52 year old Chrissie was living with her 24 year old son in Shropshire, and working part time was earning around £6,000-£7,000 a year. She was claiming Housing Benefit, but her low income meant that it was “pretty tough” to make ends meet and was using her savings for everyday living costs, in particular to help pay her rent and Council Tax. Chrissie says “everything was carefully budgeted for” from her savings, so although she was able to afford her bills and heat her home there was no extra money left over, so she decided to increase her hours at work.
However, this change to her working hours meant that she was contacted by her Local Authority, informing her that the change to her situation meant that she was no longer eligible for Housing Benefit, and her payments stopped. Feeling “fairly down”, she was considering going to her Housing Association “cap in hand” to say, “I can’t afford the rent, either that or we can’t afford to eat”, but when someone recommended Turn2us she decided to try their services first.
Filling in details on the “easy to use” Benefits Calculator on the website she discovered that she was actually still eligible for Housing Benefit. Chrissie also used the Grants Search Tool whilst on the Turn2us website, but couldn’t find anything relevant to her which she says was “a little bit frustrating” although understands that “that’s life”.
Nonetheless, finding out that her Housing Benefit had been incorrectly stopped provided a “glimmer of hope” and triggered her to “go back to the benefits and say ‘hang on a sec, can I have another form?’”. Chrissie was pleased that the information provided by Turn2us was accurate and her re-application was successful. She has since been receiving £54 a week, which covers “about half the rent”, and this boost in income means that life is “less stressful” as she says, “I don’t have to worry about keeping a roof over our heads”.
Looking to the future, Chrissie is a little concerned that she may need to look for a smaller house once her son leaves home in order to avoid the “bedroom tax”, but says that “we’re happy to go with the status quo for now”.
In the meantime, she has already recommended Turn2us to friends and family who are “struggling”, and has also suggested it as a good way to predict how a change in circumstance might affect their finances, as it would allow them to “compare their circumstance with what would happen if they took various paths”. She says of her own involvement with Turn2us, “I can’t find anything negative about it, it was a whole positive experience”.