Patrick contacted us just before New Year. He had been made homeless due to relationship breakdown on Christmas Day and was sleeping in a phone box with no access to money, no documents and nowhere to go. His mental health was very fragile and he had spoken about ending his life.
We contacted Streetlink on Patrick’s behalf and ensured that he was placed in emergency accommodation. We then helped him to make an application for Universal Credit and helped him to register with a GP. We helped him to get photo ID, first a Citizen Card and then an Irish Passport. By Easter, Patrick was settled in a flat, was receiving his universal credit and had his Irish Passport in hand. His health was much improved and he was even able to help another of our clients with her gardening.
“They helped me in every way and even when I couldn’t help myself and they still did it in the way I want. When I went to them I was next to homeless, they sorted out my money and everything, I’d recommend them to anyone who is down and out or homeless. The person who answered the phone did everything for me. Even when I found it difficult to ring to them they called back at checked in. They take their time and go out of their way to do what they have to do. They’re very good at their jobs. God bless them.“
Anne came to us because her health had deteriorated significantly after Covid. She had never needed any support before and she did not know what she might be entitled to. We conducted a benefit check and advised her that she should be able to claim Attendance Allowance. However, at the time, Anne was financially secure but felt that she needed practical assistance.
We helped Anne to refer herself for a social care assessment, helped her to apply for a blue badge, a freedom pass and a disabled person’s parking space. Anne was approved for a Disabled Facilities Grant to allow her to bathe herself rather than relying on her family members.
Later Anne returned to us, having changed her mind about applying for Attendance Allowance. We helped her to apply and she was awarded the highest rate.
“I was having so many problems and trying to deal with them myself. Then I got recommended to BIAS. They done everything that was humanly possible from an organisation. I’m not just saying that cause they’re Irish, I don’t care what race they were – they looked through my forms, they called me up, they did everything that could be done.“
Martin was referred to us by his friend who was worried about him. When we made contact, we found out that he was living alone and was in very poor health. His daughter and granddaughter had moved out a few weeks previously and he was not coping alone. His house was entirely unsuitable for him, as he could not go up the stairs and had fallen down them several times in the previous weeks, leading to hospitalisation. He was getting Universal Credit, but he was getting very little, as there were deductions for Bedroom Tax, rent arrears and a loan. He was not getting any other benefits. He was in debt on his overdraft, credit card and utilities.
We helped Martin to reduce the deductions made on his Universal Credit and helped him to apply for the disability element and also Personal Independence Payment. We helped him to apply for a transfer of his housing, as staying in his property was unsafe. We also supported him with his debts, referring him to Stepchange.
Martin was awarded all his benefits and his income tripled once all the claims had been approved. He was approved for an urgent transfer to a more suitable property, near to his family and support network. Martin also organised a payment plan with his creditors and is paying off his debts at a sustainable rate.
After a year, Martin felt so much more stable that he wanted to learn how to use computers so that he could manage his own affairs better. We supported him to sign up for a computing course and applied for a grant for him for IT equipment. He was awarded a laptop and a wifi hotspot so that he could connect to the internet. Martin reports that the lessons are going well and he is grateful for the support.
“They’ve been very very good from start to finish, helped me an awful lot through difficult times.”