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Melin Advice: Making a difference to our residents

At Melin, we believe in providing not just a roof over our residents' heads but also helping our residents with the support and advice they may need in their daily lives. Here, we share a wonderful case study from our Melin Advice team who helped a resident with a complex benefits case…

Written by Will

28 Nov, 2023

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It all started when a resident reached out to us back in April, seeking assistance with her Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) matters. We promptly arranged a home visit to discuss her concerns.

However, their situation took an unexpected turn when, on April 17th, the resident informed us that their PIP had ceased following a review, and this change had occurred on March 23rd. She had only received a letter notifying her of this devastating change on that very day.

Recognising the urgency and complexity of the situation, Leslie from our Melin Advice team sprang into action. He initiated a mandatory review for the PIP and DHP, aiming to address the immediate issue and provide support in relation to the bedroom tax.

There was soon some good news as the resident was granted a DHP of £15 per week and a payment to cover the bedroom tax. This financial support was a significant relief, with the resident receiving total arrears of £345.

Nevertheless, in June we had to reach out to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) as the resident had not heard any news regarding the mandatory reconsideration on her PIP. Shockingly, we discovered that the mandatory reconsideration had not been registered, despite having been received by them back in April. The resident was informed that it would take an additional eight weeks for a decision. Understandably, this news caused her severe anxiety, prompting us to provide the emotional support she needed during this difficult time.

We then helped the resident navigate the PIP appeal process after her mandatory reconsideration proved unsuccessful. As we submitted the appeal, there was good news. The DWP revisited their decision and decided to reinstate the PIP award at the standard rate for daily living. This was a significant win for our resident, and the award was not only reinstated in August but also backdated to March. This fantastic news was accompanied by a lump sum payment of £1,530.77 and a weekly entitlement of £68.10, all without the need for a court battle.

September saw another home visit, and this time, our focus was on the resident's entitlement to Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). We were also able to apply for the Severe Disability Premium since she lived alone, and no one claimed carer's allowance for her.

This all came to a head in recent weeks. The DWP contacted the resident to inform her that the Severe Disability Premium would be backdated to 2019 when it ceased due to similar issues. The resident was to receive a lump sum of £16,700 in addition to her weekly entitlement of £76.40. This was absolutely transformative for the resident and shows how people can be failed by a system that is so very difficult to navigate without help.

Fiona Price, Melin Advice team leader was full of praise for the work Leslie had done on behalf of the resident. She said: “Thanks to Leslie’s dedication, professionalism and persistence, we were able to get a fantastic outcome for this resident in need. I’m proud of the fantastic work our Melin Advice team does, making a real difference to the lives of our residents.”

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