With the country facing a tough time in 2020, our Covid Support team made sure to contact all our customers to find out if anybody needed extra support including people struggling with their finances
It was on one of these calls that a colleague spoke to Sarah, who had lost her job whilst pregnant and having recently left a difficult relationship. She spoke with Elaine, a specialist adviser in our One Money team, who help people with debt, budgeting and benefits.
“She told me that she had a number of large debts”, Elaine explained. “She felt as though everything was getting on top of her. Additionally, she couldn’t see her mum due to the Covid lockdown rules, which was adding to her anxiety and depression as her mum was her main source of support.”
Sarah told Elaine that she needed to move to a bigger property now that her son was getting bigger, however she couldn’t bid for properties due to an old benefit overpayment debt.
With the customer’s permission, Elaine obtained credit reports and contacted all of her creditors to get the debt collection processes put on hold, allowing her more time to look at her options.
“By September we were ready to look at the options available to deal with her debts”, Elaine said. “She could then choose to apply for a Debt Relief Order. This process is a formal debt resolution option and would see her free of debt in 12 months’ time.”
A Debt Relief Order carries a fee of £90, but Sarah couldn’t afford this.
Elaine advised her about a few charities who may be able to help by paying the fee for her, one of which worked out for Sarah.
The application was approved and all of Sarah’s debts were frozen for 12months, after which they will be written off completely.
Sarah was delighted with this outcome, and the support of the team during this time. She told us:
“Elaine in the One Money team has helped me so much over these last 18 months. I was in debt and couldn’t see how to get out. I explained my full circumstances to her, and she told me the best option was to apply for a Debt Relief Order.
“At first it sounded daunting, but I knew it was the right thing to do. Elaine went above and beyond to sort this out for me. When this had all gone through and even now Elaine keeps in contact with me to make sure things are still ok and still helps if I have a problem.
“I can't thank Elaine and the One Money team enough for what they have done for me. I will be forever grateful.”
Our One Money team were also able to help with a problem Sarah was having around her heating costs. She was finding that her bills were too expensive and so our team contacted the heating systems analyst. Elaine explained, “He agreed to provide a small, short-term top-up payment to enable her to keep her flat warm over the colder weeks in January. This was until she received her next benefit payment and was able to adjust her budget.”
Our trained One Money advisers offer free appointments in confidence. To arrange an appointment, contact the team on 0330 355 1000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.