Cairn Housing Association wins £38k in unpaid benefits for disabled tenants
Cairn Housing Association has transformed the lives of two chronically disabled tenants by winning them back a combined £38,000 unexpected windfall of unpaid benefits.
Staff from Cairn Housing Association’s tenancy sustainment team, which is led by Martin Conroy, intervened to persuade Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) officials that there had been serious errors in the handling of the two benefit cases.
One tenant, who lives with a serious back condition and had struggled financially for several years in spite of his numerous benefit applications to the DWP, received almost £25,000 in backdated benefits and is now £65.85 a week better off thanks to an agreed increase in his income.
The other tenant, who has Cerebral Palsy and is confined to a wheelchair, won £13,513 in backdated benefits going back three years – as well as the bonus of an additional £336 each month.
Jason MacGilp, group chief executive, said: “We’re proud of our frontline team who specialise in areas from Welfare Rights to Financial Inclusion - they do a sterling job. Without their knowledge and commitment, our tenants would be unnecessarily losing out.”
The first tenant from Inverness, who asked not to be named, commented: “I’m so thankful for the support I’ve had at Cairn because if I’d followed the DWP’s advice of ‘You must claim Universal Credit’, I would have been denied my windfall and would still be struggling.
“When dealing with people over the phone or through emails myself, I just felt as though I wasn’t being heard. And it’s a complicated process, too, so having Cairn’s support meant a lot.
“I moved to Cairn as my medical condition was deteriorating and I had struggled financially in my previous tenancy. Moving brought me closer to family who could provide support. So going from that situation, to having tens of thousands land in my bank account was a great feeling. It’s such a relief to know that I won’t have to worry about money in the same way now. Moving to Cairn was the best decision I could have made – I can’t thank the team there enough.”
The second tenant, who lives in Aviemore and who also asked not to be named, was able to benefit after Cairn’s staff identified shortcomings in his Universal Credit Award and his limited capability to work because of his disability.
However, it took more than six months of waiting and discussions before it was agreed he would receive a backdated sum of £13,513 and additional monthly benefits of £336.