What Our Clients Say
Every year thousands of people come to us for help solving their problems. 77% say they couldn’t have solved them without us, while 82% say advice made a difference to their lives.
- 90% of our clients (surveyed in 2019) found their overall experience good or very good
- 91% felt they could now find a way forward to at least a moderate extent
- 89% said we were easy to access
- 92% would be likely or very likely to recommend our services.
- 83% report their problem has been completely, mostly or partly solved
Lydia was 59 and lived alone in Council housing, and suffered from learning difficulties and uncontrolled Diabetes along with other health conditions. Because of her state of long-term disability, she was receiving Disability Living Allowance (DLA) at the highest rate, which also meant she received an additional amount on her other benefits to cover the costs of living alone with her conditions.
Lydia was transferred onto the new disability benefit, Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in May 2016 but was scored 0 points at assessment and refused the benefit altogether. This meant she lost not only her disability benefits but also her additional premiums, leaving her with very little income to cover the costs of her health and support needs.
We helped Lydia with her appeal, including using our specialist caseworker to draft a formal submission to the Tribunal, which successfully overturned the decision in June 2017 and awarded the highest rate of PIP, allowing her to once again receive the financial support she needed. She was also awarded backdated payments of £10,316 to cover the 13-month period when she was without her disability benefits.
Aisha was a single parent of 3 young children who had built up £897 rent arrears due to the benefit cap, and was facing repossession action by the local authority, putting her at her children at risk of homelessness. Because she was on an introductory tenancy her position was especially precarious, as she only had one opportunity to appeal the decision.
We sought a review of the Council’s decision and successfully stopped the repossession action by agreeing a repayment arrangement which Aisha would be able to afford, preventing her and her family from becoming homeless. We also identified that she was making high weekly payments for a furniture pack, and helped her apply for a charitable grant from the Greggs foundation for a refurbished cooker worth £150, reducing the weekly payments she needed to make.
Joan attended the North Shields CAB office requiring assistance with her rent arrears of £551.00. She is a single parent with four children under 14 years of age. Her Housing Benefit has been affected by the benefits cap and capped at £25.29 p/w.
Reduced benefit income has contributed towards her inability to meet her rent and she has rent arrears.
Citizens Advice arranged with North Tyneside Council for the minimum amount to be deducted from her Income Support towards the arrears each week. However, Joan was still struggling to meet the shortfall of £93.00 per week.
After making further enquiries with North Tyneside Council we identified the Joan was paying for a furniture package (cooker only) which was increasing her overall gross rent by £33.00 each week.
We discussed charitable grants with the client and identified she would be eligible for assistance through the Greggs fund. We assisted the client with completion of the charity application for a refurbished cooker.
Joan’s application was successful, and she was no longer was required to pay £33.00 per week to the local authority for a cooker. Not only did returning the furniture package reduce her overall gross rent but this also reduced the client’s shortfall to £64.00 per week.
Joan was relieved when she received a response that her application for a refurbished cooker had been accepted. The Greggs fund sent the client a voucher to contact East Durham Trust who organised for a refurbished cooker to be delivered to her home.
We completed a budget for the Joan, which taking into account the saving of £33.00 a week, meant her shortfall was manageable.
Sam & Ben’s* Story
Ben is 70, married and lives with his wife and 33-year-old Grandson Sam, in his own home. He has third party consent to act on his Grandson’s behalf as his Sam has agora-phobia and does not leave the house. Sam is in receipt of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) with the support group component.
Ben attended Citizens Advice North Tyneside about Sam’s Personal Independence Payment (PIP) appeal. He was in receipt of the high rate care and low rate mobility components of Disability Living Allowance (DLA). However, he then had his PIP reviewed. Ben completed the PIP2 form on his behalf and Sam’s award was decided on the information in the forms and a call to Sam’s Community Psychiatric Nurse (CPN). Sam was awarded the standard rate of PIP for Daily Living, but no award for Mobility, and his DLA would stop. Ben went through the appeals process and was given an appointment with CAB to write a submission on Sam’s behalf, as the DWP did not change the decision at the reconsideration stage.
A submission was drafted and submitted that he should be awarded the enhanced rate of PIP for Daily Living and the standard rate for Mobility. The appeal was heard using the papers as Sam could not leave the house to attend. The DWP called to advise that they had revised their decision in Sam’s favour, based on the information provided, and the appeal would lapse. Ben’s Grandson was awarded the enhanced rate of PIP for Daily Living and the standard rate for Mobility until 2019, when he will be reviewed again.
This resulted in a back payment of £1,176 and £5,725 per year in extra benefit.
* Names have been changed to protect the client’s confidentiality.