Cost of living crisis| Story #12
Ms Neet writes about the cost of living crisis is affecting her..
"I live on my own and at 63, I had been unable to attend my 2 jobs for many months due to ill health and my statutory sick pay was about to end.
"I had always worked and lived a modest lifestyle and found myself struggling and anxious about how I would pay my bills and other costs, when Gail from Leeds Federated Money Matters Team helped me access benefits and other services I would not have known about without their help and support.
"I had pre-payment meters with no credit on them and Gail firstly helped me get a £30 voucher from a local charity to put on my meters. Sadly, my employers had to terminate my employment due to my ill health, so Gail visited me and helped me to help me claim Universal Credit. This provided an income for myself, and it made sure my rent was being paid.
"Gail also helped me successfully claim Personal Independence Payment due to my disability, Council Tax Support, and the Government’s £150 Council Tax Refund. This has helped increase my income and she has also helped me to apply for an additional part of Universal Credit for people who are sick and/or disabled, which means, once they have assessed me and successful, I won’t have the worry of looking for work and I can concentrate on my health. It will also increase my income.
"My washing machine broke too and due to my health conditions, I have a lot of laundry and I’m unable to use a launderette due to the cost and lack of mobility. I didn’t have any savings to buy a new washer, so I was helped to access the local welfare support team who assisted me with a washing machine.
"I now use a local community shop I was told about, where I can obtain up to 3 bags of fresh produce and tinned goods for £10 per week which is great value for money and my daughter helps me to access sites like Too Good to Go for other food items throughout the month. Without my Personal Independent Payments, I would be unable to afford to live and my health would worsen.
"This time last year I was putting £40pm each on my gas and electric meters and now I am putting £100 per month on my electricity alone. The funding provided by the government is of some help, but I am increasingly worried and anxious about whether I will be able to heat my home over the winter.
"I am unable to complete forms and navigate the complicated application processes for benefits, so I am very grateful that Gail at the Money Matters Team has been able to help and support me through all of this, without her I would have not known what to do. I would have given up and been in terrible state financially, mentally, and physically. "