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Ruth is in her sixties and suffers from ill health so is unable to work, while her retired husband is her full-time carer. They rent their home on a combined income of around £800 a month. Ruth receives full Disability Living Allowance (DLA) whilst her husband receives State Pension, Pension Credit and Carer’s Allowance.

With their modest income, paying utility bills and insurance is “a struggle”. They prioritise heating their living room, kitchen and hall but feel they need to wait until it is “really bitter cold” before turning on their heating upstairs. However, with an upcoming operation on her stomach, Ruth was finding herself spending more time in bed as she couldn’t get up from her “low and broken” settee without her husband’s help. Her occupational therapist advised her to buy a raiser recliner chair to aid her recovery, but the pair were unable to afford such a costly new piece of furniture.

Ruth finds help through Turn2us

Ruth’s daughter had often mentioned Turn2us but Ruth had never previously thought it was relevant to her. However, she decided to look at the website.

Although the Benefits Calculator showed that they were not entitled to any further benefits, the Grant Search highlighted several charities that she might be eligible to apply to. Ruth says: “The website is “very easy to use - it’s so easy to see what’s available - everything is explained to you”.

Ruth has since applied for grants from several charities, and has been awarded three one-off grants. The Printing Charity and Bookbinders Charitable Trust both gave her £250 as she qualified due to previous employment in the sector and she also received around £120 from the Elizabeth Finn Fund.

Since receiving the grants, Ruth has been able to buy the brand new raiser recliner chair as recommended by her occupational therapist. She says this has made “a really big difference” and has given her a much better “quality of life”. In fact, now she is using her chair she feels much happier, saying “I’m taking part in day-to-day life” as it is easier to spend more time around her grandchildren when they come to visit.

Without Turn2us, Ruth says she would have "just carried on the way I was, struggling”. She would therefore advise anyone to try Turn2us. She says: “It changes your life, it can turn it around”.

Use the Turn2us online tools to find help

Anyone struggling to pay their bills or confused with the benefits changes can use our free Benefits Calculator and Grants Search to find out what help might be available.

Send us your stories

If you have a story, like Ruth, about how Turn2us has helped you or a loved one, we'd love to hear from you. Please email Emma Lamberton with your name and details.

Coronavirus Information

My child's school is closing due to the coronavirus outbreak. What can I do?

The government has announced that schools will be closing for the majority of students from 20 March 2020.

Children in the following groups will still be able to go to school if their parents choose to send them:

  • The children of key workers
  • Children receiving support from social services
  • Children with disabilities
  • Children with Education Health and Care Plans (EHCPs​)
  • Young carers

If you need to take time off work to care for your children, you should check your employment rights on the ACAS website.

What if I am well but my employer tells me not to work because of the coronavirus outbreak?

This will depend on your contract and is an employment law issue. You may be able to get advice from ACAS on this. You will not be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).

What if I have been in contact with someone with coronavirus and don’t want to go to work and risk infecting my colleagues and customers?

You will only be able to get special help under the coronavirus rules if you are self-isolating in accordance with NHS advice. You can find the current NHS coronavirus advice on the NHS website

What if I am not getting any customers in my self-employed business because of the coronavirus?

You may be able to claim Universal Credit, but you will not be entitled to any special support because of the coronavirus outbreak. You may have the minimum income floor applied to your claim, or you may be required to look for full time-employment.

I’m on a zero-hours contract, will I get paid if I’m told to self isolate?

If you are self-isolating in accordance with NHS guidance and you usually earn at least £120 per week, you should get Statutory Sick Pay even if you are on a zero hours contract.

What if I am homeless with no income so can’t self-isolate and need funds for accommodation?

The government has not published any guidance for what you should do if you are homeless and develop coronavirus symptoms. It would be best to contact your local authority for advice. You should do so by telephone if at all possible.