided with a paper bond for a place to live, but the bond was only good for six months.  Now that the six months were up, her landlord was pushing for the deposit to be paid, otherwise he stated he would have no choice but to begin eviction proceedings.  We confirmed via the agency that if The Biscuit Fund offered to pay £250 towards the deposit, that the landlord would be prepared to accept the remainder of the payments over a longer period of time to allow the mother to be able to pay this.

Tags : eviction homelessness benefits

Heavily pregnant mother struggling to make ends meet!

We were made aware of a young mum, 34 weeks pregnant and still working part time to bring some money into the household.  Her partner stays at home to look after their disabled son.  They were behind with their bills despite her doing all she could.  She was aware that their second child was due very soon and she had nothing prepared for their arrival and was worried out of her mind about their bills and how they would cope.  They were offered help with an application for Disability Living Allowance for the child, and referred for help with budgeting.  We sent over a sum of £150 for her to get some food and some items in place ready for the new baby.

Tags : benefits housing food

Homelessness, again!

A gentleman with mental health issues had become estranged from his partner and their young son and had ended up in temporary accommodation.  As he was considered vulnerable, he was found permanent accommodation but without any income and no means to raise the £100 they needed as rent in advance he was stumped.  Fortunately we were made aware of his situation and were able to send over the money so that he could be assured of somewhere safe to live.

Tags : homelessness benefits

Young homeless family on the move!

A young woman, her partner and their very young son had been homeless and in temporary accommodation for some time.  Finally they had been offered permanent suitable accommodation but they didn't have any money to move their belongings to their new address, so an amound was agreed and passed on for them to be able to get some help with a van so they could move to their new home.  Her Personal Independence Payment application had been refused, so she was guided towards help so she could reapply.

Tags : homelessness benefits

Young, very ill mum of 3 refused ESA

A young mum of three, barely able to look after herself was found fit for work and therefore unable to claim Employment Support Allowance.  This of course meant she had no money until a fresh application could be put in to the DWP and due to rule changes, a new application where a previous one had existed meant this mum to be successful had to have got significantly worse, or have a new illness with which she could claim.  She was being supported with her fresh claim, but obviously desperately needed money for food for her and her three children.  So we sent over some money to help her through this until her new benefits payments could be made.

Tags : benefits toosicktowork youngfamilieswithoutfood

From pillar to post!

A gentleman who was quite unwell was being moved on from the hostel accommodation he has been in as he had hit the maximum stay he was permitted.  Some supported accommodation was available for him as he was so unwell and considered a priority case.  It became obvious though that he had no food, no toiletries as there had been a gap in his benefits.  We sent him £50 to cover him between his benefits payments so he could get food and essentials.

Tags : homelessness benefits

Back to the wall!

We have been very busy and have a lot of cases to catch up on and don't always get time to blog what we've been up to.  So lots of catching up posts tonight while we have some time.

We had been alerted to a gentleman that was literally without food, gas or electricity.  There was an issue with his benefits claim which had had a knock on effect on his housing benefit and council tax assistance and was in certain danger of being evicted.

We were able to guide him to help with his benefits and sorted out a delivery of shopping to be sent to him so we knew he had food, as well as some money to put on his meters for gas and electricity.  He updated us shortly after to say that following the advice his benefit claim had been sorted and put in place.

Tags : benefits housing food

Baby on the way!

A couple came to our attention.  He had been working on building sites and as it was approaching Christmas, the work began to dry up and he found himself without the likelihood of any further work until the following February.  He had signed on for job seekers, but they wouldn't be receiving any benefits for another two weeks.  Recently married, his wife was expecting their baby and it was essential she ate regularly, so we made a small donation to make sure they could buy nourishing food until their benefits kicked in.

Tags : benefits baby

Rays of Sunshine, Part 7

Gosh, it’s been a while since we wrote one of these! While we’ve not been writing, though, we’ve not been idle.
Here is a story from each month this year so far that touched our hearts.

10th January

Mrs W’s son had his JSA sanctioned – because he had just been diagnosed with cancer and missed an appointment, despite calling them beforehand to explain that he couldn’t attend. Sadly his cancer spread and, on advising the job centre that he was now receiving intensive chemotherapy, they took him off JSA and said he wasn’t entitled to anything else, leaving him with nothing for over a month – over Christmas, no less. He was later helped to fill in an ESA claim, which was still pending when we found his mum. We gave him £120 to tide him over until his income was reinstated, as well as offering our usual practical support.

18th February

Ms S, a disabled lady on basic benefits who was very good at budgeting them, fell foul of an internet scam, which took funds from her bank account without permission (we asked for more details, and this was something any one of us could have been taken in by). The bank were looking into it, with a view to refunding her in time, but her bills were about to go out by direct debit the next day, leaving her overdrawn with bank charges on top if that happened. She had already gotten excellent advice on fraud and contacting the bank from friends, so we sent her £100 to cover the shortfall in her bank, with a little extra to show that not everyone on the internet is a bad egg.

20th March

D was sanctioned for not doing enough on his work search. He was actually doing more than the law requires. His girlfriend W suffered the same fate the following month. Because they didn’t know about the nil declaration for Housing Benefit (and no-one at the Job Centre bothered to tell them) they fell into £1500 rent arrears with the threat of court. W was terrified of court and brought to tears by the thought of it. One of our agents assisted with the Nil income housing benefit claim, which cleared most of the rent arrears. We gave them a gift to clear the rest in full.

29th April

Mr J, a disabled man with a young child, was found fit for work. His ESA was stopped, leaving him and his son with only £20 a week to live on. We sent him £100 so he and his son could be well fed for a few weeks. Another good job jobbed.

1st May

Ms D was very concerned that her son, who has mental health problems and physical disabilities, would join the ever growing list of suicides linked to welfare reform. His ESA was stopped for over a month and a reconsideration turned him down, saying his conditions did not qualify, even though he was often unable to care for himself and suffered from hallucinations and delusions. We put him in touch with practical help, and gave a gift of £200 to assist with a backlog of bills and rent that were stacking up, giving him some space to get the help he needs, and his mum some peace of mind.

 

Tags : ESA fraud JSA housingbenefit sanctions welfare welfarereform mentalhealth disability benefits

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