Supporting tenants with disabilities - debt advice service

Content owner : Last updated : 02/10/15

What was the need and how was it identified?

One of the KNH Debt Advisors had an elderly client referred who was struggling to manage to pay all her household bills and put food on the table for herself and her 25 year old son.

Her son had learning difficulties and had been sanctioned by the DWP on a number of occasions, the latest for 13 weeks. His learning difficulties had not been considered and therefore not factored into his claimant commitment by the job centre advisor. The claimant commitment should be tailored to the individual to reflect their abilities. This had a significant impact on the household budget as no longer received JSA and his mother also faced a non-dependant reduction in her housing benefit.

The extra rent charge placed further strain on his mother's already stretched budget as he obviously had no money and couldn't contribute to the household finances in terms of paying board, helping with food and bills. His mother had to try and feed them both, heat the property and pay all the other bills, but she could no longer afford to do this. The son had applied for a hardship payment but had been refused as the DWP said that his mother could support him financially. Their diet and health was suffering.

What difference have we made?

The Debt Advisor was able to successfully access a hardship payment for him and successfully applied for a Personal Independence Payment for the mother. Help and advice to claim other benefits means that the son can now claim Carers Allowance and move away from Job Seekers and the claimant commitment. Mum now also receives carers allowance for her son.

What outcomes were achieved?

Mum and son are no longer so worried about their finances, which has improved their relationship. They also have more income so can afford to eat properly and heat their home. This has had a positive impact on their health and wellbeing.

What factors were keys to the success of the project?

The skills and knowledge of the member of the Debt Advice team who was able to identify the main issues and through partnership working support the family.

What objectives does the project contribute to?

Kirklees Council

Work with people to increase their income and reduce their cost of living


Challenge - poverty and debt

Quality - work with partners to improve health and well being

Social Housing Equality Framework

3.17 delivering on disability objectives and contributing towards the business plan

3.21 disabled service users are satisfied that we have taken their views into account

Customer Service Excellence

1.1.2 We have developed customer insight about our customer groups to better understand their needs and preferences.

1.1.3 We make particular efforts to identify hard-to-reach and disadvantaged groups and individuals and have developed our services in response to their specific needs.

Disabled tenants visiting

Our debt advisors help around 1300 people each year