Dasha came to Citizens Advice Barnet because her housing allowance was not sufficient to cover her rent. Though she is entitled to certain accommodations because of a medical condition, the wrong housing allowance was applied to her Universal Credit claim. Recognizing the error, she repeatedly contacted area managers for Universal Credit but didn’t receive a response for nearly six months. Though she never fell behind on her rent, Dasha used money from other benefits that would normally be spent on things like physiotherapy or food to pay it.
Dasha met Jack, a supervisor at Citizens Advice Barnet, when he was delivering outreach services at BOOST in Barnet. When he got involved, things changed quickly.
“He wrote an email and got a reply within a few days. They had no idea why it happened and quickly resolved everything. We received back pay for four months and food vouchers from Citizens Advice Barnet. We needed the vouchers because everything went on rent.”
“Jack was the literal bridge between us and Universal Credit. Because of my condition, there’s a certain entitlement and there are so many permutations, the working coach probably had no idea about it.
“Citizens Advice Barnet knew exactly what to do – it was very, very helpful for us. Jack was fantastic – as a person, as a worker – you can feel the big heart human in him. It’s nice to meet these kinds of people, especially when you’re on the edge and don’t know what else you can do.”
Dasha confirmed receipt of back payments for the months she was underpaid the housing allowance.
“The cherry on top was the complimentary £50 in compensation for the error. Jack made sure we got it. We were so surprised and so pleased.
“For people who don’t know what to do and don’t know their rights, the best thing to do is go to their local Citizens Advice charity.”
Jack was the literal bridge between us and Universal Credit... [He] was fantastic... It’s nice to meet these kinds of people, especially when you’re on the edge and don’t know what else you can do.