Case studies

Daina

Daina Karkovska (39), originally from Latvia, is a single parent of two young children. Daina has been PAIH service user since April 2015 .We had helped her to apply for Disability Living Allowance after her son’s autism was diagnosed.

She was employed in a Care Home and found it difficult to cope with full working hours .She had developed chronic back problems due to heavy weight lifting at work while her son’s condition imposed added pressure on her to be around him. Her DLA award in July 2015 brought Daina an annual income of £2860 . This enabled her to reduce her work hours to 24 hours per week. Her tax credits award almost doubled due to disability element and housing benefit covered her rent on social housing fully.

Our project staff motivated her to improve her knowledge of social security system and upcoming changes so that she could be more confident in dealing with her own financial matters . She attended our financial skills workshop in July 2017 on the subject of Universal Credit and later attended financial capability workshops run by one of our volunteers. Through our Financial literacy workshops she found that she might be eligible for Personal Independence Payment. Daina gathered the confidence to start the claiming process herself in September 2017 by phoning Department of Work and Pensions and arranging for the form to arrive to her address. The claim, although initially refused, was awarded in Tribunal with our assistance,all the way through the dispute process. This gave Daina another £2979 a year.

Daina had to give up her job in September 2017 as her condition deteriorated and she started using crutches. She was getting statutory sick pay from employer which ended in May 2018. We advised Daina to apply for Employment and Support Allowance as despite the treatment and best effort, Daina’s health was not improving. Her back pain had aggravated due to her responsibilities as her son’s carer which involved using physical restraint to prevent her son from danger. Daina had to pass habitual residence test as required by social security law for EU benefit claimants. We advised her about this complex and confusing test. ESA award is currently pending decision with the claim being escalated to DWP escalation team due to delay.

In the meantime, we advised Daina to apply for Carers Allowance to look after her son which brought her £3359 a year. Her annual income increased by £9959 with our intervention and assistance.

A huge thank you for helping me overcome my financial worries - without you I would get nowhere.

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