Easing anxiety around a financial situation
Our client is recently widowed, of pension age and lives alone in a council property. She is receiving hospice care for a terminal illness. We have been supporting this client with a water debt as she is digitally excluded and not used to dealing with household finances as this is an area her late husband attended to. Our adviser applied to SE water for the debt to be written off but was not successful. Our adviser negotiated a payment plan and minimal re-payment while a Helping Hands grant application was made. Client was turned down for the HH grant but invited to re-apply in September. LDCA issued £400 Huggg supermarket vouchers to the client to ease the household budget while the water debt remains unresolved. This has enabled her to make ends meet in the short term and eased some anxiety around her financial situation, which is very difficult for her to cope with alone and while under hospice care. While further support will be required to resolve this client's financial issues, the HSF payment has been a considerable help to her household budget and furthermore, in providing something positive during a very difficult time in her life, goes beyond its face value.
Helping to live without risk or fear of abuse
Our client and her infant daughter were staying temporarily with relatives having fled from domestic abuse. As she held joint social housing tenancy with her ex-partner, perpetrator of the domestic abuse, she had no automatic right to exclude ex-partner from the property. This meant that she was jointly and severally liable for the rent and bills at the property, despite not being able, for her own safety, to be in occupation. Lewes District Citizens Advice advised client on access to legal services so she could return to her home and occupy it with her daughter, without risk or fear of abuse from her ex-partner. We advised her to apply for legal injunctions; Non-Molestation Order and Occupation Order, to ensure she could return to her home and legally exclude her ex-partner. We advised our client on economic abuse support: she was concerned about the level of debt she had accrued; approximately £6000, much of which had amassed under the influence of her ex-partner, pressuring her to sign credit agreements on his behalf. We advised our client that she may have experienced coerced debt and economic abuse, and signposted her to Surviving Economic Abuse for further advice and practical support. Meanwhile we initiated debt support by exploring debt management and long-term solutions. We provided a full benefits check and identified a number of ways to maximise her income, including advice and support around securing child maintenance from her ex-partner.
Income maximisation, housing & budgeting
Our client was referred to Lewes District Citizens Advice outreach by the SCDA Community Navigator team, as regular community supermarket user. A lone parent, living in private rented accommodation with her three children, aged one, four and six, she struggles on an extremely low income. While she is looking for paid work she is finding it difficult to find suitable employment, due to her childcare needs and the costs this would incur. This issue is exacerbated by her eldest child having additional, complex needs. Our client received advice and support in income maximization, housing and budgeting. She was signposted to two carefully selected local charities for further support as a parent/carer of a child with additional needs and to promote contact & engagement with family support groups to assist her with developing peer and community networks.