Curo customer Stephanie (not her real name) shares her experience of using Curo’s Money Advice Service. When Stephanie got in touch she was living on her own in a two-bedroom house, unable to work due to her health and getting into debt.
I got involved with the Money Advice Service at Curo, as I was struggling to pay the bedroom tax and fell into rent arrears. I had also fallen behind with my utilities.
I was unable to come to Curo’s office for an appointment but was quickly reassured that a home visit could be arranged. At my money advice appointment, I was made aware of applications that could help me with my water bills such as the WaterHelp scheme, and Discretionary Housing Payments which could pay towards my rent arrears.
Once the appointment was over, Curo’s money advisor, Sam, gave me an action plan based on what we’d agreed. In the plan were things I needed to do and tasks Curo would carry out for me. Everything I told Sam was completely confidential which put me at ease. She was very friendly and non-judgemental, which was important to me, as I felt embarrassed about my situation.
With my ill health, Sam advised me to apply for Personal Independent Payment, sickness benefit and Universal Credit with a ‘Limited Capability for Work’. We did a benefit calculation to estimate what I could be entitled to, which was surprisingly quick and easy.
Once Universal Credit was agreed we could then apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment to help with my arrears and the bedroom tax for a period. Sam helped me with the claims and submitted them on my behalf. You must have an assessment for some sickness benefits, and Sam attended and assisted me with this appointment, which was a great relief.
I completed all my actions for Sam, and she kept in touch with me throughout with offers of help, support and reassurance.
The outcome was amazing. My Discretionary Housing Payment was awarded to clear the full amount of my arrears.
My water application was successful for Restart and Assist [Wessex Water payments schemes]. I had to pay a token payment of £1 per month and the balance of my water debt would be written off at the end of the 24-month plan.
My Personal Independent Payment was awarded after the assessment and I received a back payment to the date I called for the form, over £1,400 (approximately 21 weeks).
My Limited Capability for Work claim was awarded after a 23-month wait for an assessment due to Covid-19, and I was paid a backdated payment of over £7,000.
With Sam’s expertise, she maximised my income by over £600 per month. This meant that I could pay the bedroom tax to avoid any further arrears. I was also offered help if I wanted to downsize to a one-bedroomed property. Curo have a great service called Passport to Housing [to prepare for a successful home move], which I said I would consider.
I can’t thank Sam at Curo enough. I would never have been able to do this without her. It’s changed my life for the better.
If you have money worries, or think you might be entitled to any benefits, pick up the phone and speak to Curo’s Customer Accounts team on 01225 366000 or email email@example.com
Many benefits go unclaimed every year, and some passport you to help with your rent and Council Tax. It’s your right to claim. What have you got to lose?