Citizens Advice Wirral gives clients up-to-date and relevant benefit advice so they can make more informed decisions. The Help to Claim team helped one elderly gentleman increase his income from 60p a week to £930.44 in a matter of weeks.
Citizens Advice Wirral’s good news story of 2021
We work with Age UK and a client was referred to us for some benefits advice. Our Help to Claim team quickly realised that this person was very vulnerable as he was losing his sight and wasn’t able to use a computer anymore. The team realised he was not safe in his own home, he had no food nor utilities and only 60p in his pocket.
We needed to get some money to him urgently.
A claim was made that day for Universal Credit. Our very strong relationship with our local DWP external relations team meant that we were able to get an ID and advance appointment completed on the same day. We arranged for a food parcel to be delivered as our client had attempted to go to the food bank and fallen on his way home. We also provided a fuel voucher and applied for PIP. Within a week his award was made.
We continued to help until all his benefits were in payment. We suggested to our client that he ask for an occupational health assessment of his home to make it safer as he was continually falling due to his deteriorating sight.
The gentleman had an increase in his income of £930.44, a huge accomplishment for the team. He told us how much he appreciated our help by saying he was ‘overwhelmed with the help he had received’.
Julie, Murphy, Technical & Quality (Welfare)/Research & Campaigns Lead, Citizens Advice Wirral
Learn more about Citizens Advice Wirral’s good news story
The biggest challenge we have faced is the transition to working from home. It has been difficult to support clients remotely whilst also keeping our advisers up to date with changes and new policies.
We chose the Benefit and Budgeting Calculator because we needed a way to make sure that we provide accurate benefit checks for our clients, whether they are either thinking about changing benefits, or have recently become unemployed or fallen sick.
We use the Benefit and Budgeting Calculator before offering any advice to our clients, to ensure we are optimising their income as much as possible.
We have prevented clients from losing hundreds of pounds a month by giving them their best option.
We also provide ‘what if’ scenarios for people considering a change in hours of employment or a move to a different location.
Our Help to Claim team have used the software to ensure that clients are provided with a realistic expectation of what they may receive on Universal Credit and that they’ve been able to accurately compare Universal Credit to the legacy system when providing advice.
The Benefit and Budgeting Calculator makes it much quicker to do calculations and the tooltips make it easy to use, meaning we only need to train people once. The simplicity of the calculator means that clients can often self serve with little support.