Felicity, a single mother of three, was living in London and had been running her own shop as a self-employed florist for 10 years. However, when the lease on her shop came to an end, Felicity decided to try working from home.
Unfortunately sales plummeted without the shop front and the family was left with a virtually non-existent income.
Despite not having claimed for benefits for 20 years, Felicity decided to apply for Working Tax Credits. Although this provided her with an extra £600 a month, with a mortgage of nearly £500 a month as well as other bills such as electricity and gas, Felicity was soon in debt and had to cut back on essentials such as food. With no money to pay for her meter, the family was left without lighting several times. Mounting mortgage and Council Tax arrears also left Felicity feeling worried and stressed that she might lose her house.
Searching the internet for advice about additional help, Felicity came across the website for Turn2Us. Using the Benefits Calculator, Felicity realised that she was entitled to several benefits and decided to apply for them.
Thanks to Turn2us, Felicity now receives around £1,200 a month in benefits including Child Tax Credit, Council Tax Support and Jobseeker’s Allowance.
Without benefits, Felicity says that “my house would have been repossessed by now”. Now, feeling happier, less stressed and relaxed, Felicity feels reassured to know that she will have a certain income each month. She is now able to buy better food for her children, as well as new items for the house such as a boiler and TV as well as saving for future emergencies. Felicity is also now looking to change careers and, because she is receiving benefits, is able to take a training course for free.
Felicity recommends Turn2us to others because the website is “self-explanatory” and says that her experience with the charity was “really good, it really worked for me”.
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. The ‘In work - on a low income' section of our website has information about help you find out what you might be eligible for, including Working Tax Credit.
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.