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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

Very vunerable woman assisted

Our agent told us of a lady who had extreme mental health issues, she has had the Crisis Team put in touch with her but so far very little has happened to help her.  She was hearing voices telling her her very old and ailing fridge freezer was going to cause a fire while she slept.  This was only making her distress even worse, and she had already attemtped to take her own life twice already in an effort to stop the voices.  A friend had confirmed that the fridge freezer was very old, about to pack in and was making very strange noises.  So we agreed to purchase a new, very reasonably priced, under counter fridge freezer, which we had delivered directly to her.  Hopefully this will no reassure her somewhat, and ease some of her worries.

Tags : mentalhealth failingwhitegoods livingalone suicide

A ticket to ride!

Our agent told us today of a man she had come across as part of her work supporting the homeless in her hometown.  This man had driven up from another part of the country to try to find family.  He had ended up giving away his car, his laptop and all his clothes apart from those he stood up in, and had been living street homeless for the past two weeks.  He realised that he needed serious help with his mental health and asked for help.  So our agent secured him mental health intervention in his hometown, she just needed to get him home again.  This is where we come in, we agreed to pay the £20.60 for his train fare home and a small extra sum of money to purchase some food.  A volunteer agreed to travel with him to make sure he got back safely and was met by the crisis team at the other end.

Tags : homelessness outonthestreets nowayhome mentalhealth

Unfurnished accommodation

A young vulnerable woman with mental health issues had been offered much needed accommodation but it was unfurnished.  She didn't have a bed to sleep in or anything to cook any food in.  A sum of £300 was agreed and sent over to her to allow her to, with help, purchase the items she needed so desperately.

Tags : homelessness mentalhealth

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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