The following two case studies have been anonymised , but highlight some recent work supporting two network members with fuel poverty and cost of living issues.
Fuel Poverty & Cost of Living Case Study 1
C is a member of one of our Forth Valley Networks. She lives in a council tenancy and claims Universal Credit and Disability payment. The cost of living crisis has been a challenge for many of our members, including C.
C’s income requires careful budgeting to ensure she has sufficient funds each month to cover her bills and living essentials costs. Her Community Living Worker has been supporting C to pay her bills and manage food and other costs. This has been achieved by supporting C to create a monthly budget planner which C now independently completes. This includes her benefits payment dates and bill payment dates.
Some debt has accrued on C’s gas meter, partially caused by the transfer of suppliers when her supplier went out of business. C’s learning disability affects her reading and understanding, and she had found it difficult to explain issues over the telephone with energy suppliers. Over the past 6 months, the Community Living Worker has supported C to link with the Welfare Benefits Team at her local council and now manageable monthly payments have been scheduled to pay off her debt and adequate funds are being paid to her energy accounts to prevent future debt being accrued.
We have supported C to be in a more financially stable position. The cost of living crisis will continue to be a challenge for C, however her Community Living Worker will continue to support C to monitor and manage her finances and advocate for support as required.
Fuel Poverty & Cost of Living Case Study 2
D joined Neighbourhood Networks 4 months ago. D reported that he was struggling financially and as a result we carried out a financial assessment. It was identified that he was finding it difficult to manage his ongoing monthly costs including internet, mobile phone, gas, and electric top ups and buying food.
We supported D with a benefits check, and it was ascertained he was only in receipt of universal credit and receiving a fortnightly payment of £180. D has a diagnosed learning disability and a recent assessment found it would be difficult for him to work and that he should be receiving some form of disability payment. A new Scottish Disability Benefit claim was made immediately for D. There is a high demand for this new benefit and there is a significant backlog of applications, with some claims are taking several months to process.
While his application for disability benefit was pending, an application made to the Neighbourhood Networks Technical Fund was successful, where he was provided with mobile phone and a sim card which provides him with unlimited calls, texts and internet. We also supported D to contact his energy provider and he was given an emergency top up on his electric as he had run out of credit. D was given a one-off payment to cover him till his next pay day.
We supported D to contact the local foodbank and has been receiving weekly parcels to help him until his benefit claim has been processed. D also applied for a clothing grant from the local food bank, and he was provided with £50 to buy new clothes.
We support D to keep on top of his finances by helping him to download the TSB banking app to his mobile phone along with the app for his utility company. He is now able to top ups to his gas/electric meters online and keep on top of his account balance.