Posted 20/04/2022

Swan’s Welfare Benefits team support customer struggling with debt

Swan’s specialist Welfare Benefits team provides advice and support to Swan customers to help them understand the benefits system. The Welfare Benefits team provides customers with help that is personal to their own circumstances, whether it is applying for welfare benefits, managing their budget, or dealing with debt.

A case study from Swan shows how this dedicated support service makes a difference to our customers.

Recently, Swan’s Income team referred a customer, Ms S, to the specialist Welfare Benefits team as she had high level of rent arrears and she was not responding to letters about this. A member of the Welfare Benefits team contacted Ms S and they discovered that she is severely vulnerable, with both mental and physical health issues. She was confused as to why her Housing Benefit claim had been suspended and then cancelled.

A member of the dedicated Welfare Benefits team contacted the Housing Benefit Department of the local council for more information, on Ms S’s behalf. They discovered that Ms S’s benefit entitlements had been cancelled because the Department had requested additional information, which she was unable to provide because of her disability and Covid-19 restrictions. Ms S does not have internet access or digital skills to manage her benefits online. She was also unable to obtain assistance or guidance from local benefit advice agencies or organisations. 

Ms S was advised to apply for Universal Credit to receive additional assistance under new regulations. However, she refused to claim UC because of her disability as this could have resulted in her receiving less money overall.

One of the dedicated Welfare Benefits officers appealed the Housing Benefit Department’s decision to cancel Ms S’s benefit entitlements. They applied for a late reconsideration appeal to reinstate her Housing Benefit. The process took around three months.

The appeal was successful, and the claim was reinstated and backdated. Housing Benefit of £122.15 per week was awarded to Ms S as well as a backdated lump sum payment of £3,298.32, which cleared her outstanding rent arrears.

Most people will face a financial difficulty at some point. This case study is just one example of how Swan’s Welfare Benefits team can support Swan customers with money matters.

If you need assistance, contact our Welfare Benefits team on 0300 3030 2500 or email – we’re here to help!