Blog

Domestic abuse survivor needs our help

We were approached for help with a single parent of a 12 year old.  The mother is a surivivor of domestic abuse.  She has had to flee 15 different properties in the past six years.  Her ex-partner finds her and the abuse starts again, the last time he injured her so badly she has been left with spinal injuries and mental health issues, due to the trauma of the attack.  This has left her unable to work and she has had to apply for benefits.  As she has to flee without any notice, there is no time to arrange removals of her furniture and belongings, so she keeps haviing to start over again.  She is in receipt of Employment Support Allowance and is in over £10,000 of debt and is in need of the £90 required to enable a Debt Relief Order to be put in place.  We agreed to raise a cheque for that amount and send it to our agents so that they can begin the process on her behalf.

Tags : domesticabuse singleparent esa disabilities mentalhealth benefits

18 year old woman left without money after leaving the care system

We have worked with these agents before, and this time they brought to us a case where a young woman, 18 years old, who has just left the care system, has found herself without any money to survive on at all, not for food, anything.  She put in an application for Employment Support Allowance and Personal Independence Payment, but has been told that the Department for Work and Pensions have lost her forms, and therefore she has to wait until they can be found and dealt with.  She is a vulnerable person who has been left in a dreadful mess through no fault of her own.  We agreed that we could send across £100, and our agents will help her manage the money, so she has enough to last her.  We also advised our agents to apply to her local council for a welfare payment, which they are going to do.  Unfortunately though, applications like these take a long time to be processed, the money agreed to, and released.  This was an emergency situation and she needed help there and then, she could not wait.  We were glad to be able to help her out.

Tags : benefits DWP caresystem lostforms ESA PIP nomoney emergency

Young woman gets her own first home

A homeless support centre contacted us to ask for help for a young woman they are helping.  She has finally been offered accommodation, having been homeless.  Although she is signing for the keys, she has no belongings, and certainly not any furniture.  The charity had put a call out for used items that could be gifted to help her, such as a fridge, etc.  We agreed between us we would pay £75 to the charity, for them to use on her behalf to pay for some second hand items she still needs but isn't gifted.

Tags : homelessness homelessfemale benefits nomoney nofurniture

Young man left in the cold

Our agents contacted us about a young man in his twenties.  He has been having difficulties with claiming Universal Credit which has left him £1,000 in arrears.  He is due in court later this month to deal with this.  To try to save up so he can clear some of the arrears, he has been managing without using any of his gas throughout the summer months.  This though has left him with a service charge debt, resulting in his gas being capped.  As it is now getting quite cold he is struggling without any heating, but they won't remove the cap without him clearing the debt of £65, which we agreed to pay on his behalf.

Tags : Universalcredit debts energycosts gas energycapped rentarrears benefits

Stroke victim struggling to cope

Our client on this occasion is a man in his 60s.  He had a stroke not so long back which has left him with some brain damage.  This means he has to lie on the couch for hours at a time, as whenever he tries to get up he is left feeling dizzy and nauseous.  He has separated from his partner, following her abuse of alcohol, and Social Services have placed their young daughter in his custody, away from the mother.  The gentleman has someone who comes in every day and prepares and cooks a main meal for him, but not for the daughter.  This service is currently supplied to him free of charge, but he is very concerned they will soon begin to charge him.

He receives only ESA, and all the money for that goes on purchasing food for him and his daughter.  His ex partner is still claiming the child benefit and child tax credits, and he is trying, with the support of our the courts, to get that switched over to him instead.  He struggles to pay any of his bills, and to add insult to injury his local authority are charging him bedroom tax, as he is in a two bedroom property, and they won't stop the demand until they are satisfied the child benefit is paid to him.  He is in arrears over this to the sum of £150, receiving letters from his landlord, which is increasing his anxiety, leaving him very weepy and distraught.  He is in the process of applying for PIP, but has to wait for a home assessment as he is too unwell to attend a centre.

We agreed to cover the £150 arrears, plus an extra £50 so that they could do some shopping.  It is likely once the council are satisfied that his daughter does live with him, that they will drop the demand for the councl tax and refund to him any monies he has already paid.

Tags : stroke singleparent alcoholism socialservices benefits bedroomtax esa pip assessments

Disabled lady needs help dealing with debts

We were asked to help a disabled lady, in receipt of Employment Support and Disability Living Allowances.  She is in so much debt and will be highly unlikely in the future, given her situation, to be able to repay these.  So our Agent are hoping to help her apply for a Debt Relief Order, so get the debt written off.  What is holding her back though is that she is unable to save the £90 fee to be able to apply for a DRO.  They asked us if we would consider sending a cheque on her behalf so that she could move forward with this in her life, and remove this huge burden for her.  We were happy to do this, and a cheque was sent out.  Hopefully, she will soon be able to have some relief from all this stress in her life.

Tags : benefits dla esa debt debtrelieforder disability

Man with mental health issues loses his benefits

We were asked to help a man that our agents had been told about by a service that operates out of the same centre as them.  This gentleman has serious mental health issues, his benefit has stopped being paid and he is completely without food or any way of heating where he lives.  This also means no hot water, and no way of cooking any food should he be given any from a food bank.  It transpires that the DWP state they sent him a letter inviting him to attend an assessment, however as frequently seems to be happening, lots of people aren't receiving these letters.  This man needs help to contact the DWP and get his payments reinstated, as he is unable to do this himself.  We agreed to send him £70 to allow him to top up his energy meters and buy some food.

Tags : benefits mentalhealth assessments DWP nofood nogasorelectric

Daughter needs a bed

A couple, both with learning difficulties and health conditions, were offered a bank overdraft, but they didn't understand quite what an overdraft was, and spent money, believing it was theirs, only to find it wasn't and they were now in a lot of debt.  They have been working with our agents to find a way out of debt, and remain in touch to stay out of debt.  Our agents told us that the couple's daughter, who also has learning difficulties, desperately needs a single bed.  The couple are not in the position to be able to purchase one for her, and are afraid of getting into debt again, plus they are struggling now their child tax credit and child benefits payments have stopped.  We agreed we would send across £100 as a contribution towards a bed for her.

Tags : learningdifficulties benefits debt overdrafts bed

Woman left without food or money

Our case is a young lady in need.  Due to problems with bureauracy she has been left without any money or food.  Our agents tried to secure her a food voucher by there was still red tape to navigate, which meant obtaining a food voucher was not possilbe.  Our agents were extremely concerned for their client's welfare and asked if we could help out in the short term.  We agreed to send across £50 so that she could purchase some food at least.

Tags : benefits redtape nofood nomoney

Food bank dilemma

One of our Biscuits (a fond term we use for each of our Biscuit Fund members) noticed in her local paper that a food bank was struggling to deal with the increasing demands on their services, with more and more people coming to them for help.  They are a small food bank that operates within their local area without any bigger support from elsewhere.  We agreed between us that we would set aside £100 to purchase some non-perishable food items.  Our Biscuit organised for some shopping to be done, tinned tomatoes, potatoes, rice pudding, jars of spaghetti sauce, pasta, rice, jams, tea, coffee, as well as toiletries, such as shampoo, toilet roll, deodorant, shaving foam, shower gel, nappies and baby wipes.  The items were delivered to the food bank in question.  Needless to say the shopping was gratefully received.

Tags : foodbanks shopping food benefits foodparcels goinghungry

Lady in dire situation needs our help

This case is a complicated one.  The lady that needed our help was born and lived abroad for some years.  She has suffered all her life with mental health issues and psychosis (her sister suffers the same and has been institutionalised all her life, which causes our client to feel anxious about revealing how bad her suffering is in case she ends up being institutionalised too.)  When she was 40 her job ended, leaving her without income and a worsening mental health situation, so she moved to live with her son in Spain.  She was there for 8 years, doing the occasional part time cleaning work.  She met her partner there and moved with him to the UK, where she has lived ever since.  Sadly her partner died, and because they were not married, she is having issues with claiming any benefits in her own right.  She is still living in the family home, but there is a battle to get housing benefit awarded as the local authority keep saying no.  Her son is trying to keep her going, by sending her small amounts of money when he can, but he has a family of his own to support.  Our agents are helping her to fight this situation and they are also helping her register with agencies in the area, in the hopes she can secure some part time work, to help her situation.  We agreed to send her £70 to allow her to buy some food and put some credit on to the energy meters.

Tags : benefits nomoney strugglingtoclaimbenefits deathofapartner mentalhealth

Looking for a connection

We had an easy case yesterday.  Our agents contacted us about a lady who lives in their area that they are helping.  She is taking care of seven children, and her husband is unable to work due to ill health.  Her oven broke down last week, leaving her unable to prepare meals for the family.  Our agents have managed to source her an oven via Freecycle, but they needed to be able to pay for it to be properly installed.  We agreed to cover that cost of £50.

Tags : Family oven brokenoven benefits

Help needed to apply for debt relief order

We didn't have a great deal of information about this next case, other than that which our agent gave us.  She is a lady living alone, dealing with severe mental health issues, including bipolar disorder, and multiple personality disorders.  She is in debt, and the debt is causing her anxiety to escalate, but she is caught in a situation where she is unable to save enough to have the £90 available to pay for a debt relief order.  Our agents asked if we would consider paying this on her behalf, which we agreed to.  They assured us that they will help her with applying for this and will support her going forward.

Tags : DRO debtrelieforder debts benefits mentalhealth

Single mum with fourth child on the way needs help

Our client with this case is a young mum, who is expecting her fourth child.  She and the children had come to our agents, homeless and in need of help.  She has with their support been offered a place for her and the children to live, but she needed a weeks rent in advance to be able to go ahead with the hosuing association accommodation.  Our agents are supporting her with her benefits claim, and as part of that they asked us to help her out with one weeks rent which came to the sum of £166.01, which we arranged payment of.  This was an urgent case as if she didn't move fast with this, then she would loose the opportunity for her and her children to have a more secure life.

Tags : SingleMum children homelessmumandchildren benefits rent rentdeposit

Woman's son dies while on holiday

We were approached on behalf of a lady whose son died while he was away on holiday.  She was his carer and claimed carers allowance, as well as income support.  After her son died, her claim to carers allowance stopped, and so of course did her income support top up.  She has been assisted to make a claim for Employment Support Allowance in her own right, as she herself is now not well enough to work.  She will not receive any payment for this until early October, so a request was made for some funds to allow her to purchase some food and put some energy on to her meters.  We agreed to send across £50 to tide her over until her ESA payments kick in.

Tags : benefits death carersallowance incomesupport

Yet another single young man needing help

This is the hardest group for agencies to source funding for, they are so far down the chain of needing help, with almost everyone coming before them.  He had recently been housed, after a long time waiting, and temporaily houses in a hostel.  We were asked to help them with purchasing some white goods, and they had a list of things they needed, as where he'd been moved to there was nothing there at all.  We all agreed that we would send across £100 so that this young man with the help of his support worker, could try to source second hand items in the area that he lives so that he could get more for his money, plus it keeps things that are already in circulation out of landfill, so everyone wins. 

Tags : homelessness hostels benefits nomoneyforfurniture DWP

Single Mum with one year old in a Universal Credit pickle

Our person in need of help is a young single mum, with a one year old son.  She has recently been moved out of emergency accommodation and into a temporary home.  She has been dealing with the benefits system, claiming Universal Credit.  There have been repeated problems with her claim, when some of the money has been missing, or her payments stopped due to a misunderstanding over her rent.  She has had to resubmit her claim and will yet again have to wait to be paid, having to wait another 4-5 weeks.  Being in temporary accommodation she is under enormous pressure to make sure that her bills are met, in order for her to move successfully on in the future.  We agreed to send over £150 to keep her going over the next few weeks until her payments restart.  In the meantime, our agents that are helping her, and who approached us, are helping her with a nil income form for her rent and council tax.

Tags : YoungMum 1yearold homeless benefits universalcredit emergencyaccommodation temporaryaccommodation

Homeless lady, finally housed

Our client is a lady who has been street homeless.  Like so many people in this situation, they have nothing to put into their home, and most are not furnished or have white goods in them.  The local councils are not always able to help.  Initially we had offered to send across enough money to purchase a tiny table top oven, which includes a hot plate, but they are not allowed to have hot plates in their accommodation.  In the end we agreed the sum of £100 so that she could hopefully purchase items second hand to help them set themselves up.

Tags : homelessness housed nowhitegoods nomoney benefits

Single Mum battling debt and incompetence

We were approached about a single mum who has divorced her abusive husband.  She has been left with debts that relate back to the marriage, some of the debts not even hers.  Her ex husband has deliberately arranged things with his work so that he looks on paper as if he is not earning enough to pay child maintenance.  She was receiving tax credits, but then a malicious report was made to tax credits about her, and so they stopped her tax credits payments.  This was unexpected and she needed to have money for food, so borrowed on one of these payday loans, which she is now struggling to repay, especially as tax credits haven't as yet reinstated her payments.

We agreed to send across £150 to allow her to be able to buy food for herself and her children, and this money will hopefully tide her over until her payments restart.  We advised that she should investigate looking into a debt relief order, so that she could be free of the debt.

Tags : benefits divorce childmaintenance nomoney nofood DRO

Homeless man finally gets a place to live

We were contacted about a man who had been street homeless, he'd not long since been released from hospital and then had no clothes at all to wear on his discharge from hospital.  He has been offered a caravan to live in, which will get him off the streets, which is wonderful.  However, he does not have enough money to get a gas cannister to provide heat and energy to the van, so that he can cook.  We agreed to send across £36 which would be enough to provide a filled container of gas, the deposit being overlooked by the company supplying it as they know our contact well.

Tags : Homelessness homelessmale nohousing nomoney benefits caravan gascannisters

Help for young mum following the sudden unexpected death of her husband

We were approached for help for a young mum with a 5 year old daughter.  The woman's husband had gone overseas briefly with friends as part of a celebration, but had suffered a heart attack and died.  The woman has no access to money as she works part time and the work is casual, so being off work means she is not paid anything.  She is of course trying to emotionally support herself and her daughter, and keep themselves together at such a distressful time.  She has the added worry of arranging for her husband's body to be brought back to the UK.  He did not have life insurance, but did have travel insurance, so hopefully transportation will be covered as part of that.

Our agents are going to help her access a funeral grant, and apply for benefits, but she is of course in a highly distressed state at the moment.  They asked for financial assistance to help her until the benefits can be sorted out, so we agreed to send across £200 to assist them both.

 

Tags : Suddendeath heartattack youngmandiessuddenly dyingabroad benefits nowork nomoney

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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