Richard* was receiving Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from his long-term employer for long-term sickness. After his employer made him redundant and the SSP ran out, he could no longer keep up with his household bills and eventually had to move into social housing. With only a bed to his name, he desperately needed help to get some furniture for his flat and a benefits check.
Richard’s local advice centre helped him to claim Employment Support Allowance and supplied food parcels while he was waiting for his benefit. They also wrote to several charities which were able to supply the funds for Richard to secure furniture for his flat.
Richard’s home life has improved and he has now gone back into part-time work, having recently gone into remission.
Fiona* had a routine procedure by a newly qualified dentist go wrong. To help Fiona rectify the situation, the dental practice referred her to a specialist endodontist who offered an initial consultation. However Fiona could not afford this treatment and felt very strongly that the dental practice should pay, for what she saw, as their mistake.
Fiona’s local advice centre helped her to draft a formal complaint to the practice asking them to accept liability and fund the corrective treatment. Her letter asked for a quick turnaround given that she was experiencing much discomfort.
The dental practice accepted liability for the corrective treatment up to the value of £1,500.
Sandra* went on a pre-authorised family holiday immediately following a period of sick leave. When she returned from holiday and discovered letters from her employer saying she had been dismissed, she was shocked and could not understand what she had done wrong. Her employer claimed she had failed to attend a disciplinary meeting and to contact them when her sick note had expired.
The employment specialist at Sandra’s local advice centre helped her to put a case together for unfair dismissal making two specific points. One was that her employer had sent the dismissal letters to the wrong address. The resulting delay meant that she was unable to act in the time period specified and furthermore, she was away on a pre-arranged holiday. Secondly, she did not know she was supposed to contact her employer at the end of the sick-leave period before going on holiday. Furthermore we also helped Sandra to claim Jobseekers Allowance during the period of the case, as she had no source of income.
Following our intervention, Sandra’s employer agreed to reinstate her job and award her full ‘back-dated’ earnings. Sandra can now get back to a normal life without stress and anxiety.
Steve* was a self-employed director of a successful business for many years. When his business fell on hard times and began operating at a loss, his take home pay fluctuated to such an extent that he was no longer able to manage his significant credit card debts, and he faced the prospect of bankruptcy.
In the first instance Steve’s local advice centre wrote on his behalf to his creditors asking them to suspend any further action and freeze interest for a one month period. They looked at Steve’s domestic and financial circumstances and drew up a financial statement to decide on the best course of action. As Steve was still taking a small salary from his business and able to manage small monthly payments on his debts, we recommended that he consider an IVA (Independent Voluntary Arrangement). They referred Steve to Payplan who provide free specialist debt management. They organised a 5 year contract with renegotiated lower, monthly payments with all of Steve’s creditors. Any monies not paid by the end of the 5 year contract would be written off.
Steve is now able to manage his money, safe in the knowledge that his debts are being repaid every month at a level which ensures he can live within his means.
David* and his wife had put all their life savings, including their house, into their own business. When David became ill the business began to suffer, they lost everything, and had to move into private rented accommodation, living on benefits. David’s wife took a part-time job around caring for her husband, to supplement their income. When his condition worsened and his need for care increased, David put in an application for Disability Living Allowance. However when this was rejected, their situation became desperate.
David needed constant help and supervision; he was unable to travel, cook or take a bath or shower for fear of drowning or injuring himself. Furthermore his doctor had signed him ‘unfit for work’ for 2 years. David’s local advice centre helped him to prepare for a tribunal to appeal the decision.
The HM Courts and Tribunals Service accepted his appeal and awarded David back-dated DLA. David’s wife is now able to cut back on some of her part-time hours to care for her husband, thus reducing their stress and anxiety.
Rob* took out a secured loan on his family home some years before he was diagnosed with a degenerative condition, leaving him severely disabled and unable to work. When his wife could no longer hold down her job whilst caring for him, the couple were unable to meet the loan repayments.
Safe in the knowledge that the secured loan included Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) which would take care of the matter it was a huge shock to discover that the PPI payments had been stopped. Without warning arrears had built up on the loan and Rob and his wife were being threatened with court action to take repossession of their home.
Rob’s local advice centre spoke to the creditors to explain their situation and delayed the court action. After getting proof of his employment status from HMRC, they were able to reinstate the repayments and clear the arrears. Furthermore, they discovered that the PPI policy had in fact been mis-sold and did not cover the full-term of the loan.
Rob’s local advice centre obtained compensation for PPI mis-selling. Rob and his wife were offered a full refund and they are now able to feel secure in the knowledge that the loan will no longer cause stress and anxiety.