- Financial & Wellbeing Support Service (FWSS) - Surrey Heath
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A few people get unexpectedly rich, but far more experience problems and misfortune.
Arthur was in his 80s and in debt when he came to us recently for help. The property he was living in had been condemned. It had no gas or hot water and was in need of extensive repair. He was concerned he was going to lose his home. He was anxious about bailiffs turning up on his doorstep and the strain was aggravating his existing health conditions.
We contacted his creditors and put his debts on hold. We then organised a refund of his gas charges, discounts on his water bill and council tax, and scheduled monthly repayments of his debts. We also helped him successfully apply for a move to sheltered housing.
John suffered from Parkinson’s disease which had badly affected his speech. He also had very limited mobility and his condition had declined over previous months. He had large debts to a building society and was struggling financially.
We assisted John to apply for higher rate Disability Living Allowance (DLA). Due to this award he was entitled to full housing benefit and full council tax reduction. We then wrote to the building society and managed to get his debt written off, and helped him obtain a grant to cover his outstanding water bill.
Eric had been declined a bus pass and he had limited funds to get out and about to visit family or get into town. He had a complex medical history and was feeling very low and isolated.
We looked at his options and helped him appeal with evidence from his GP, the hospital and the Community Mental Health Team who support him. Eric got his bus pass and is now able to get out and about. He is now generally feeling much more positive about life.
Anne was profoundly deaf and had learning difficulties. Her literacy skills were poor and she had been in an abusive relationship. She had multiple debts, including rent arrears, and her DLA had stopped when she was asked to migrate to Personal Independence Payments, as she was not able to cope with the forms and had missed essential assessments.
We helped her to sort out her paperwork, clarifying what debts Anne had and what repayments she could manage. We also wrote an appeal to DWP to get Anne’s DLA re-instated and was successful, resulting in Anne receiving back-dated benefits. She is now more organised and is confident that she can get further support should she need it.
Saul was living in temporary accommodation with his partner and two young children. They had been informed they were being rehoused but needed to pay a month’s rent in advance to secure the property. Saul had used his Universal Credit payment to cover this which left his family without money, so they had not eaten for 48 hours.
We made a referral to the local foodbank – which also supplied nappies and baby milk – and helped Saul apply for Child Benefit. Further discussion revealed that the new property was unfurnished and did not have any white goods. We referred him to a local charity which provided second hand furniture and we also obtained a grant from another local charity to fund new white goods.
Citizens Advice is here to help – contact us.