Terry* was first referred to Money A+E in November by his social housing landlord, for support with rent arrears of around £700.
A 55-year-old self-employed rail industry professional, the Covid-19 pandemic was the first time that Terry had been unemployed for a significant period.
As well as no hours being available, his health conditions (sarcoidosis and COPD) have gotten worse during the pandemic and also reduced his mobility. Classed as high risk, he has spent many months indoors and describes himself as feeling ‘down, very down’.
His Money Coach, Anna, focused first of all on reducing the pressures on Terry’s budget. This included applying for the Council tax single occupancy reduction and a 50% reduction on his water bills.
She also recognised the immediate need for Terry to receive an income, and supported him with Universal Credit and PIP applications (which at times Terry found challenging). A £250 grant from the Money A+E Community Fund helped him to cover household costs while he waited for his first Universal Credit payment.
Terry uses his phone to top up his energy, choosing this over a monthly bill for its flexibility to make payments in line with his earnings. He had been unaware of the Warm Home Discount, and with support received this £133 reduction on his gas and electricity account.
Terry is looking forward to the end of the pandemic and being able to spend time with his grandchildren again. For now, he describes feeling less stressed about money as a result of the support he received.
‘It took some weight off my shoulders…I worry about things like this – like money and all that. I normally just bottle it up…And now there’s someone on the other end of the phone where I can talk to. It’s a great help.’
Service funded by the British Gas Energy Trust
Occupation: Railway industry professional
Lives with: Alone; adult children live nearby
Employment status: Self-employed; unable to work since Covid-19 due to health conditions and lack of hours
Total financial gains: £16,916.72
Support received from Money A+E included: Universal Credit application, Warm Home Discount, discount with Thames Water, Money A+E Community Fund grant
Figures are correct at time of writing (Dec 2020) and may be approximate
*Name has been changed
All photos are stock images