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Tenant “gets life back” thanks to our benefits advice

Tenant “gets life back” thanks to our benefits advice

“All of a sudden my money stopped. I had to use my credit card to try to keep going. After three or four months, I couldn’t put any more on it. I had no money. I couldn’t pay my rent. So I went to Together Housing to explain and that was the start of getting a solution to my money problems.Without their help, I would have been homeless by now.” This is how Dianne Dove, a tenant living in Halifax, describes her life in 2017.

Dianne suffers from several illnesses and should have replied to a letter, which she doesn’t think she ever received, informing her that she was being transferred onto Personal Independence Payment. As Dianne didn’t reply, her benefit payment was stopped. After a few months living off her credit card, Dianne was at crisis point. Letters were arriving about her overdue rent. Bills were mounting up. Dianne’s health problems worsened with all the stress and she feared she would lose her home.

“I was at my wits’ end,” says Dianne, “I thought I was going to lose everything. The Jobcentre kept saying I was getting my benefits and it was all sorted, but it wasn’t, it was a mess and they wouldn’t help me to sort it out.”

Dianne continues; “I went to Together Housing to explain I was trying to sort my benefits problems, and I was really surprised when the receptionist said we have Benefits Advisors here who can help. I didn’t know Together Housing had people who can help with tenants’ benefits. That’s when Christine came into my life and I started to get back on track. She was just amazing. Christine put so much effort into helping me and I felt like an individual person, not just another case. Christine really went the extra mile and got everything sorted. I got back pay so I was able to clear all my rent arrears and I’m now on the correct benefits with no issues.”

Christine also helped Dianne to deal with her credit card debt. “Christine put me in touch with StepChange,” continues Dianne, “and they were really helpful too. By getting StepChange involved, I now pay a lower repayment and it will all be paid off quicker. It’s the most massive relief. I can sleep at night again.”

Christine was really pleased to be able to help Dianne as she is with any tenants who contact Together Housing. Christine says: “The benefits system is very complicated and can easily go wrong for people. Our Welfare Benefits Team has the expert knowledge to advise and assist tenants to maximise their income, ensure they have help to pay their rent if they need it and help keep them in their homes.”

Dianne now recommends Together Housing’s Welfare Benefits Service to friends and neighbours who are struggling with claiming benefits. If you are not receiving the benefits you think you are entitled to, or have other benefits problems, text BENEFITS HELP to 66099 and one of our friendly, expert advisors will contact you, or phone your Customer Service Centre.

Dianne was so grateful to Christine that she bought her two big bunches of flowers! “Christine was really friendly and listened to me when I was close to disaster,” says Dianne. “I thought I was going to be made homeless. I can’t thank her enough. Christine gave me my life back.”

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