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Charlotte’s story

Charlotte and her husband were living in London in a home owned by her parents. Following the birth of their daughter, Charlotte began to suffer from post-natal depression and severe back pain. Although she sought professional treatment, her medication did little to ease the symptoms which made it difficult for her to leave the house and taking care of the baby was a struggle. Despite her health, she kept working one day a week, whilst being supported at home by her husband who was unemployed at the time.

Although her parents weren’t charging the couple any rent, Charlotte’s modest annual income of £7,000 was only enough to cover the bare basics. They were unable to afford anything new for the baby or any childcare to give them a rest. She says, “£7k a year is enough to cover food and we were very, very careful…we haven’t bought anything for our baby. Everything was second hand or donated by people”.

With their limited income and Charlotte’s ill health, the couple found the situation difficult. she says, “we were able to make ends meet financially, but it was terrible”.

Charlotte sought help from Home-Start, a charity which supports families with young children, and the local Citizens Advice bureau. Both recommended searching online for financial support. Following this advice, Charlotte searched the internet, using the term ‘benefits calculator’ and came across the Turn2us website.

Charlotte found the Benefits Calculator simple to use and “intuitive”. It highlighted that they were entitled to Child Tax Credit, Child Benefit and Working Tax Credit if both herself and her husband worked for at least 16 hours a week.

After increasing her hours, and with Charlotte’s husband finding a part-time job, the family started to receive £82 a month Child Benefit and £120 a week in Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit. The combined extra income means they can now afford nursery costs for their baby two days a week which has made a “huge” difference to Charlotte’s wellbeing, as well as giving the couple more free time to look for other jobs which offer more hours.

Charlotte and her husband are hoping to move into their own home once they have secured full-time work. Without Turn2us, she says, they would have approached the Citizen’s Advice bureau again or tried another benefits calculator. However Charlotte highly recommends Turn2us. She comments, “if you use Turn2us, it just clarifies it and makes it all so much simpler”.

Henry’s story

Henry lives with his 16 year-old son in their rented housing association flat. Henry was working as an administrator 16 hours a week, earning minimum wage, which meant that money was always tight.

Believing that he might be entitled to Income Support, Henry had tried to apply with no luck. He says: “The thing is I had asked many, many times, various government departments and got nowhere.” With such a limited budget, Henry found it difficult to afford their outgoings. Paying bills was a struggle and he found himself turning to friends for financial support, he says: “I needed assistance; it was only because of friends we made it through and survived.”

In another attempt to find out what he was entitled to, Henry spoke to his local housing association which suggested he contact Turn2us. Following their advice, he telephoned the Turn2us helpline.

The Turn2us adviser took him through the Benefits Calculator and informed him he was entitled to Income Support and Child Benefit. Henry was very pleased with the service he received, saying: “I’ve got to be honest and say there was nothing but help and assistance all the way down the line. If it’s marked out of ten, I’d put ten down for everything that they’ve done for me.”

Once Henry’s applications for Income Support and Child Benefit were accepted, he received £1500 in backdated payments over the first two months - and now receives regular monthly payments. Henry says receiving this additional income has made a “tremendous difference” to his situation. Now he can afford the household outgoings more easily, he says, “It is making life for me and my son a little bit easier.”

Without Turn2us, Henry would have continued to struggle on with some help from their friends, he says, “It would not have been easy... I’m now able to provide a little bit more for my son.” Henry is thankful for the help from Turn2us. He would recommend them to "anyone and everyone", he says: “Honestly, what they have done in help and assistance, all I can say is 100%, thank you. I think they’re absolutely brilliant.”

If you would like to share your story, please email us and we will get in touch.