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Mrs P is 74, lives alone and suffers from arthritis. She has a Retirement Pension of £90.70 and an occupational pension of £40.00 a week from her late husband. Her total weekly income is only £130.70 and she finds it difficult to manage. She has claimed Housing and Council Tax Benefit; as a result she has to pay a small contribution towards her rent and council tax.
Mrs P seeks advice and claims Pension Credit; she finds she qualifies for £17.05 savings credit. She also applies for Attendance Allowance and successfully receives £67.00 a week. The award of Attendance Allowance also entitles Mrs P to extra amounts in the calculation of her Pension Credit Guarantee Credit. She contacts the pension service and receives an additional £43.70 in Guarantee Credit.
Mrs P total income has now increased by over £127.00 a week in addition to her current weekly income of £130.70. She no longer has to pay any rent or council tax as the guarantee pension credit entitles Mrs P to full Housing/Council Tax Benefit.
Mr S was in his early 60s and in poor health, living on incapacity benefit and a small pension. He sold his property in the south west of England and bought a leasehold property to be nearer to his children. Although he had some savings, he didn’t know how he was going to meet the council tax and service charges when the savings ran out. He was confused and frightened by the benefit system.
We explained to Mr S that he could claim council tax benefit now, he didn’t have to use up all his savings. He could also claim pension credit for help with the service charges. We guided him through the claims, helping him explain his circumstances to the benefit offices. We also claimed supporting people grant on his behalf to cover the support costs of the accommodation.
Mr and Mrs R were claiming housing benefit. Their 20-year-old daughter lived with them and was in full time work, but on a low wage. The housing benefit office reduced their payments by £38 per week, based on the level of the daughter’s earnings. They also said that Mr and Mrs R had been overpaid by almost £2000 because they should have reduced the benefit a year ago when she started work. Mr and Mrs R didn’t know how to cope with this sudden reduction in benefit.
We checked the housing benefit calculation and found that the benefit office had used the wrong income details for Mr and Mrs R’s daughter. We helped write an appeal, pointing out the correct details. The housing benefit office increased Mr and Mrs R’s benefit by £15 per week, and reduced the overpayment by £780. They also agreed to recover the remaining overpayment at a lower rate, so that Mr and Mrs R could cope better with their other bills.