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Case studies

Case study - Mary

Mary called us to ask for a food voucher.

One our volunteer advisers, Sam, found out that she was laid off work several months ago and had been surviving on her savings until they ran out. He also established that Mary was beginning to build up debts.

Sam issued Mary with a food voucher for the local foodbank and carried out a benefit check. Mary is entitled to several benefits whilst unemployed, such as Universal Credit and Council Tax Support, and gave Mary guidance on how to apply.

Sam also helped Mary collect together information on her debts and referred her to one of our debt specialists, Jess, for advice on her debt options. Mary was given information on how to negotiate token payments with her creditors whilst she was looking for work.

Case study - Arnold

Arnold was struggling to make ends meet. He had always managed before. His friends had told him to claim benefits but he had no idea how.

Julie, a volunteer adviser, helped Arnold and found out that his service charges had in-creased that this, together with the cost of living and energy crisis meant that he was strug-gling to pay. Julie carried out a benefit check and established that Arnold was entitled to Pension Credit, a means-tested benefit for people of retirement age. This would passport him to receiving Council Tax Support from the Local Authority which will reduce his Council Tax payments.

Julie assisted Arnold in completing the application forms, and supported Arnold with regular foodbank vouchers whilst he was waiting for his benefit to come through to help him with budgeting.

Case study - Jane

Jane, a single mother of 2 disabled children came to see us as her eldest son’s disability benefit was up for review and she had limited literacy skills.

When we explored her situation in more detail it became apparent that she was struggling with her finances. She was only able to work part time due to caring responsibilities and was also having to fork out for after school care on the days that she does work. Jane’s situation was made even worse as she had taken a lot of time off from her part time job due to the support needs of her 2 children. This caused problems at the job centre as she has not been able to keep up with the work requirements that are part of her Universal Credit (UC) claimant commitment. She has some difficulties with reading and writing and initially came to us as her eldest son’s disability benefit had come up for review.

Firstly, we checked her benefit entitlement, and it became apparent that she was not in receipt of the Carer Element of UC, Local Council Tax Support or the 25% single person discount. We helped her to put in a request to get the Carer Element backdated, and this resulted in a successful outcome of over £4k in backdated benefits, plus an ongoing monthly addition of £185.86 to her UC award. This also meant that she no longer had extra work search requirements on her claimant commitment. Jane was also not aware that she could claim back up to 85% of her childcare fees because she is on UC, with this being worth up to £1,630.15 per month.

We then helped her to claim the Council Tax single person’s discount and Local Council Tax Support, saving Jane over £500 a year. We also helped her to complete her eldest son’s disability benefit review, and they are currently waiting for the result.

Case study - David

David came to our service as he was struggling with debt and wanted to know if he was entitled to any other benefits after stopping work in January due to health conditions and having Universal Credit as his only source of income. He is living alone in a social housing rental property after a recent relationship breakdown with his wife.

The Housing Element of UC covered his rent; however, he had got into rent arrears due to delays claiming and receiving benefits when his health caused him to stop working, and his landlord was threatening him with eviction. He also had water and Council Tax debts and was beginning to find the situation overwhelming.

Throughout this time David had been struggling to keep up with his appointments with us due to his health problems. We eventually managed to successfully help him claim Personal Independence Payment and he was awarded the enhanced rate of both components, resulting in an annual award of almost £9000. On top of this, we helped him to successfully claim the Limited Capability for Work Related Activity element of UC which amounts to a further £4,680 per year.

We also worked out that David had not been paid the correct amount by his former employer when he was given notice after a 5-month period off sick. This resulted in a payment of over £440.

Alongside, David was receiving demands from bailiffs and a repossession order of his home. We were successfully able to help suspend the possession order, and agree repayment plans with his landlords, and for water and council tax debts.

David is now in a position where his financial circumstances are settled at a level he can afford and he is secure in his home.