Do you know what government benefits or financial support you’re entitled to?
Every year, billions of pounds worth of benefits go unclaimed. Many people don’t know they are entitled to benefits. Others don’t fully understand the ins and outs of the benefits they receive. That’s why it’s always worth checking what’s available to you. But it’s not always easy to know where to start.
When IncomeMax first spoke to Mrs R, she was receiving Contribution-Based Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Personal Independence Payment (PIP). She was referred to us by her energy supplier, OVO Energy.
When we went through her details, we noticed that Mrs R could apply for the income-related top-up for ESA. This would increase her income. But after applying, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) told her she wasn’t eligible for this benefit. We knew this was wrong, so we fought her corner to ensure she gets all the money she’s entitled to.
Mrs R is 60 years old. She lives by herself and has many complex health conditions, including anxiety, physical health and mental health problems.
When we ran Mrs R’s Benefit Entitlement Check, we noticed she was getting a Personal Independence Payment (PIP). This was made up of the standard rate for daily living and the enhanced rate for mobility. Nobody was claiming Carer’s Allowance for looking after Mrs R. As Mrs R wasn’t expecting to get any other income in the future (for example, a personal or occupational pension), we knew that she could apply for the income-related top-up for ESA.
We set up a conference call with the DWP and asked them to send Mrs R the application form. But they told us that Mrs R couldn’t apply for this benefit. We knew this advice was wrong - so we insisted they send her the form. After a week, she still hadn’t received it. We chased the DWP again. They eventually agreed to send the form, and we helped Mrs R to fill it in and send it back.
A few weeks later, Mrs R was told by the DWP that her application had been rejected. She was very upset, but we knew the advice she had received was wrong. So we did some more research and wrote an appeal later on her behalf. In our letter, we explained that Mrs R was applying for a supersession, not a new claim.
Our appeal letter did the trick, and Mrs R’s application was reconsidered. As a result, Mrs R received the income-related top-up of £87.15 per week, awarded from March YEAR? She was given a backdated payment of £1,700 - but we knew there was still more work to be done.
We submitted another appeal letter, including bank statements and letters from Mrs R’s doctors. After a few more calls, Mrs R was shocked but delighted to receive a backdated payment from 2015. This took her total payment up to £31,828.
Do you claim benefits or other financial support from the government? Knowing what benefits you’re entitled to can be a minefield. If you’re struggling to pay the bills, it’s always worth checking you’re receiving all the benefits you’re entitled to.
We want to help you take control of your finances. We aim to help every vulnerable customer and low-income family in the UK to maximise their income. By doing so, we hope to improve people’s mental and financial well-being.
IncomeMax provides independent personal money advice. We find new income for over 70% of our customers. If we think you can claim anything else, we’ll keep helping for as long as it takes.
Want to take control of your finances? Ask your energy company, water supplier, bank, building society or debt advice provider to refer you to IncomeMax. If they’re part of our network, you’ll be able to access our personal money advice services.
After you’ve been referred, we’ll link you up to a Case Handler. They will look at ways to increase your income, reduce your outgoings and pay off any problem debts. And if you’re worried about making phone calls, completing claims forms or challenging incorrect benefits decisions, we’re on hand to help with all this too.