The following is based on a real life example of one of our clients
Georgina is a single mother, having left a violent and abusive husband, with 3 children (aged 4, 7 & 10). When she was with her husband he was working in London so they needed to live in London. Now she is raising her three children single-handedly, through no fault of her own. She lives on benefits and relies on the support of local friends and family. Her ex-husband is not contributing in any way.
Her housing benefit was cut last year as a result of the housing benefit caps so, in order to remain close to her support systems, she downsized and now lives with her 3 children in a 2 bedroom flat at a rent of £330 per week.
She currently receives £591.73 a week in income support, child benefit, child tax credit and housing benefit. Prior to April 2013 this left her with £261.73 after rent, however she now has to pay £4.37 a week in Council Tax. After paying her energy bills she is left with £220 with which to feed and clothe her children and take them to school.
From 15th July she will be subject to the benefit cap meaning her Housing Benefit entitlement of £305.77 will be reduced to £214.04. After she pays her rent and energy costs this will leave her with just £128.63 a week to survive on – an impossible task. What would you do in her situation?
We are a small and friendly (11 staff) but also powerful and effective Westminster based anti-poverty charity which, using volunteers, provides intensive advice support and advocacy to low income households in London who face difficulties with paying essential household expenditure or problems with the benefit system and also campaigns against social injustice.
Our invaluable volunteer coordinator & caseworker is going on maternity leave in July. Could you take her place whilst she is away ?
Details of the role
Contract : 9 months full time with a possibility of a 3 month extension
Salary : 26,000 (pro rata)
Location : SW1W 0DH
The role is a challenging one involving managing a team of c25 existing volunteers who provide casework advice and recruiting new ones to fill gaps as well as carrying your own advice casework load.
You will need to be highly motivated by a passion for social justice, proactive and used to juggling numerous urgent priorities. You will also need excellent communication skills and a commitment to working in a multi-cultural environment. In return you will be offered a very supportive environment and the opportunity to improve the lives of vulnerable and impoverished families and of our volunteers.
View the full job description here : Locum Volunteer and Caseworker job description Oct 2013. If you are interested, please apply by email with your CV and a cover letter explaining specifically how you match the job description to Lilian Lee, email@example.com
Closing Date : Monday 27 May
Interviews from 30th May
If after submitting your application you have not heard from us by 30 May please assume you have been unsuccessful on this occasion.
I am currently studying Social Work at the University of West London but still live at home during the holidays. Under the new ‘bedroom tax’ regulations rooms occupied by students studying away from home are meant to be exempt. However Barnsley Council recently contacted my parents to inform them they would have to pay for my room, even though I am a full time student.
I called the council on behalf of my mum to inform them that the room is occupied by a full time student so could not be classed as under-occupied. They asked me to put this in writing, after which they then wrote back asking for seven pieces of information to prove that the room is occupied by the student. These included train tickets to prove the periods I had been at home (who keeps train tickets from 2011?!) and a list of all the times I have visited home since starting my course, where belongings are kept and post is delivered, what sort of accommodation do I live in at uni and what work I have undertaken during my summer holidays.They also threatened that even if the bedroom is exempt then they would make a Non-Dependant Deduction anyway.
Whilst I could provide the information they requested (with the exception of train tickets), this is an exceedingly over-zealous and bureaucratic process. If they ask this information of all households with a full time student it must waste an incredible amount of time as well as causing anxiety, especially with the threat of having to pay a Non-Dependant Deduction.
In my case I am fortunate enough to be on a placement at Z2K so I was armed with the knowledge that Non-Dependant Deduction do not apply to full time students, but someone with this knowledge may have been made to pay.