Steven had been looking for work for several years, but had not been able to find a job. Living at home with his parents, Steven says his mum was understanding about his situation and didn’t expect him to pay rent, but even so the feeling that he was “a drain on the house and not putting anything in” lowered his mood. Over time, his financial and personal situation became so stressful that his mood dropped further and his doctor diagnosed him with depression.
No longer eligible to claim for Jobseeker’s Allowance, an adviser at the local job centre suggested that he contact the Citizen’s Advice bureau to see what his options were for claiming other benefits. Told about Turn2us by the Citizen’s Advice bureau, Steven says, “I’d never heard of this service before, but as soon as I was given the number, I contacted Turn2us, and it was amazing”.
Calling the Turn2us helpline, Steven spoke to a “patient and friendly” adviser who went through all his options with him. Using the Benefits Calculator to assess his situation, the advisor suggested that he would be eligible for Employment Support Allowance (ESA) which provides financial support for those who are unable to work through illness or disability. Steven says the Turn2us adviser was “brilliant and made everything crystal clear” by giving him all the information he needed including relevant phone numbers and even highlighting potential areas that could slow the process, so that his application could be as smooth as possible. Feeling like “someone was on my side for a change”, Steven applied for ESA the very next day.
A successful claim means that Steven now receives £114 in ESA every fortnight which he describes as “an immense help”. Being able to contribute to the household means that Steven feels more independent, which has helped alleviate the stress he was feeling.
Steven is now feeling more positive about the future and says: “Without Turn2us, I would have been stuck in the house with no money, getting worse and worse, but now I’m feeling a bit more empowered and a less helpless. In fact, he is already feeling a little better and thinks that soon he should be well enough to start looking for a job again.
Steven would recommend Turn2us to anyone, saying: “It’s such a good service, it’s quick, it’s easy and it tells you exactly what you’re entitled to. If you need help, Turn2us is dedicated to getting you that help.”
Our research released as part of the #BenefitsAware Campaign found that almost half (48%) of low income households are not claiming the welfare benefits and tax credits they could be entitled to. This is despite the fact that a huge 87% of this group have seen no improvement to their financial situation over the last year.
Our findings uncover some of the reasons why these low income households may not be claiming this support with nearly three-fifths (57%) of those not receiving this support saying they had been deterred from checking or claiming potential benefits entitlements because they did not think they would be eligible.
If you are on a low income, use our website tools and find out what financial support is available to you.
You can use our free Benefits Calculator to check your latest welfare benefits entitlements. Even if you have checked your benefit entitlements in the past, it is worth checking again, especially if there has been a change in your circumstances.
If you’re struggling, you can also check if you might be eligible for a charitable grant or other support by using the Turn2us Grants Search.
You may find the information in the Ill, Injured or Disabled section of our website useful. This includes information on Personal Independence Payment and Employment and Support Allowance
The Your situation information section has resources to help you if you are also struggling with other life situations, such as help with housing costs and bringing up a child. There is also a carers information section.