When you can’t work because of illness or disability, it’s possible to end up penniless because of complicated or poorly run DWP health assessments. Without the Money Skills Project, Oksana would have been left in poverty, debt and probably homeless.
Oksana, 42, came from Lithuania 7 years ago. She worked in hard manual jobs, mainly factories and fish production. Over time she developed back pain and could barely walk. She also developed severe carpal tunnel syndrome. Forced to give up work, her mental health began to suffer due to the pain, poverty and isolation.
When Oksana came to us, she had no money. Her Adviser, Marina, helped her get Employment & Support Allowance (ESA), Personal Independence Payments and Housing Benefit. 7 months later, Oksana failed a DWP medical examination and her ESA was stopped. Marina got her a crisis grant from the Scottish Welfare Fund, gathered medical evidence for a Mandatory Reconsideration, applied for Jobseekers Allowance and kept her Housing Benefit going. When the Mandatory Reconsideration was refused, we helped her appeal to the Tribunal. Six months later, Oksana won the appeal and her ESA and disability premium were reinstated and backdated.
All the help and advice I got, so quickly and efficiently, meant I didn’t get into rent arrears. But it’s not just a great service. You made me feel comfortable and listened to!