National Story Telling Week : Keith’s Story

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Following our Facebook posts this week, to mark National Storytelling week, here is the whole story of how we helped Keith move forward in his life.

In 2019, ‘Keith’ was referred to the Wis£rmoney ‘Transitions’ project, by his housing association. In his late 40’s, and in poor health, his breathing and mobility were affected by a respiratory problem. He was recovering from substance and alcohol abuse, supported by a specialist worker as well as his GP. He also suffered from severe anxiety and depression. His medication left him feeling drowsy and affected his ability to process things and remember them. He hadn’t used his heating for a year but had standing charges to pay, court action was being threatened for non-payment of debts, as well as the involvement of bailiffs. Although he had applied for Personal Independence Payment twice, he had felt unable to attend an interview, and on one occasion had panicked so much that he had accidentally overdosed on his medication and been taken to hospital. Covid lockdowns had made it harder for him. He now needed adaptations to his flat because of his health, but couldn’t apply for these unless his priority debts were sorted out.

Our advisor worked with Keith for 9 months, making 62 interventions on his behalf. She gained Keith’s trust and advocated for him. She oversaw a review of his benefits to ensure he had applied correctly for what he was entitled to. She liaised with the Dept of Work and Pensions to enable his PIP application interview to be conducted over the phone. She worked with Keith’s GP and the DWP to ensure he was granted the appropriate type and level of Employment Support Allowance. She enabled him to get a backdated claim for Severe Disability Premium. She liaised with the local authority and water and energy companies to manage Keith’s debts.

The happy ending…

Keith’s weekly income was raised significantly, and he received backdated payments of over £11,000 which he was eligible for. With this money, he paid  off  most of his outstanding debts, and was enabled to set up a management plan to pay the rest. He is a year ahead in his council tax payments, a month ahead with his rent, and is on a more appropriate water tariff. He can now apply for adaptations to help him stay in his home, and his mental health and anxiety levels have improved enormously.

His thoughts…?

“So happy with the help and the support I have had, it’s been life-changing for me. I couldn’t of done any of this without your help. Thank you all so much.”