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Posted 11 November 2020

This Talk Money Week we’ve already heard how one Court Manager’s perseverance helped a resident to claim a substantial sum of money. Here another local manager tells us how she managed to support one of her residents with the help of a local contact.

“This gentleman was a new resident, having moved into his apartment just before the national lockdown as a result of Covid-19 in March.

“He was in receipt of Universal Credit and could not afford the four weeks’ upfront rent at the start of his tenancy but I was able to set up an affordable payment plan.  He had applied for Housing Benefit which was going to be sent direct to us.

“A month later his rent account was accumulating and there was no Housing Benefit payment received. I contacted them and they said the resident was not entitled to Housing Benefit and must claim housing costs from Universal Credit. Through working with a previous resident I knew there was a local independent benefits advisor, so I phoned her and explained the situation. She spoke to my resident to ask if he would give permission for me to speak to her on his behalf, which he did.

"She contacted Universal Credit and gave me a number if I needed to contact them directly. Universal Credit was finally sorted a month or so later and I requested that my resident’s housing costs were paid to Housing 21 directly, with my resident’s agreement. I spent a lot of time supporting him to fill out forms and then sent them off.

“I noticed my resident’s mood suddenly went downhill, and that he wasn’t the bubbly, happy person he was when he moved in. I asked him if he was ok and he told me he struggling as he had run out of money. I spoke to the benefits advisor who I had been in touch with and arranged a visit with my resident.  He said he had applied for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) last September and had been unsuccessful. He showed the advisor the letters and she said she would appeal and to leave it with her.

“Last week the resident came down to see me with a letter in his hand… he had received a letter from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and had been awarded PIP, and it had been backdated. My resident had received a payment of £6,700. He was overjoyed as he stood there and cried.

“The advisor contacted him directly as she had received notification of this also. I spoke with her and said how grateful I was for all the professional help she had given my resident but also for supporting me.

“This goes to show how beneficial it is to build relationships with as many external agencies as possible. When you get a result like this for a resident it makes you feel like you are doing a good job and all the hard work has paid off.”

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