BGET Wis£rmoney Client Case Study

Debt Case Study – About the Client
This case study has been written by Abbie, Debt and Energy Adviser.
During our triage process it became clear that Beth (not her real name) had complex medical issues which would impact the way we needed to support her. She explained she suffered with seizures, paralysis and insomnia. She had learning difficulties, mental health issues and also had cardiac issues being investigated. She was usually exhausted in the mornings and often had last minute medical appointments. She explained she had an appointee and struggled with reading and writing also. She was also uncomfortable being contacted by males so was allocated to a female worker. We accommodated Beth’s needs by arranging appointments in the afternoons only and communicating through Whatsapp so Beth could message when she was able to. We took care to ensure Beth fully understood her options throughout the advice process explaining advice fully with an appointee present.
Our initial visit was delayed due to Beth’s ill health, she contracted covid and then another illness. Throughout our work, Beth’s conditions often caused her to become unwell and to be bedbound for several days. At the first home visit Beth explained how her finances had spiralled out of control. A close family member had become seriously ill and at the same time she experienced cardiac problems herself. She explained that she had what she described as a breakdown at this time, and went through a short period of uncontrollable spending without thinking about the consequences of her borrowing.
When we first met Beth, she was very worried about water debts from an old address which the creditor had obtained a CCJ for, and which had been passed to bailiffs. Our adviser wrote to the enforcement agent explaining the client’s vulnerabilities. We highlighted the client’s fear of males and the potential impact on her mental health from enforcement visits. After this enforcement action ceased. Later we also successfully obtained Watersure tariff as Beth’s health issues caused her to have higher water usage.

Building Financial Resilience and Improving Wellbeing

We began by helping Beth organize her paperwork – she had kept the letters but hadn’t been looking at them so had a huge pile of creditor letters. We helped her organize this, and then with her authority we listed and contacted all her creditors. We also obtained credit reports to ensure no debts were overlooked.
It came to light that although Beth had thought she had been paying her Council Tax there was also some Council Tax debt. Based on our visits to Beth and the impact of her health issues and disabilities, we approached her GP regarding Severe Mental Impairment exemption for Council Tax. This was awarded and it wrote off Beth’s Council tax arrears for that year. She also obtained a refund for several previous years’ Council Tax liability totalling
We also referred Beth to LEAP for energy efficiency advice. However, Beth was concerned that her electricity spending was excessively high, and she had concerns that all her credit wasn’t being applied correctly to her meter. Beth suffered with OCD and compulsively topped up her meter. We tried to look into this together, however her energy company were uncontactable by telephone and we couldn’t resolve this through the company’s chat service or emails. We lodged a complaint which resulted in the company investigating the meter, providing compensation for poor service and switching the client to a smart meter. Beth has told us that since her meter has been changed she feels that she is spending less on electric and that her top ups are lasting longer. We also provided £298 in emergency fuel vouchers over 2 financial years, and arranged a grant for a new washing machine as Beth’s old machine was not working properly.
Beth had been undergoing a PIP review before our work began, and Beth explained that she felt her health had worsened. Beth had been awarded enhanced daily living and standard mobility component. We supported Beth with applying for a Mandatory Reconsideration, however the award did not change. We discussed the appeal process and Beth decided to appeal the award. We obtained and provided medical support and Beth was awarded enhanced mobility before her case went to tribunal. This increased her income by £2200 per year and she received a backpayment of £2600.
To address Beth’s debt, we considered requesting a write-off due to the exceptional health circumstances Beth was facing. However, given this would be at each creditor’s discretion, and since Beth had a large number of creditors, including water debt at 2 different addresses, we agreed to apply for a Debt Relief Order to write off Beth’s debt. The Debt Relief Order was approved, writing off
£27,447 in debt.