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Welfare Coach Case Study

SOAR's Welfare Coaches offer independent support, advice and guidance on a variety of issues, including benefits, housing, finances and family welfare. Here's *Freya's story:

*name changed to protect identity.

In August 2023, Freya was was referred to the team by one of our Employment Coaches for financial and family support. Carl, one of our Welfare Coaches, picked the referral up to help offer debt and benefits advice.

Freya had left an abusive marriage and had debts totalling nearly £16,000, as well as issues around benefits claims. Her son (16) had previously claimed DLA (Disability Living Allowance), and Freya had claimed PIP (Personal Independence Payment) in light of her son's age but failed to submit the relevant claim form. As a result, her Income Support and Carer's Allowance had also been stopped.

As Freya also received Housing Benefit in consequence of her ongoing rent costs, she was advised she would now need to claim Universal Credit in order to generate some income for herself.

Freya had claimed Child Maintenance for her four children from her husband, via the Child Maintenance Service, but this claim had failed as her husband had disguised his ongoing income and assets.

Carl started the process of obtaining a credit report for Freya, and full details of her debts. It was agreed that a Deft Relief Order (DRO) would be a good strategy, as it would allow for her debts to be 'written off' in time if needed. The DRO application was successful for her debts of £15,950!

Carl let Freya know that she'd need to claim Universal Credit (UC) in order to replace the original Income Support lost. He explained the implications and claims processes. Freya eventually claimed the Universal Credit but during the initial claim she had provided DWP with some incorrect information, and also missed a number of appointments at her local Jobcentre+. She does now receive £1,858 per month via UC.

Carl advised Freya to reclaim PIP for her son, as a successful claim would allow her to claim extra amounts within her Universal Credit award. He has successfully awarded the highest rate of PIP! She receives £748 per month, and was recently paid £2,250 via an arrears payment.

In light of the self-inflicted issues with Universal Credit, Carl applied for a discretionary grant via the Smallwood Trust, and Freya was awarded £750.

Freya is also going through divorce proceedings, so Carl liaised with her solicitor in respect of the financial implications. This is ongoing but hopefully will be resolved soon.

Freya currently does volunteer work and a part-time college course. Carl has suggested another referral to SOAR's Employment Team but Freya has resisted so far.

Carl has also made a referral to Debbie, another SOAR Welfare Coach, for budgeting advice.

"Thank you so much for all your help."

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