2018 was a successful year for residents receiving specialist welfare benefits advice.
Arhag along with five other organisations were awarded £1 million in funding by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. This funding was awarded to deliver a range of activities, one of which being benefits and advice in East London, alongside a free advice line nationwide. The take up of more specialised and detailed welfare benefits check has produced fantastic results for many of our residents who were able to claim back hundreds or thousands of pounds from the benefits service.
2018 ended on a high, we have delivered great results to residents who were facing hardship and confusion with complex benefits issues.
Mr. A attended an appointment due to rent arrears of over £1,000.00 and court costs, with our Income Team. He was receiving some Housing Benefits, but struggling to pay all the bills and support his family. However, Mr. A had a disability, and was not currently receiving the correct benefits. With help from our team, he was able to successfully apply for Personal Independence Payments, and receive back dated payments. One of Mr. A’s children is also now entitled to carer’s allowance of over £60 per week.
Since receiving support, Mr. A is better off each month by almost £750.00.
Miss. B was faced with arrears of over £290.00 in the summer of 2018. Our Income Team supported her with a Discretionary Housing Payment Application, as she was struggling to pay her rent. This application was successful, receiving backdated payment of almost £2,000 and is now currently in receipt of full Housing Benefit and successfully managing her rent.
Our greatest success so far, came right at the end of 2018, when just before Christmas a benefits appeal changed someone’s life, for the better.
Ms. C, a refugee from Somalia attended one of our drop in centres at Praxis, in East London and received support which was life changing.
Mrs. C, 49, from Tower Hamlets in East London lives on her own and suffers with Osteoarthritis and Fibromyalgia. She receives support from neighbours, friends and members of her local community and church.
She was called in for a medical exam and re-assessed for her ESA claim, which was later cancelled, and she was told she was fit for work, despite medical reports detailing her disability and her obvious struggle to walk unaided.
When she contacted the benefits office regarding her housing benefit, and future entitlement, she was told that she must apply for Universal Credit. Concerned about her income and paying the bills and putting food on the table, she found herself attending an advice session in East London.
With letters and documents in her bag, Mrs. C spent hours working through her claim with our Specialist Welfare Benefits and Housing Advisor, Memuna Kargbo who agreed to appeal the benefits decision on her behalf. Memuna, called the Council Housing Office, DWP, Housing Benefits Office, and Council Tax Office to find out exactly what has been going on, and put in place temporary measures whilst the appeal was submitted to ensure the Mrs. C was not faced with legal action.
After collating all of the information, and submitting appeal documentation, the appeal was awarded, and Mrs. C was found to be entitled to the higher level Personal Independence Payment, ESA, Housing Benefits, and Council Tax Deductions.
Mrs. C is now entitled to her full benefits, and will be in receiving just over £23,000.00 per year.
If you any issues with your benefits claim, if you have any difficulties with your disability claim or you have difficulties processing housing benefits appeal or you are in high rent arrears, please engage with us: we are able to offer help and support to maximise your income and claim the right benefit that you are entitled to.