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.