Helen* is suffering from a rare and painful long-term disease; her mobility is severely affected.
With no family living locally, Helen’s husband is her main carer but he also works full time. After Helen’s disability was re-assessed, her benefits were downgraded and she was no longer eligible for any help with her mobility.
Our benefits adviser helped Helen to appeal the decision made by the Department of Work and Pensions. Helen needed to complete the Notice of Appeal and ‘How your disability affects you’ form and gather relevant evidence from her clinical specialists.
The appeal was successful and the couple now have additional funds to allow Helen to participate more fully in everyday life.
Amy* is a single mum with a four year old son now living with her family. Recently her child tax credit payments were stopped because HMRC believed that Amy living with a partner and a tax bill of over £2,000.
The adviser explained which documents were needed to prove to HMRC that Amy was not living with a partner. The adviser also explained how to fill in the appeal form and also spoke to HMRC on her behalf.
While Amy waited to hear the outcome, the adviser helped Amy to obtain a grant from the Surrey Local Assistance Scheme for emergency items and get a foodbank voucher to help tide her over.
HMRC acknowledged that their decision was incorrect and was then overturned. Amy received over £600 in back dated payments and confirmation that no money was owed to HMRC.
Sandra* went on a pre-authorised family holiday immediately following a period of sick leave. When she returned from holiday and discovered letters from her employer saying she had been dismissed, she was shocked and could not understand what she had done wrong. Her employer claimed she had failed to attend a disciplinary meeting and to contact them when her sick note had expired.
Our Employment Specialist helped Sandra put a case together for Unfair Dismissal making two specific points. One was that her employer had sent the dismissal letters to the wrong address. The resulting delay meant that she was unable to act in the time period specified and furthermore, she was away on a pre-arranged holiday. Secondly, she did not know she was supposed to contact her employer at the end of the sick-leave period before going on holiday. Furthermore we also helped Sandra to claim Job Seekers Allowance during the period of the case, as she had no source of income.
Following our intervention, Sandra’s employer agreed to reinstate her job and award her full ‘back-dated’ earnings. Sandra can now get back to a normal life without stress and anxiety.
Steve* was a self-employed Director of a successful business for many years. When his business fell on hard times and began operating at a loss, his take home pay fluctuated to such an extent that he was no longer able to manage his significant credit card debts, and he faced the prospect of bankruptcy.
In the first instance we wrote on Steve’s behalf to his creditors asking them to suspend any further action and freeze interest for a one month period. We looked at Steve’s domestic and financial circumstances and drew up a financial statement to decide on the best course of action. As Steve was still taking a small salary from his business and able to manage small monthly payments on his debts, we recommended that he consider an IVA (Independent Voluntary Arrangement). We referred Steve to Planplan who provide free specialist debt management. They organised a 5 year contract with renegotiated lower, monthly payments with all of Steve’s creditors. Any monies not paid by the end of the 5 year contract would be written off.
Steve is now able to manage his money, safe in the knowledge that his debts are being repaid every month at a level which ensures he can live within his means.
David* and his wife had put all their life savings, including their house, into their own business. When David became ill the business began to suffer, they lost everything and had to move into private rented accommodation, living on benefits. David’s wife took a part-time job around caring for her husband, to supplement their income. When his condition worsened and his need for care increased, David put in an application for Disability Living Allowance. However when this was rejected, their situation became desperate.
David needed constant help and supervision; he was unable to travel, cook or take a bath or shower for fear of drowning or injuring himself. Furthermore his doctor had signed him ‘unfit for work’ for 2 years. We helped David prepare for a tribunal to appeal the decision.
The HM Courts and Tribunals Service accepted his appeal and awarded David back-dated DLA. David’s wife is now able to cut back on some of her part-time hours to care for her husband, thus reducing their stress and anxiety.
Rob* took out a secured loan on his family home some years before he was diagnosed with a degenerative condition, leaving him severely disabled and unable to work. When his wife could no longer hold down her job whilst caring for him, the couple were unable to meet the loan repayments.
Safe in the knowledge that the secured loan included Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) which would take care of the matter it was a huge shock to discover that the PPI payments had been stopped. Without warning arrears had built up on the loan and Rob and his wife were being threatened with court action to take repossession of their home.
We spoke to the creditors to explain their situation and delayed the court action. After getting proof of his employment status from HMRC we were able to reinstate the repayments and clear the arrears. Furthermore we discovered that the PPI policy had in fact been miss-sold and did not cover the full-term of the loan.
We obtained compensation for PPI miss-selling and Rob and his wife were offered a full refund. They are now able to feel secure in the knowledge that the loan will no longer cause stress and anxiety.