Helping someone claim benefits

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  • The system really is shocking at the moment :eek:


    This is the backstory.


    Someone Lithuanian, but paying tax for a couple of years (with pre settled status) is being bullied at work. The inquiry has proven nothing and as such she's had a complete breakdown and taking time off on statutory sick pay while submitting an appeal.


    At the same time the room she rents has damp and it's affecting her physical health.


    I made the suggestion that she go on the sick properly, leave work and get a doctor's note and get on benefits -- unfortunately she's renting for cash, with no tenancy agreement and a landlord refusing to give any evidence so she can claim housing benefit. (he's clearly up to no good).


    She has a history of depression, poor mental health and a diagnosed personality disorder, but this is in Lithuania, and getting the records transferred is another nightmare as they'd also need to be translated.


    She's under 35, which means she can't get more than about £84 for shared accomodation, unless she can get accepted for disability first. If she leaves her damp home, she'd be considered voluntarily homeless.


    Most private landlords don't accept DSS -- and when they do, rents in London are rarely below £500 a month.


    Having done some maths, benefits will probably leave her with less than £50 a week to eat and pay bills -- if she even manages to get benefits!


    It seems the only other option is to claim PIP first, but that takes months and will probably end up in an appeal before she gets anything.


    She also can't go back to LIthuania, because of another financial mess that's waiting for her if she does (not realising she needed to declare "out of country" status, thus owing several years of their equivalent to National Insurance).


    I wish I knew what to advise, but the current system makes Thatcher's Britain seem like a fucking utopia! :rolleyes:

  • Has she considered van life for a bit?

    She can't drive, and she's exceptionally shy -- which is what I think has caused the bullying.


    I've suggested a claim for PIP, which you can do while you work -- if that's successful, it will help her to get other benefits more easily.


    Or, she needs a job where people treat her a bit more kindly!

  • Yeah. Well posted Paul this is the tight end of proper fuck upedness in the UK.


    Reporting the Landlord to the council could be a step toward resolution as could making the local mp aware of the situation.


    Really, really shitty situation that is almost impossible to escape when consumed by mental breakdown.


    The landlord is required by law to provide written acknowledgement of payments recieved.


    One possibility might be to video the exchange of cash and denial of written receipt.



    It should go without saying that a visit to the citizens advice bureau is the where to start.


    A rent book is a legal requirement for this type of tenancy and any landlord would struggle to explain how a tenant has lived in their property without paying lawfully acknowledged rent.


    The landlord can be severly penalised in this situation.

  • It should go without saying that a visit to the citizens advice bureau is the where to start.

    Yesterday we dropped into the local CAB, which states "drop in service" on the website -- when we got there they told us we couldn't be seen as we hadn't turned up at 9.30am to collect a ticket!

    After an hour on the phone, I got through to another branch for advice, who were really worse than useless.


    Most of the useful information I got from the local homelessness office, after sitting in there for a couple of hours -- not that it was enough to get anywhere.

  • I think that, money leaving her account regularly, along with being registered to a GP and working for a year at the same place, will be evidence enough that she lives there.


    The problem is that it's only her and him living in the flat -- she has her room and shares the facilities. As such anything she does to upset the situation, is going to cause extreme conflict, and she simply doesn't have any fight left in her.

    I'm going to research and see what options she has -- like, what criteria would the local authority need to find her a hostel or temp accomodation? Would they consider this as making herself homeless?

  • If it is a cash arrangement then video evidence is the thing.


    If the money leaving her account regularly is cash withdrawals then it is unlikely to be sufficient as evidence.


    Mail recieved at that address and still in hand might hold some weight as evidence but basically she needs to either leave and suffer or stay where she is and claim the benefit and force communication between the landlord and thatcherite benefits system. It means not paying cash in hand for the room and backing up with video evidence and probably involving the police in a civil matter but would demonstrate involuntary homelessness with a clear and official chain of evidence involving state employed witnesses.


    Any written communication from herself to the landlord would also help: texts, email etc.

  • If it is a cash arrangement then video evidence is the thing.

    I've suggested this, and I think she's processing it as a possibility -- with the fear that it will cause more friction.


    The biggest issue is, any claim for housing benefit, will be capped at the under 35s rate for shared accomodation, meaning the shortfall will severely impact the rest of her money.


    For example, the Housing Benefit / Universal Credit rate for a single person under 35 in her borough is capped at about £84 per week, the cheapest rent in a shared house is about £500 a month (£125pw) for a single room, thus meaning she'd lose £40 from the rest of her money.


    That would apply whether she stayed with the same landlord or moved elsewhere.

  • what is the chance her diagnosis/condition would qualify her for PIP?

    Personality disorder diagnosed in Lithuania -- but transferring her medical record and translating it is tricky. The best bet is for her to get a new diagnosis in the UK, which all takes time.


    I suggested a claim for PIP, but from my understanding it takes up to a year to process, get turned down, appeal and so on. If she does get it, it will make all the difference.

    Could she relocate away from London to find cheaper digs?

    Not ideally, she has very few connections here, and none outside of London - and the £83 per week cap applies to most places anyway.

    Has she paid NI contributions in the Uk since leaving Lithuania? Can you clarify any issues with cross EU NI contribution deficit?

    She's been here on and off since 2007 -- this time for almost two years. She has paid tax/NI in the UK for at least seven years in total.


    While she was away, a new law in Lithuania came in, forcing citizens to declare themselves out of the country -- she never realised this, and now owes them a couple of thousand pounds worth of missed payments. She's trying to resolve it, but apparently there's no option to backdate the declaration, even with proof.


    She's currently got "pre-settled status" to be in the UK, as she hasn't been here for 5 years continuously -- so, claiming benefits may cause an issue when she applies for settled status in a couple of years (depending on what the government do).

  • Harping on.... And not ignoring the big issue about the stupidly shitty amount of benefit available.... I do hope that she is receiving bank statements etc in the post to establish, at the very minimum, that her home address is her postal address.


    I'm very unclear on my next point but self reporting a long term diagnosis of a mental health disorder and requesting psychiatric support due to exacerbation of the illness might tick some boxes and get things moving along.


    If she is medicated in any way then this might further help if correctly spun because it is highly likely that the prescriber would want a specialist opinion. The specialist can then possibly and potentially diagnose the disorder without waiting for health records from Lithuania. Slim chance of this but it is a possibility.


    Alternatively she might become so mentally stretched by the system and toxic environments that she loses her shit and causes actual disruption and harm to others.


    Shitty world we inhabit.


    Course the benefit is only stupidly shitty because the rents are so high and we all know where that high rent money goes.

  • Harping on.... And not ignoring the big issue about the stupidly shitty amount of benefit available.... I do hope that she is receiving bank statements etc in the post to establish, at the very minimum, that her home address is her postal address.

    Yes -- her NI number and NHS number, her doctor, employment stuff and all that are all linked to her address.

    I'm very unclear on my next point but self reporting a long term diagnosis of a mental health disorder and requesting psychiatric support due to exacerbation of the illness might tick some boxes and get things moving along.


    If she is medicated in any way then this might further help if correctly spun because it is highly likely that the prescriber would want a specialist opinion. The specialist can then possibly and potentially diagnose the disorder without waiting for health records from Lithuania. Slim chance of this but it is a possibility.

    She's just started a course of antidepressants, and she's already been waiting for psychiatric assessment for nigh on a year -- a ridiculous amount of time.

    Alternatively she might become so mentally stretched by the system and toxic environments that she loses her shit and causes actual disruption and harm to others.

    She admitted herself to A&E the other night on verge of a breakdown - the duty shrink sent a note to her team, asking to speed up the process for talking therapy, thus far to no avail.

    Shitty world we inhabit.

    It certainly can seem like that sometimes.

  • It is a ridiculous amount of time.


    She is signed off as sick by her GP? Or did I misunderstand?


    If signed off then pip application surely cannot be delayed in its early stages. It is though ultimately unlikely to be successful imo. Its morally correct to pursue it but the criteria are unlikely to be met by a mental illness that has not required periods of hospitalisation/sectioning.



    Edit:- ssp plus housing benefit isn't going to work I see. She's done for then. It doesn't look like society has any other options/routes/pathways on offer.


    There is probably no hope and no solution. She gets to live in abject poverty unless medicated highly enough to tolerate many hours of toil in toxic working environments.

  • I discovered the other day, that unless someone has been in the UK continually for 2 years, that they're not entitled to make a PIP claim -- so that leaves her with 6 months to wait.

    Of course, she was here for longer than that several years back, but this rule applies to her current situation :/

  • How about she gets a new job, with accommodation? Hotel work, holiday camps? I worked for a while in the catering dept at a private school in Herts, they had rooms for staff, they were cheap or free, can't remember. It might only be cleaning but it's a wage, nicer colleagues, somewhere to live while she sorts her head out and generally gets on her feet. How about WWOOF or Workaway? Again little money but a roof over her head, nicer colleagues etc.


    Once away from her scumbag landlord a wee phone call to the Inland revenue? how they love private landlords not declaring income.

  • How about she gets a new job, with accommodation? Hotel work, holiday camps? I worked for a while in the catering dept at a private school in Herts, they had rooms for staff, they were cheap or free, can't remember. It might only be cleaning but it's a wage, nicer colleagues, somewhere to live while she sorts her head out and generally gets on her feet. How about WWOOF or Workaway? Again little money but a roof over her head, nicer colleagues etc.


    Once away from her scumbag landlord a wee phone call to the Inland revenue? how they love private landlords not declaring income.

    When I was having some nasty experiences in wales when I was young,a year at butlins in pwllheli was my saviour. Got me away from my problems,got fed and housed and I put aside a little money. The money was crap but it was a new start and what I needed at that time.

    I was taken on as a red coat ( entertainer ) but on getting there I was told that there had been an administritive error and I had to go into catering !!

    A year as a pizza chef and running the pizza shop was not too bad and I had no experience in catering before. so new skills on top of everything else from a good training program :-)


    Maybe she could find a friend to go with !!

  • I think they're good ideas, but part of her personality disorder diagnosis includes social isolation and fear of mixing with people.


    She's kind of OK when her mental state is OK, but right now, during a crisis, she can hardly speak to anyone new.


    It's very frustrating :/

  • Sounds like a rational and sensible person with reasonable reactions to stressors to me Paul.


    Who wants to be fucked over by humanity?..... But it continues to happen and is lawful..... There is no love in that and anyone would seek to hide, run from or kick the shit out of the problem before giving up.


    Why should she give up and give in?

  • Oh **** what a situation!


    Do YOU not have any mates with a spare room?


    There are schemes too, not quite sure who runs them without a bit of investigation, run by people such as disability or age related concerns where in return for a couple of hours help, in the house, shopping, company, anything really but in return they get a room in said persons home rent free. Just a thought!

  • I think they're good ideas, but part of her personality disorder diagnosis includes social isolation and fear of mixing with people.


    She's kind of OK when her mental state is OK, but right now, during a crisis, she can hardly speak to anyone new.


    It's very frustrating :/

    I am sure that it is damnright horrible for her Paul. Do let her know that you have spoke to a few friends and that all the brits that you have spoken with are behind her all the way. May sound like nothing much,but believe me as an expat I know that these little things help. xx