“I would go to bed worrying and wake up worrying about money” – financial support when it matters

As part of Customer Service week, we’re looking at the different ways we support customers maintain their tenancies through safe, modern and reliable customer services.

Our financial wellbeing and welfare reform teams support people by giving guidance on how to budget money and how to cut down on arrears.

Case study 1

Financial wellbeing officer Kirsty Reade Blake recently helped one Dorset family who had built up arrears in Housing Benefit, Council Tax, Tax Credits, Universal Credit and Wessex Water payments.

They were shown how to budget each month, helped to cut their £800 a month food bill and given advice on get on top of their bills.

They are now out of arrears and have even saved £500 for their wedding, something they had never been able to do to until now.

Thanking Kirsty, our customer said: “To anyone in the same situation as we were I’d say to pick up the phone and seek some support. You can put it to the back of your mind but it won’t go away, it’ll just get worse.

“I would go to bed worrying and wake up worrying about money and that has gone now. Instead each month we look at what bills we’ve got coming up, put the money aside and go from there.

“We’re also now able to plan for a wedding and we’d like to move soon.

“Thank you so much to Kirsty for her help, working through everything with us and helping us sort it all out.”

Case study 2

“We’re really grateful for the help we got. I’d encourage everyone to do a benefit check - because you don’t know what you might be losing out on.” - These are the words of one of our customers recently helped by our team to understand Universal Credit and access £670 of extra support each month.

Our Money Advice Tool was used by our finance team to support our customers navigating Universal Credit.

Customer accounts officer Alison Read recently helped our customers, Mr and Mrs B to get the right amount of money each month for their young family.

They got in touch after Mrs B started a new job which changed their housing benefit allowance. When, after a few weeks the role stopped, they were told by an advisor at Universal Credit that their benefits would only be £40 a month, compared to previous legacy benefits of £710.

The family was worried about how they were going to pay their rent and got in touch with us to share their concerns.

Alison used the Money Advice Tool and re-calculated their new Universal Credit entitlement to be £710, the same as they were receiving in the past through legacy benefits of child tax credits, working tax credits and housing benefit.

Mr B said: “We’re really grateful for the help we got and would encourage everyone to do a benefit check with the team because you don’t know wat you might be losing out on.

“Due to the results of the calculation we could make the right decision about Universal Credit, and we’re now better off.”

To find out how we can support you, please call 0333 400 8222.

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