Money Advice Unit Case Studies 2020 --------Case study 1 Client single person aged over 50, living in rented accommodation. Client suffered an injury making them unfit to continue in their employment role and therefore they became solely reliant upon benefits to get by, which reduced their household income significantly. The client's rent arrears repayment amount was too high, so they were unable to clear their council tax arrears in full. The client had no other debts other than rent arrears and council tax arrears. We made the client aware of local grants that could assist them - such as Exceptional hardship fund & discretionary housing payments. We completed the applications for these benefits with the client and submitted them upon their behalf.We made the client made aware of actions creditors could take based on action taken so far, such as repossession of property or suspended repossession order being granted with terms and attachment to benefit for council tax arrears based on 5% of standard allowance of client's Universal Credit (UC) award. The client was unable to attend an outreach appointment and their phone signal was very poor, but as we had an outreach venue in place near the clients home, we worked closely with our general housing adviser to pass information between ourselves and client so that we could ensure the client understood all actions and outcomes. Outcome Discretionary housing payments awarded to client - Our caseworker also negotiated reduction of collection of rent arrears to £10 per month as opposed to £5 per week, which client felt was more manageable. Exceptional hardship fund amount also awarded reducing clients overall council tax arrears liability by £86.11, leaving just £21.89 outstanding which IW Council agreed to deduct from clients benefits at 5% of UC standard allowance - meaning this will be taken at £15.89pm and cleared within next 2 months. Client also advised that further application for housing payments could be once current award comes to an end. The client was overwhelmed with help we provided and felt in a much better position to manage their finances. The client is also now aware of our services and will not hesitate to return should they experience any further issues. Case Study 2 Client is single and lives alone with no financial dependents in a housing association rented accommodation. Client had been diagnosed as terminally ill and had water arrears as a result of cancelling a direct debit when they were struggling to afford payments. Client had to cancel payments when they needed all income to be able to afford travelling to the mainland to a family member was also sadly terminally ill and in hospital. Client wanted to find a way to move forward to settle the debt without being chased for the arrears by the creditor. The debt was in relation to water over 2 accounts – one current arrears with the creditor of £738.93 and an arrears amount for £1679.16 being collected by enforcement agents (bailiffs). The client's budget indicated that they could afford a maximum of £50 per month towards consumption and arrears but this was not accepted by the enforcement agent and they advised further bailiff visits and fees would be incurred. We liaised with the local water company field agent, advising them of our clients vulnerabilities and challenging their duty to assist clients in need. Outcome As a result of our requests, the account was removed from the enforcement agents and the bailiff fees reduced leaving the balances outstanding at current account arrears - £738.93 and arrears of now £1242.61. The water company accepted our clients payment arrangement of £50 per month. On top of this they also accepted the client for both the Essentials Tariff and the New Start Scheme. The client will now receive a discount against ongoing water costs and for each £1 they pay towards the arrears from the remaining £50 each month, the water company will match to help clear the arrears. Client was very happy with the overall outcome and no longer fearful of enforcement agents attending their property.