A tenant who lives in General Needs Accommodation was referred by the IO for a Benefit Check and review of circumstances after succeeding a tenancy following the death of their spouse and falling into arrears. The IO was concerned as the tenant reported that they had no support at home to assist with benefits/claims.
The WAO spoke with the tenant who was very distressed as their spouse had previously dealt with all their finances and they did not know where to begin. They had no income as their benefits stopped because of his death and she had £100 in the bank.
The WAO referred her for a payment from the Radius support fund to address her immediate need and followed up with a home visit and discussed her options re benefits and entitlement and supported her to make a UC claim. The tenant also reported poor health which she has had for several years. They had made a claim for PIP a few years ago but had been unsuccessful and did not appeal at this time.
The tenant reported that they had little money due to funeral costs for their spouse. They were unaware of the Funeral Expenses Payment- they agreed to support in claiming this.
The WAO worked with the tenant to assist with a budgeting plan so that they could manage their finances with confidence and independence.
With progressing contact and engagement, the tenant reported that their husband had life insurance, and that the insurers did not pay out due to a disclaimer and non-declarations on their side. With her consent she asked the WAO to review this for her. The WAO wrote to the financial ombudsman as they felt that the Insurer had not acted in good faith and erred in a point of Law.
The WAO made her aware that if this was successful she could receive a lump sum which potentially could negate an entitlement to UC as it would be over the £16,000 savings threshold- however as this payment would fall under exclusions in UC law- this would be classed as an exclusion.
Tenant decided to make a PIP claim and the WAO assisted them with this from claiming to attendance at Medical Assessment.
Tenant received her full housing costs paid through UC at a total of £477.24pcm and rate rebate at a total of £52.47pcm. UC received for themselves in addition to their housing costs of £758.80pcm.
They also received a one-off funeral payment of £1000 for Funeral expenses.
PIP awarded at a rate of Enhanced Rate Daily Living and Enhanced Rate mobility totalling an extra £748.58pcm. The WAO have assisted with completing a Blue Badge form due to automatic entitlement as a result of obtaining PIP.
The tenant is better off by £24,445.08/annum and was able to address arrears.
The Financial Ombudsman has come back with the decision that the Insurance Firm did make an error in law and therefore the tenant was awarded a lump sum payment of £85,000. The WAO contacted UC with the tenant when this was awarded and made them aware of the exclusion mitigations and they have not included it in their capital assessments.
This case has taken nearly 1 year from the beginning to its conclusion last month. The tenant is delighted as they reported that they are able to feel that they have financial stability and can sustain their tenancy, which they feel could not have been achieved if the Income Officer had not identified their difficulties and made a referral.
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