Did you know we have a Benefits and financial capability adviser working in Exeter.
Financial capability and understanding benefit entitlements are integral parts of resolving homelessness. Many of the people we support are not in receipt of their full benefit entitlement, with many more struggling to budget their income, or knowing what sources of information are safe; especially online.
Sarah Dyton, who is based in Co-Lab in Exeter says:
“I look at income maximisation and whether there is any scope to increase someone’s income, whilst trying to reduce their outgoings. This entails a full review of the client’s circumstances including any health needs. I then undertake a benefit check and assist with making a claim if needed; completing the relevant application forms.
Clients often need support to then challenge a benefit application if it has been turned down, which I can also help with.
Most clients are struggling to manage their weekly or monthly budget and need support with this. One of the ways I do this is by helping to identify ways of reducing their outgoings.
For instance, those on water meters and means-tested benefits are eligible for a reduced water tariff. I look at any possible savings, consider with the clients how they may prioritise their expenditure to ensure priority outgoings are met.
A large number of clients I support have debts. My role is to help the client understand their choices, what impact any action might have and assist with whatever action, if any, they decide on. This might be applying for support from a Debt Relief Order Intermediary, or negotiating directly with non-priority creditors to agree an affordable repayment plan.
I’m am also able to access discreet grant funding, both locally and nationally. These aren’t always advertised, so I investigate and then apply with the permission of my client. These funds can help with things like deposits, furniture or utility bills. Lots of energy companies run their own schemes, which is a great way to support their customers on low incomes.
Debt and money problems cause a great deal of anxiety, so getting some help is an important first step in getting on top of personal finances and feeling in control”.
Our financial services are a collaborative project with Martin Lewis and Trailblazer working with clients suffering from any mental health condition and who are vulnerably housed with a view to homeless prevention. For more information please contact Sarah Dyton at firstname.lastname@example.org