A housing association advice service has helped an Amber Valley care secure benefits worth £11,057 a year and a route out of crippling debt.
The 48-year-old woman, known as Laura, has already reduced her debts by £6,000 with support from the team at Futures Housing Group.
She fell into a five-year cycle of borrowing and spending and only contacted her landlord after loan and credit debt left her with no other option.
Laura said: “I had reached a financial cul-de-sac. I was cornered by bad finances and didn’t know which way to turn and felt quite trapped.”
“No one wants to admit they are in that kind of trouble. It was just one phone call, one chat that made the difference.”
Futures’ money advice team, which won a national award for its approach to income management in 2016, offers help and support to customers facing financial difficulty.
Advisor Andy Smith was one of the first people Laura spoke to after admitting to herself that she needed help.
Despite being born with joint problems, Laura had never claimed mobility benefits.
She said: “When you’re born with a disability you don’t always see it as one. It’s part of you. I never claimed because I thought I’m fine and won’t get it.”
She added: “Don’t decide you won’t get anything: that’s not your decision to make, someone else makes that.
“Don’t decide there’s no point in trying. I could’ve had help ages ago, I regret not finding out sooner.”
Andy said: “Laura was very reluctant to apply for additional benefits, but her situation meant she would have a good chance of entitlement.
“I persuaded her to make a claim for Personal Independence Payments and this has increased her income dramatically.”
Since speaking with Andy, Laura has also sold her car and replaced it with a disability car, and now has a blue badge and free bus pass, saving her money on parking and travel.
She said: “Life is so much better for me. I want everybody to know because there is so much help out there. It’s just knowing how to find it. It’s like my life has done a U-turn, I can’t believe it.”
To support more people through financial worries, Futures has created peronal budget calculator with tips at https://goo.gl/V71Rcm.