Apr 18, 2019
We were approached about a couple that are one year short of retirement. The lady works as a cleaner but has had to have three weeks off work as her arthritis has been so painful. She has only just received her Statutory Sickness Payments. They have a number of debts, and are subject to double bedroom tax as they have a three-bedroomed home. They are desperate to down-size but their rent arrears are too high to allow that to happen. They are trying to get to a position where they can address the arrears to allow a move to happen. Their Universal Credit claim won't update to reflect that the wife has only received SSP, instead of her usual wage until early May. They have been existing by using foodbank vouchers, as every penny they've received they've used to try to keep their home and fight off the threat of eviction and subsequent homelessness. They've now exhausted their entitlement to help from the foodbank and have no money for gas or electricity either until they get any benefits payments in early May. We agreed to send them £100 so they can buy some food and top up their energy meters.
Oct 8, 2018
A lady in her late 50's is at risk of losing her home because she is struggling to keep it clean and tidy. Several years ago she suffered a stroke which left her with intermittent weakness in one of her arms and her left-hand side. Her landlord is proposing to seek possession of her home because she is not taking care of it. They are though providing her with cleaning materials and a perching stool to help her. She is unable though to afford a vacuum cleaner, which would help her stay on top of the cleaning. We agreed to send her £80 so she can buy a lightweight machine that she will be able to use.
Jul 26, 2018
Our agents approached us about a young family, the mother is 27, has two small children and is expecting her third. Her partner is an asylum seeker and his case was rejected late last year and he is waiting for an appeal. In the meantime, their local authority have refused to pay housing benefit because he is currently living with them, as he is the father of the children, and has nowhere to go and cannot receive any financial assistance whatsoever. Tax Credits have now suspended her payments as they are aware that her partner is living with her, so the whole family are existing on £34.40 per week, to cover all their food, bills, etc. Her baby is due at the end of this year and she is unable to work as she has a bad back, so she is unable to get a job to help them out, and he cannot work as he doesn't have a National Insurance number. She has been issued with a notice of intention to seek possession by her landlord over rent arrears. They have been given food vouchers to help them out, but even these are now running out. We agreed to send them £125 to keep them in food at least, and it will hopefully allow enough time to get this mess resolved and get the housing benefit back into payment.
Jul 28, 2017
Our agent contacted us about a woman who frustrated with the lack of support in her area took it upon herself to fight her alcohol addiction. Doing this on her own meant that she missed an appointment with the Job Centre so they sanctioned her. This meant that her rent and council tax support also stopped being paid, the result of which is that she now faces eviction due to arrears of £320. As she was so ill due to the alcohol detoxing she was unable to seek support until now. Our agent has intervened on her behalf and sought assurance that if £200 could be raised would she be certain of being able to remain in her home. They will try to get some help with the rest from the council as it should have been possible for her to submit a nil income form to the council and have her rent and council tax covered, which would have prevented the arrears. We agreed to send over the money needed to allow her to keep her home. We didn't want to have her back out on the streets again, where it would be highly likely she'd be tempted by alcohol again, given how hard she has worked so far to get herself off it.
May 12, 2017
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.
May 10, 2017
We were contacted rather urgently about a 63 year old lady, who having worked hard all her life as a nurse, was now needing both her knees replaced, unable to work, and had totally been let down by the benefits system. The same system that is supposed to be there as a safety net to catch people as they fall. She has not been paid any benefits since December 2016 after failing her ESA, and has been relying on help from her young pregnant daughter. This lady is in arrears with her rent, facing court action over her home, not knowing she could have gone to the council and requested a nil income form to make sure her rent and council tax would be covered. A complaint about how this case has been handled has been lodged with the DWP and the agency that is now helping her, having taken her case at the end of March, is supporting her to submit a fresh claim to DWP for Employment Support Allowance on the grounds of a worsening condition. The agents confirmed that this lady had done everything they had requested of her to do and were confident with the right support this situation could be pulled around, but for now she was quite literally at breaking point.
We agreed as a group to send across £150 to the lady and a further £50 to her daughter. We also agreed an extra small amount to be held in abeyance just in case it is needed, if her ESA takes time to begin payments. She was extremely grateful for the help.
Dec 22, 2016
We were contacted about a single Mum with two teenaged disabled children. Her eldest son had failed to be awarded PIP when he transitioned from Disability Living Allowance, when he failed to attend a medical, which they claim they were not informed about. The knock on of this though is that the failure to have PIP in place has meant that the carers allowance his mum was receiving has been stopped. In an effort to help, the eldest son has tried to find some employment, but so far he has only been able to get some occasional work on zero hours contracts. Their local authority believes he is earning more than he is, so they are applying a very high non-dependant charge. If all this wasn't enough, her landlord has applied to have them evicted, and the lady's ex husband is now refusing to pay the child maintenance payments. So this family have been left in a huge mess. This lady had been hoping to somehow give her two children as normal a Christmas as possible, but now didn't even have enough money to buy food, in fact all she had was £14 to feed three people and put money on the gas and the electricity. We agreed a sum of £250, and sent that across. She told us she was crying as she was so amazed at the help she'd received.
Oct 27, 2016
A single man who had been hit badly by benefits cuts following the departure of his adult son from the household was in desperate need to some support. We became aware of this man's situation, and from the information we were able to get, he was in a dire situation and in desperate need to apply for a debt relief order in order to clear some of the debts he has, especially the high debts to do with his housing which will allow him to avoid eviction and homelessness. As he is only receiving job seekers allowance of £73.10 per week, it was impossible for him to meet his bills and buy some food, and then on top of that find the £90 necessary to apply to the Insolvency Service to have a debt relief order be processed. We considered that as this would mean this man could keep a roof over his head it was an easy decision to make.
Sep 7, 2016
We sent £100 to a woman who was at risk of losing her home that she shared with her son. A benefits team were helping her to sort things out with the court and getting her local authority to look at her housing benefit claim which had been incorrect for some time. It was agreed that a contribution towards what was outstanding with the debt on the housing would allow the benefit team breathing space to help the woman out and keep both her and her son being evicted and made homeless.
Sep 3, 2016
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.
Jul 28, 2016
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.