A day in the life of your local Citizens Advice
Every day brings new challenges and, while there is no 'typical' day, this narrative gives a flavour of what happens in our offices.
People from all walks of life and from all parts of the borough seek advice from Citizens Advice; their problems can be equally diverse, from eviction to disability to problems with neighbours.
Joseph* and Claire, have three young children and are worried about money. Joseph is facing the prospect of short time working. They are concerned because there won't be enough income for the mortgage, bank loan, credit card and store card payments. The adviser takes them through a process of income maximisation, during which their entitlement to benefit is checked, she also explains about priority and non-priority debts and ways in which the bureau can assist in dealing with these debts. The adviser identified their eligibility for Child Tax Credit and assisted them in claiming this benefit, prepared a financial statement and helped to reschedule the non-priority debts to enable them to manage their household budget.
Peter is an asylum seeker whose support payments have stopped. He speaks some English but can't read it very well. One of our advisers who speaks his native language was able to translate important documents and helped him to complete the relevant form to re-establish his support payments.
Mrs Jenkins is a pensioner who can't understand why she has a bill from two power supply companies. The adviser discovers that she moved supplier three months ago and the old supplier was still charging. The adviser contacted the previous supplier, stopped the ongoing charges and obtained a refund for Mrs Jenkins.
Valerie has received a Disability Living Allowance form for her son. She has tried to fill it in but doesn't know how to finish it. The adviser goes through the form helping her fill in the missing parts. Advice is given on her options if the claim is disallowed, including the opportunity to be represented by a specialist adviser at a tribunal.
Other clients are helped with problems relating to changing bank accounts, credit checks, the non delivery of a three piece suite, a court hearing for mortgage arrears, what to do following a separation, various employment issues and a neighbour who lets his dog foul the pavement.
In total we dealt with twenty-two clients on this day and helped six of them to gain an extra £14,525 in additional income (expressed as an annual equivalent). We also attended to £3,463 of client debt.