53-year-old Derek was referred to Swan from Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), and had mental health issues which caused extreme levels of anxiety. Recently redundant, Derek had become worried about two letters he had received: one related to the cancellation of a mental health consultation; and the other that his Employment Support Allowance (ESA) was due to be stopped in three months.
The advocate managed to reinstate his specialist mental health appointment. Finances were tight and the loss of his benefit meant that because of prescription costs, he had not been taking all his medication for weeks. Problems had been exacerbated because there had been a mistake over his wife’s tax credits. The advocate arranged a meeting with Moneytalk, a charitable organisation that helps people draw up financial budgets. The meeting at Moneytalk was very emotional as Derek’s wife had not realised the full extent of his anxiety. However, a number of actions were identified to improve their financial situation. Derek and his wife opened new bank accounts, and Moneytalk volunteers helped them to write to explain the situation to the bank and other organisations. In the meantime, Tax Credit overpayment was discovered. After the meeting, Derek decided to apply for Jobseekers Allowance and he had been in contact with a job finding agency.
Several weeks after this, Derek found some temporary work and had felt an improvement in his mental condition. Finances were a little easier and the bank had mentioned that there was a possible PPI repayment from a previous loan. Meanwhile, due to new bank accounts and because various organisations had accepted lower repayments, the couple’s finances had stabilised. One month later, Derek was still working and expecting to move onto a new temporary contract. Four PPI repayments came through which allowed them to pay off nearly all their debts. The original bank loan was partially repaid and new, affordable repayments were agreed. During the final meeting he thanked Swan and Moneytalk, reflecting that what had started as a relatively small problem (redundancy) had quickly spiralled out of control and affected all areas of his life, including his marriage.