Text for Benefits Advice
Text for Benefits Advice
For one Together Housing resident, a simple text message was all it took to get the benefits advice he needed.
At the start of the coronavirus crisis, a Together Housing resident in Halifax, Richard, 53, (name changed to protect resident’s identity), left his job as a cleaner for health reasons. Last year, he was in hospital 30 times.
“I began 12 weeks of shielding as I’m at high risk due to my serious health problems,” said Richard, “but I didn’t know how I was going to manage financially. I had PIP set up already, but I needed to get more money in to pay my rent. I was really afraid of losing my flat. I would’ve gone to the Jobcentre, but it was closed. I was stuck, didn’t know what to do.”
Then, in early April, Richard received a letter from the Income Team at Together Housing advising him to get in touch if he was struggling to pay his rent. At the bottom of the letter, there was a text number to use to contact Together Housing’s Benefits Team.
“So, I text Benefits Help to 66099,” continued Richard, “Getting in touch by text was great for me as I have a learning disability and get very nervous and muddled up talking to strangers. Sending a text was an easy way for me to ask for help.”
A couple of days later, one of Together Housing’s friendly, expert advisors phoned Richard.
“The advisor was very reassuring,” said Richard, “she said I didn’t need to worry about losing my home, that wasn’t going to happen - it was a big relief to hear that. That calmed me right down. It took all the pressure off straightaway. She said I had done the right thing getting in touch. Just sending that simple text was all I had to do to get the help I needed.”
Richard doesn’t have a computer and cannot access the internet, so the advisor supported him to claim Universal Credit. Richard said: “The advisor was really good. I live on my own and have no internet and have only a simple mobile phone. I use the library to access Universal Credit, but it’s closed due to the coronavirus.”
Looking back, Richard is full of praise for our Benefits Team: “10 out of 10 for your help. You listened to me when I was in a right mess. Over the years, I’ve been fobbed off by different people, probably because I have a disability. For once, someone listened, and you’ve done wonders.”
Like many residents, Richard didn’t know Together Housing has a team of friendly, expert advisors available to provide support with benefit claims. If you are struggling to pay your rent as a result of the coronavirus crisis or whatever the cause, contact Together Housing as soon as possible. We’re here to help.
For benefits advice, text Benefits Help to 66099 and one of our advisors will call you back. For other queries to do with paying your rent, text Rent Help to 66099. Or phone our Customer Service Centre on 0300 555 5560.
For money advice, visit our Rent & Money Toolkit.