One of our Advice Worker volunteers recently shared this story with us and it made us reflect on how easy it can be to fall into financial crisis, and what a privilege it is to be in a position to help.
My client, Mrs M, had poor English, lived alone, and was clearly stressed.
After a long period of questions, investigations and phone calls, it became apparent that her Employment Support Allowance had stopped in May because she had reached pension age. However, she has not worked and had no contributions: so no state pension. Mrs M ignored (probably did not understand) the letter about ESA and the eventual letter suggesting she apply for Pension Credit.
She has had no benefit income since May, and .of course the bills didn’t stop. Even the Housing Benefit didn’t cover her rent. She got some help from her son …but did not tell him the whole story.
It wasn’t until she got in arrears with Council tax that she approached The Well for help.
I was able to help Mrs M apply for Pension Credit and explain her situation. Although the actual decision is still to be made, I am hopeful that her application for Pension Credit will be escalated and back paid until June. Mrs M left feeling a fresh sense of hope.