“I feel human again” – how Money Matters helped Fay get her disability benefits back | Latest news

“I feel human again” – how Money Matters helped Fay get her disability benefits back

It is fair to say that Fay Jones has faced more than her fair share of adversity over the years.

In 1984, she was left in agony after breaking her back and shattering her pelvis in a fall. A few years later, Fay found out she had a rare and undiagnosed condition which meant her bones do not heal properly.

Since then, she has suffered two strokes, a tumor, severe angina and has been diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease – a lung disease which causes breathing difficulties.

Due to her various conditions, Fay is unable to take pain medication and is in  agony every day.

Despite her setbacks, Fay has refused to let things get the better of her

“I throw myself into stuff and make the best out of what I have got,” said Fay

“I try distraction techniques and keep busy to take my mind off the pain. I am one of the organisers of the Manchester Soul Festival, which has raised over £65,000 for the Christie Hospital.

“There are people out there who have it a lot worse than I do.”

Living in Allostock with her partner, Fay faced another battle after the DWP took away her Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

Fay added: “I was absolutely devastated when the letter came through the post. It was as if the DWP were saying I wasn’t ill.

“The medical assessment was horrendous. It was degrading and felt like a box-ticking exercise. A big chunk of my income was gone – I always pay my rent and bills so losing between £200 - £300 a month was a big worry for us.”

Under pressure and worried about the future, Fay thought she had nowhere to turn to for support.

But after sharing her financial worries with a Weaver Vale staff member, Fay was referred to Lauren Hancox from the Trust’s Money Matters Team for support.

The Money Matters Team offer Weaver Vale customers knowledge, support and guidance with welfare benefits, debt, money management and support with financial issues

Fay said:  “Lauren put my mind at ease straight away – she went through everything we needed to do. She also pointed out that my partner could claim carers allowance for looking after me. I was gobsmakced – previously we were told by the DWP and other agencies that we wouldn’t be able to claim it.

“Lauren told me not to worry and that she would be with me every step of the way. Lauren was brilliant – she was very clear about what evidence we needed and helped me fill out all the different forms. I was worried about having to go to court as part of the appeal but Laruen took me through the whole process.”

Lauren’s persistence paid off - the DWP reviewed all the information and changed their decision without the need to go to court.

As a result, Fay’s PIP payments were not only reinstated, but backdated as well. Her partner was also successful in receiving carers allowance, which was also backdated.

Thanks to Lauren’s help,  Fay and her partner are now close to £7,000 a year better off.

Fay said: “The extra money we have coming in has made our lives so much better.

“The last six months have been horrible. There has been so much stress and pressure but now it’s all gone. I feel human again.

“Lauren is true to her word. She went above and beyond. I cannot thank her enough for everything she has done.

“If you’re a Weaver Vale customer and worried about your finances, don’t hesitate – give the Money Matters Team a call. They are worth their weight in gold.”

Lauren Hancox, Money Advisor at Weaver Vale said:

“It was upsetting to see Fay in such a bad way. She felt she had been let down by the assessment process and was extremely worried about where to go from there.

“Despite her stress and worries, Fay engaged with our service really well  and we worked together to  gather all the evidence we needed to go to appeal. I knew we had a strong case - not only to get PIP reinstated, but to ensure her partner received his carers allowance as well.

“Fay was successful and the extra income means she doesn’t have to worry about her finances anymore. A massive weight has been lifted which means Fay can now focus on her health.”

If you are struggling financially and are experiencing difficulties with your benefits, have debts or are finding it difficult to manage your money and pay your rent then we can help. Call us on: 01606 813341/813470 or email moneymattersteam@wvht.co.uk

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