The Wise Steps programme focusses on supporting people within the North East area to find employment. Here at Citizens Advice Gateshead our Wise Steps financial inclusion adviser contributes to that by offering advice and support around financial inclusion and budgeting. Here is an example of how their work helped a Wise Steps client navigate a tricky situation.
The client moved to the UK from a European country in December 2020 with their husband and 4 young children. As we all know the social welfare system can be difficult to navigate at the best of times, but for this client, these difficulties have been exacerbated due to the pandemic and having no previous experience with the welfare system in the UK.
Initially, the client faced significant delays in receiving their National Insurance Number which meant that they were unable to complete their application for Universal Credit and Child Benefit. Therefore, the client and her children had to rely on her husband’s part-time wages as their sole income.
In addition, the client has faced difficulties in their application for social housing. This caused them a lot of concern and they are desperate to submit their application for a suitable social tenancy; their 2-bedroom private rented property is too small for their family of 6 and they were unable to afford a larger property in the private sector.
What we did
The client was given full advice on their benefit and social housing entitlement.
We submitted a mandatory reconsideration to the DWP about the failure to properly process the Universal Credit claim. The claim was processed and Universal Credit is now in place, increasing the household income significantly to ensure that they could manage their essential expenses.
We also helped the client to apply for child benefit and council tax reduction.
We have helped the client to apply to the Tyne and Wear homes waiting list so that they are now eligible to apply for more suitable social housing.