Support to Success – Financial inclusion

Support to Success – Financial Inclusioncredit union

The financial Inclusion team offer crisis prevention support to customers who are in or at risk of financial hardship.

Over the course of the year, we have visited a number of customers who receive a care package from Adult Social Services. In doing so, we have been able to maximise their income by securing additional benefits or help to increase the contributions they can receive towards the costs of their care. We have also assisted customers to apply to charities and grants for items that will make everyday tasks easier.  Where required, we have offered advocacy to help customers understand their bills and correspond with their suppliers to get a better deal.  The case studies, below, illustrate how we have helped to make a difference:

Case Study 1

Ms R is an 87 year old lady who requires care due to her limited mobility. The Financial Inclusion Team carried out a visit because the costs of her care package had increased, and she was considering cancelling it due to affordability. At this visit, details of her disability related expenditure were established which reduced her contribution towards the cost of her care and this ensured Ms R could continue to receive care at an affordable rate. The team were also able to reduce her council tax banding which reduced how much she had to pay towards her Council Tax.

Case Study 2

Mr G is a gentleman approaching pensionable age who has numerous medical conditions. The team carried out a visit to establish how much support Mr G could get towards the cost of his care. During the visit, Mr G explained how he was having difficulties getting in and out of the property. Following this, the officer made a referral to an occupational therapist and grab rails and a ramp were fitted to support Mr G’s mobility.

Case Study 3

Mr S suffers from severe arthritis and was under-going radiotherapy to treat cancer. The team carried out a visit to identify what support he could receive towards the cost of his care. Mr S wasn’t aware he could make a claim for attendance allowance to help with personal care and a single person discount for council tax. By co-ordinating support on these issues, Mr S was able to secure attendance allowance at the higher rate and was able to secure a council tax refund that enabled him to replace much needed equipment to help with his mobility issues.

During the visit, it was identified that Mr S was without a fridge and washing machine, therefore, making everyday tasks difficult given his health. The officer was able to assist Mr S to secure these items through the Council’s Local Welfare Provision scheme. Moreover, by discussing his disability needs, the officer was able to help him communicate additional disability related expenditure that could be taken into account when calculating the contribution towards the costs of his care.

Case Study 4

Ms W is a lone parent of a very young child. The customer contacted the team as she was without fuel. A holistic assessment of her circumstances revealed she had not registered with her energy company, was being charged for the previous tenant’s debt, and continued to be charged despite notifying the provider. By advocating on her behalf, the energy company agreed to clear her arrears and offer £50 as a gesture of good will. In the meantime, Ms W received a fuel top up from the Council’s Local Welfare Provision scheme to ensure she was able to heat her home and cook over the next couple of days.

To highlight all of the available support to customers and how they can prepare for the roll out of the new benefits system, we have produced a series of leaflets, which advise people on: opening a bank account, help with debt, budgeting and getting into work, online and healthier. All of this information is available on http://solihull.mylifeportal.co.uk/supporttosuccess/ or call the Financial Inclusion Team on 0121 704 6202 or email localwelfareprovision@solihull.gov.uk for further information.