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PLEASE NOTE THAT WE WILL BE CLOSING AT 2PM ON THURSDAY 23rd AUGUST, 2018.
Extra help for clients with mental health issues – EXTRA FUNDING!
From the beginning of September 2017 Citizens Advice Wokingham is running a project to provide extra help for people with mental health issues in Wokingham Borough. Using funding supplied by the Berkshire Community Foundation we are providing an extra 4 hours a week of specialist help in debt and welfare benefits. The funding will allow the project to run for 8 months until April 2018. The Berkshire Community Foundation has now agreed to support this project for a further six months. So, it will now run until the end of October 2018.
John Ferguson (Chief Officer of Citizens Advice Wokingham) said “We are very grateful to the Berkshire Community Foundation for this continued funding. We see quite a few people with mental health issues and this funding will allow us to have extra time with them to help them solve their problems with debt and benefits, without impacting the time available for other clients.”
Citizens Advice Wokingham can be contacted by calling 0300 330 1189, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or in person at Waterford House, Erftstadt Court, Wokingham (Mon – Thurs 9-3, Fri 9-1) or next to the library in Woodley (Mon & Wed 9.30 – 3.30).
Some recent case Studies
This client had been coming to see us for some months and was being helped and supported by one of our more experienced advisers supervised by one of our Money Advice caseworkers.
The client had many debts, totalling around £18,000 – mainly resulting from him becoming ill and losing his job. He eventually managed to get another job, but his illness meant that he could only work few hours per week. As a result his income was greatly reduced. He struggled to manage everyday life and certainly could not pay anything towards his debts..
Our Money Advice specialist established that he would be a good candidate for a Debt Relief Order (DRO), having total debts of less than £20,000. However, the client could not afford to pay the £90 application fee.
We did not manage to find a charitable trust that would pay the fee. This made him eligible for our ‘client emergency fund’. This fund uses grant money from both the Berkshire Community Foundation and Wokingham Borough Council. This fund provides money to help out clients that are in ‘dire straits’. Our caseworker (who is also a DRO Intermediary) applied for a DRO for the client which made him debt free and allowed him to make a fresh start without the constant worry over finances.
The client has long term multiple health problems including learning disabilities. He had been in receipt of Disability Living Allowance for many years. His health was deteriorating and he was required to claim Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
He was also in receipt of Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and was in the Support Group, therefore not required to take part in any work related activities. Following a medical assessment, despite his deteriorating health, he was moved to the Work Related Activity Group. At the assessment the assessor was told of several activities that the client had difficulty with, these were not properly recorded and he wasn’t awarded points where he should have been.
We helped the client ask for a mandatory reconsideration of his ESA and helped with the PIP application, both were successful and he is now receiving the benefits he is entitled to.
The client has severe physical disabilities and had been in receipt of Disability Living Allowance for many years and was now being required to transfer to Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
He had already applied for PIP but, following an assessment by the DWP, it was refused. He came to see us and we helped him in asking for a reconsideration of the decision. This was also refused.
We then helped him to appeal the decision, completing the appeal form and advising him on what evidence he needed to get. We helped him deal with all the paperwork for the hearing, ensuring that all medical evidence had been sent to HM Courts and Tribunal Service. We also helped him prepare a statement for the hearing to ensure that he was able to put his case across. We explained the process in detail to the client and his friend who was going to accompany him to the hearing.
He was finally awarded PIP at the hearing, which was backdated to the date of the original claim some 5 months previously.
Our Client’s say
- Very good
- The adviser was very professional
- Didn’t feel rushed at all
- What a lovely lady to talk to!
- Very professional, helpful and courteous, thank you
- Please thank the adviser; I’m really grateful to her for her kindness and support.
100% of clients said that they would use us again and 99% said they would recommend our service to others.