Support - Advice - Finance - Education

Our SAFE support workers are here to support those who are facing financial difficulty or need help navigating the welfare system 

Success Story 1.

Client L was referred to CFINE through Barnardos, a children’s charity had been working closely with L and his undiagnosed Autistic child, S. L and S had been in temporary accommodation since February, due to the breakdown of a relationship.  L, the father, has had numerous difficulties with finances in the past: owning his own business and eventually going bankrupt.  He has various debts, including rent arrears and council tax.  This has been an issue when trying to find him appropriate housing.  L and S were receiving support from the local Social work services until October. The support was then provided by Barnardos. 

CFINE received a call from Barnardos in early November; they had heard about the S.A.F.E. services on offer at CFINE. Whilst visiting L & S, the S.A.F.E. support worker performed a benefit check.  L had been living off £73.10 Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA) from February till October, after being moved from Employment Support Allowance (ESA) onto JSA.  He was also receiving £60 per week Child tax credits. 

The S.A.F.E. support worker advised that L should be receiving DLA (Disability Living Allowance) for his child. He was completely unaware that he could apply for this benefit to help with the extra care needed for S.  The S.A.F.E. support worker has referred S to various Autistic charities in the city to try and help find some form of education and activities to increase his personal development. 

S is now receiving 2 days out a week doing various sporting activities whilst learning simple maths.  This has been a great help for both father and son, helping S develop and giving his father some much needed time to relax.

In January, L receives letters confirming the Department of Work and Pension’s benefit decisions.  It was all good news, L is now receiving £416 DLA per month to help with the upbringing of his son.  He has had his ESA reinstated to the maximum amount of £102.15.  This is an extra £29.00 compared to the JSA, L was receiving. 

In conclusion, it is known that the council run a very good benefit/finance assessment service, known as the Financial Inclusion Team, based at Marischal College. It is a concern to believe that social work has not considered referring clients like L & S internally to the Financial Inclusion Team at the local council.  This help in February could have made a huge difference to the lives of L & S.


Success Story 2.

Mr A came to the food bank for assistance in April, as he had not been in receipt of any benefits since January. Mr A should have been able to claim Employment and Support Allowance but as he is deaf he was unable to answer calls from the Department of Work and Pension or call them regarding appointments he needed to attend for his claim. Mr A had no support in the city because his family live elsewhere.

Mr A turned to CFINE’s S.A.F.E. team for assistance in communicating with the Department of Work and Pension and filling in claim forms for his benefits. Mr A had his benefit reinstated and received a back-dated payment after completing a successful claim with the S.A.F.E. support worker.  

Success Story 3. – WARNING, this content may be disturbing for some individuals

In November, CFINE’S S.A.F.E. team received a referral from the Scottish Association of Mental Health.  This individual had been refused Personal Independence Payment (PIP).  The claimant suffered from a variety of issues linked to an awful criminal experience.  Her mental health problems have spiralled out of control and she will never leave the house if possible.  For visits to the doctors, she must get a taxi and will only use the 1 taxi driver that she is friends with.

She self-harms to a degree that the S.A.F.E. support workers have never seen before.  Whilst psyching herself up to go to appointments, she will carve out parts of her skin on her hips and arms.  Also pulling out her own toenails with various tools.  Shaving her head happens regularly also.

When her depression takes hold, she will cabin up in bed for 6 weeks at a time.

S.A.F.E. had to make a tough decision about the process to combat the Personal Independence Payment decision.  Do we go to appeal, before a panel of 3 judges or do we try and apply for PIP again?  After an in-depth discussion, we decide to make a full new claim as the appeals process could be incredibly damaging to her mental health.  This has undoubtedly cost the individual money, but due to stress, this is the best way forward.

Once the forms are submitted, we go for a medical.  The assessment was very good and in depth.  It lasted almost 1hour and 30mins.  This is highly unusual as these assessments are strictly around 45mins.

When the results came in, the client could not be happier, as she had been awarded PIP. She will receive £18,000+ over the next 3 years to help her. The money has made a huge difference to the family.