How does the Money Advice and Pensions Service help people with debt?

Our Money Advice and Pensions service (MaPs) work with vulnerable clients every day and apply their expert knowledge and skills to improve our client’s lives. Here is a case study to demonstrate the fantastic impact that this work can achieve…..

The client

The client, a single 58-year-old male, was referred to us for money advice in November 2020. He had been off work for an extended period due to mental health and had recently become unemployed.

The client had managed his finances well when employed and had no debt other than some historic council tax arrears. However, after losing his job and his regular income, he struggled to pay his bills, including rent.

The client’s mental health had deteriorated and he advised he was feeling suicidal. He explained he had attempted suicide in the past and feared his mounting debt and uncertainty about when his situation would improve would take him back to wanting to end his life.

The client lives alone and rents a property with two bedrooms from a private landlord therefore he does not get his full rent covered by Universal Credit. Fear of losing his home was one of his main concerns. The client’s cooker had also broken and he could not afford to replace this.

What we did

The client was given full advice on options for dealing with his debt and on his benefit entitlement. We helped him to apply for Personal Independence Payment. We also helped him to apply for the limited capability for work element of UC. This was awarded, resulting in a monthly income in excess of £340 per month and backdating in excess of £3000. The PIP decision is pending.

He chose to try to manage his debt and wait for decisions to be made on his entitlement to benefits that may result in an increase in his income. We provided him with assistance with food in the interim.

We submitted a section 13a request to Gateshead Council asking for his Council Tax arrears to be written off on a discretionary basis. This was successful which cleared debt of £1747.33.

We applied to the Glasspool Charity Trust for a cooker and this application was successful so the client got a new functioning cooker.

We arranged for a Winter Grant Scheme card to be posted to the client with £75 on so he can make payments to his energy provider and buy food.

Our impact

  • We provided the client with accurate and timely advice about his rights and entitlement, empowering him to manage his finances and benefit claims.
  • We helped the client to increase his income, through advice and support around his benefit claims.
  • We helped the client to address and reduce his debt through a write off application.
  • We helped the client to access essential appliances through a grant application.
  • We helped the client through the immediate crisis through the provision of a food parcel and financial support.
  • Most importantly, we helped the client to navigate his sudden change of circumstances and to get himself into a more stable position financially, which had a hugely beneficial impact on his mental health.
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