Advisers often have to refer clients to food banks because their benefits have stopped due to administrative problems
A Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) claimant contacted Advice NI in a state of distress after receiving a letter dated Friday 29th May which arrived on Saturday 30th May stating that his JSA was not payable from 30th May to 12th June. The claimant said that he was anxious all weekend, that he remembered a mix-up regarding a single Steps to Success appointment in February, that he thought that his explanation had been accepted and that he did not know how he would survive as he had no money and no savings.
EBIAC have been providing free and independent advice and advocacy across a broad range of issues since June 2000. This includes confidential advice and representation with Tax Credits, Welfare Benefits, Employment, Housing and Debt issues.
In 2013, advisers from the independent advice network reported seeing increasing numbers of people seeking advice who were in a critical financial situation, where there was no immediate support available from the social security or tax credit systems.
Income tax debt caused by a self-assessment error
A client came to our Tax & Benefits service asking for assistance with an Income Tax debt of approximately £4,000. The client had a long history of mental health issues and had experienced a very unsettled period in her life due to homelessness. Once the client obtained a fixed abode, she started to receive letters demanding payment of the debt but had no understanding of how the debt had arisen.
A client came to see an advisor at an outreach venue. The client had received a letter from HMRC stating that they believed that a potential undisclosed partner was living at her address and therefore had terminated her single claim award. The client had been separated from her husband for several years; however he still used her address.
Appealing an Incapacity Benefit / Income Support (IB/IS) reassessment
The client was a 58 year old woman with long term mental and physical health problems including chronic anxiety, panic attacks, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and chronic low back pain. She had been in receipt of Incapacity Benefit / Income Support (IB/IS) for many years. On IB/IS reassessment for Employment & Support Allowance (ESA) she was awarded zero points and found not to have limited capability for work.
An adviser conducted a benefits check and successfully appealed an Attendance Allowance
An adviser conducted a benefit entitlement check for an 80 year old woman suffering from angina, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, osteoarthritis, depression and had a propensity to fall. An application was made for Attendance Allowance.