How our Benefit and Welfare service helped a resident get back on their feet

7 December 2020

With the support of our Benefit and Welfare service, Hastoe resident Megan has saved over £3,000 and hopes to have cleared her rent arrears by the New Year.

Megan was referred to our Money Advice service back in 2018 by her Housing Manager, Ed Rigby, after falling into rent arrears of £1,800. She was initially reluctant to receive Hastoe’s help, but was also struggling to pay her mounting energy bills and Council Tax, and knew she needed some support with her finances.

Our Benefit & Welfare Advisor, Lisane, visited her at home and discovered an error with Megan’s Housing Benefit payment due to her childcare costs. Her benefits allowance had also been reduced as she had an extra bedroom. Lisane found out she was eligible for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) to cover the cost of the reduction and helped Megan to make a successful application.

The support Megan received meant she was able to clear her rent arrears and bills. She says: 

The service helped me so much. Hastoe’s Benefit and Welfare Advisor sat down with me and walked through exactly how I could sort out paying my rent and Council Tax. I was also able to save to pay other bills instead of having to worry about where the money was going to come from. ”

Turning back to Hastoe's Money Advice Service 

Unfortunately, a year later Megan’s situation deteriorated. She was no longer working and her outgoing costs were more than her income. So, with rent arrears of £1,300 and utility bill debts, she turned to Hastoe’s Money Advice service once again.

Lisane offered Megan advice about changes in Universal Credit and budgeting, and assisted her in applying for another Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP), which was awarded at £1,300 to cover her arrears. Megan was also able to reapply for repeat DHPs which has helped her to manage her other debts, and enabled her and her child to stay in their home. She has since reduced her rent arrears down to £400 and hopes to be arrears free in the New Year.

We recently caught up with Megan, who is now back in work, to hear about her experience of using the Money Advice service. She says: “I had so much support from Hastoe and Lisane. I’ve managed to get a DHP plan, which means I now have extra money to pay my other bills.”

I know if I’ve ever got a problem with money I can go to the Benefit and Welfare service at Hastoe and they’ll point me in the right direction of who could help. I’ve never had that before. I’ve previously been a resident with another housing association and never received the same level of support that I’ve got at Hastoe.”

Megan, Hastoe resident

How our Benefit and Welfare service could help you

We understand that talking about money or your financial situation can be nerve-wracking but take it from Megan that there’s nothing to be ashamed of. She says: “Just go for it, take the help. It’s not an embarrassment at all and it’s really, really useful.”

As a Hastoe resident, you don’t need to be referred to the service to receive their support. If you’re experiencing any financial difficulties or are struggling with money in the run-up to Christmas, get in touch with our Benefit & Welfare Advisors today for free advice. The sooner you contact them, the sooner they can help you.

Find out more about our Benefit and Welfare Service

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