The Saffron Resource Centre has provided a free and independent advice, information and advocacy service for over thirty years. We hold the ‘Advice Quality Standard’ for General Help with Casework in welfare benefits, and also provide general help with debt, housing, consumer, employment, and community care issues.
Our advice workers provide an holistic service, because we’ve identified that clients often need help to resolve several interlinked problems. In 2012 we provided 1,186 appointments and helped 558 new clients. The majority of enquiries (74%) related to welfare benefits, particularly sickness and disability benefits, and 28 cases involved us advocating on behalf of clients at Social Security Tribunals. Money problems accounted for 13% of enquiries, housing 6%, consumer 2%, community care 3%, and employment 2%.
With the help of our receptionist, we also provided telephone advice, leaflets and benefit application forms on a further 2,443 occasions, and an average of four people a day use our phone to make contact with the Jobcentre.
By providing personally tailored advice packages, the Saffron Resource Centre helps clients to exercise their rights and responsibilities in all areas of their lives, and to claim over £650,000 in welfare benefits each year.
Nadine has twin daughters aged 9 both of whom have a multitude of health conditions including learning difficulties, respiratory problems, faltering growth, and recurrent urinary tract infections. Both girls need a lot of care and attention during the day and night because of their health problems, so we helped Nadine to claim Disability Living Allowance to help with the cost of providing the care.
She was eventually awarded the highest rate of the care component for each child, which, when combined with the additional Child Tax Credit she was also entitled to, increased the family income by more than £16,000 per year. We also made a referral to Social Services for a Care Assessment, and to the Family Fund which provides practical help for families with sick and disabled children.
Peter and June are a retired couple who own their own home. June suffers with emphysema and arthritis, and needs to keep warm. They came to us for advice because their central heating boiler had broken down, and they didn’t have sufficient savings to have it repaired or replaced.
We referred them to the ‘Health Through Warmth’ scheme run by NPower, National Energy Action, and the NHS, and within four months a brand new boiler had been installed, completely free of charge. In addition, we identified that they qualified for Guarantee Pension Credit, which also entitled them to maximum Council Tax Benefit.
Elizabeth was very distressed because she was worried about losing her home. Her husband is disabled, she had recently given up work, and they were struggling to pay their mortgage and utility bills. Fortunately, we were able to identify several interventions that would help.
The first thing we did was to up-date their Tax Codes because they were both paying tax on occupational pensions that they weren’t liable to pay. We then submitted claims for Pension Credit and Carers Allowance, which also entitled them to Council Tax Benefit. Overall their income has increased by £96.52 a week, and we’re currently challenging a Working Tax Credit overpayment decision and seeking a Payment Protection Insurance refund from their bank.
John is a retired gentleman who lives with his learning disabled wife and son. He originally came to us because he had been tricked into paying £195 by a company claiming they could help him recover Payment Protection Insurance payments (PPI). We helped him get the £195 refunded through the County Court, and also submitted a PPI claim to the Financial Ombudsman Service free of charge – which eventually produced a refund of £3,500.
During this time John was diagnosed with cancer. He was awarded Attendance Allowance, and we helped his wife Christine to claim Carers Allowance for looking after him. Despite their learning disabilities, Christine and her son had never claimed any disability benefits for themselves, so we helped them to claim Disability Living Allowance.
These measures have increased the family’s income by £102.63 a week, and we have also helped put John’s mind at rest about how his wife will cope in the event of his death, by putting his affairs in order and helping to arrange a funeral pre-payment plan.
Anthony had mortgage arrears in excess of £12,000, and came to see us two days before he was due to be evicted. He was living alone following a relationship breakdown, and was struggling to cope emotionally as well as financially.
We completed an emergency application to the County Court requesting the repossession be set aside, and helped him prepare a realistic repayment plan that was accepted by the court and enabled him to stay in his home. We also negotiated manageable payment plans with several other creditors on his behalf, and encouraged him to visit his GP for support to manage his depression.
For more information or to book an
appointment please contact us
on 0116 2831765 or email