Case Studies

My Money, My Life - Disability Benefit Support

Bill*, a single man in his 60’s, was referred to Peasholme Charity by York Foodbank.

Bill has Agoraphobia – an anxiety disorder that makes people very fearful of certain places and situations. Due to his agoraphobia, Bill was unable to attend a doctor’s appointment for a medical assessment, which resulted in his disability benefits being stopped.

This left him with no income and reliant on Foodbank for food.

Alison began working with Bill, who at the time was despairing and felt let down by the system. Alison helped him understand the options available to him and guided him through the process of applying for universal credit.

“It’s made such a difference. You explained it to me in black and white so I can do it. I feel like I can stand up and be counted. I feel like a member of society again”.

I’ve got more confidence now; I just get on with it” said Bill of his support from Peasholme Charity.

Alison issued Bill with foodbank vouchers for food and accessed a hardship fund to top up his electricity meter. She got in touch with his utility company and explained that he had no income and negotiated an affordable repayment plan – for when his first universal credit payment came through. She did the same with his landlord which helped to reduce some of the anxiety Bill was experiencing around getting into debt.

She began the process of trying to get Bill’s disability benefits reinstated, first step – arranging for a GP to visit Bill at home to complete a medical assessment, gather evidence for his appeal and get him the professional care he needed.

After a lengthy process Bill’s appeal case was heard at County Court in York. Bill won his case, resulting in his benefit payments being reinstated. Bill finally felt believed.

Alison supported Bill to apply for other disability related benefits but without initial success. They worked through the same lengthy process to prove Bill met the criteria.

They won two further tribunals and Bill’s disability benefit was increased by £150 a week – the additional monies to help with the extra costs associated with his disability.

Bill also received a back payment to cover the 11 months where he didn’t receive the benefits he was entitled to.

“I felt like a chicken chipping away inside the egg, but now I’ve got out of the egg.”

Bill now has a regular income so he’s no longer stressed about money and can afford to buy food and pay his own bills. He has internet access at home and Alison showed him how to check and update his universal credit journal – which he now does independently and with confidence.

His internet access means he can email friends and family – which has improved his mental health and reduced his social isolation. He now has the confidence to make plans for the future.

Alison also secured a grant from the Norman Collinson Trust to purchase a bedroom carpet for Bill – to brighten up his safe space.

He was referred to partners; Help at Hand (part of Age UK) and Keep Your Pet – a local charity that helps older or vulnerable people to look after their pets in times of crisis. He was also introduced to his local area coordinator (LAC).

The welfare benefit system is complex and for someone that does not understand it, it can be stressful and bewildering. We’re proud to have supported Bill to get the benefit entitlement he deserves.

*Names have been changed for confidentiality