The following provides examples of how Healthier Wealthier Children has been able to assists families struggling with money worries in difficult circumstances. The case studies have been provided from North, East, South East and South West Glasgow, Inverclyde and Renfrewshire. They exemplify the work being undertaken by Healthier Wealthier Children across NHSGGC.
A young couple with 3 children, the youngest 2 are under 5 and each has a disability. Dad works full time in fairly low paid employment with mum at home full time caring for the children. The couple are owner occupiers. Mum finds it very difficult to go out with the children as she is unable to use public transport and taxis are too expensive. Due to the children’s mobility difficulties, Mum and the children spend most of their time at home which means heating the home for most of the day and night. Due to the children’s disabilities mum has to do lots of laundry. These factors are having a big impact on the family’s energy bills. Debt has been accrued with Brighthouse, a high street weekly payment household goods store, totalling £6000 for a suite and a tv. Weekly payments to Brighthouse are £33 with 2 payments remaining on the suite.The family Health Visitor suggested a referral to HWC following a diagnosis of significant disability of youngest child. Mum commented she did not think that a child of 2 and half years would be entitled to DLA but was happy for the referrals to be made.
Following referral to HWC the Income Maximiser assisted the family in applying for additional benefits. The family were awarded Middle Rate Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and disabled child element of tax credits. This amounted to an additional £47.80 and £52.21 extra per week respectively. Mum stated that the extra money will help with taxi costs, she can now afford hackney style taxis to get out and about to hospital appointments; this had been a problem in the past with the larger style pram. Mum can also afford taxis to go to clubs and support groups in her area. The extra money will also go towards utilities bills and mum will not have to worry as much about times when she has to heat the house for days at a time, i.e. winter 10/11 was a very worrying time. A benefit check also revealed that the couple were entitled to Council Tax Benefit, they assumed they wouldn’t be as they were owner occupiers, this saved the family £943.44 per year.
The couple were also supported to apply for a mentored loan of £500 from their local credit union and Money Matters, the income maximiser also negotiated the return of the tv to Brighthouse. A tv was purchased from a local supermarket for under £500 with repayments on the mentored loan £12 per week, £2 of which is savings with the credit union.
Engagement with the service has clearly brought about significant improvement for this couple and while this may not be the case for everyone it highlights the potential contribution Health Visitors and other key health staff groups can make to reducing child poverty.Top
Client referred by family support worker. Client recently separated from partner very stressed.
Taken nearly 5 months work to get final outcomesTop
Client a young single mum with young baby who is concerned about debt
Referral from Social work support worker- Mother not receiving Healthy Start vouchers.
Due to the intervention of an Income Maximiser, a family where one of the parents was working, discovered that they were entitled to extra weekly benefits totalling £140.
This was because the youngest of their three children have disabilities and have now been awarded Middle Rate Disability Allowance of £47.80 and the disabled child element of tax credits, equal to £52.21.
The additional cash is easing the financial burden because the mum is unable to work, staying at home to look after the younger children.
Because of the children’s mobility problems they were unable to use public transport and since taxis are expensive, a lot of time was spent at home.
And the children’s disabilities means that mum has a lot of laundry to do, adding to the energy bills.
Now the family can afford taxis to attend hospital appointments, clubs and support groups in their area and have more money to put towards utility bills.Top
A home owning family involved mum working full-time in a low paid job, with dad looking after their three young children.
They spoke to a Health Visitor Support Worker about their financial concerns and stress and anxiety this was causing, but thought that they were receiving all of the benefits they could apply for.
An appointment with an Income Maximiser led to a benefit check being carried out which revealed that they were entitled to Council Tax Benefit, saving them £943.44 annually.
The parents reported that this extra help is reducing their financial pressures and stress and mum now felt able to look for a better paid job.
Also the family are now in a position to set aside money for any emergencies, such as replacing their washing machine and also buy the children new toys which they hadn’t been able to do for sometime.Top
A single parent was working part-time (on national minimum wage) and struggling to cope due to the needs of her only child who had been unwell for some time and was exhibiting behaviour and learning difficulties: the child had been undergoing investigation for strange seizures and was not adjusting well at school. When referred, the mother could no longer work due to stress and anxiety and was on sick leave: however, the employer was not paying SSP and the DWP would not award ESA because of the employer’s responsibility.
Fortunately, there occurred at this time a definitive diagnosis of absence epilepsy – a rare condition - which enabled a straight-forward claim for Disability Living Allowance: since the child was awarded high-rate care and low-rate mobility there was also a significant increase in the Child Tax Credits award. It was not really feasible for the parent to return to work due to the time and effort involved in caring for her child hence this meant applying for Income Support and Carer’s Allowance (including the carer’s premium on the I.S.)
In total, including back-dated payments, household income is now £337 per week or £17,524 over the course of the next year. This means that the parent can now focus solely on the support and development of her child and provide properly for additional needs.Top