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COMMUNITY CARE GRANT Desperate Help Needed, Direction 7


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Hi,

 

 

Please, if anyone can advise on this..? I really need some expert help, or if anyone has been in this situation before?

 

It's a really lengthy post, sorry, but everything is a complicated mess, and I wanted to give all the information.

 

I applied for a CCG on 12th July 2012 to help with costs for furnishing my flat, and with the help of Stockport Resettlement service and a floating support service. The CCG was refused outright, 14 items were declined for the following reason: 'we cannot consider an application for anything you have applied for within the last 26 weeks, if there has been no change in your circumstances.'

 

There were also 3 items that were declined for a different reason: 'After looking at your application and personal circumstances, we have decided that your need for what you have asked for does not have high enough priority.'

 

This was a massive shock, I knew nothing of a 26 weeks rule and neither had I been warned of any such issue by the Resettlement or floating support workers.

 

Previously, I had applied for a CCG that was declined on 18 November 2011, so in fact 26 weeks had passed, but when I called the DWP I was told this was a mistake on the letter and it should have read '52 weeks', as this was the new rule and the reason I was not eligible to apply.

 

This previous application in November was done by a different floating support service, NACRO, on my behalf, and was declined because: 'We can pay CCG to help people in certain circumstances... After looking at your application and personal circumstances, we have decided that the qualifying conditions for the payment of a CCG are not satisfied.'

 

I ought to have met the criterion 'to set up home in the community as part of a planned resettlement programme following a period when a person has had no permanent home.' So I thought there must have been a mistake with the application, but I had not seen what was written in it.

 

Currently, I have assistance on this problem from Resettlement, the new floating support service, and the Citizen's Advice Bureau, but in desperation I am turning to the Internet for help as nobody I have spoken so far has ever encountered this situation before, they did not know about the 52 weeks rule, what it is, or what to do about it. The only thing I am told is to 'appeal it', but I can see that simply reiterating my need for the grant would get me nowhere in this particular situation.

 

After doing a lot of researching online I discovered something called 'Direction 7':

 

"A decision maker shall not determine any other crisis loan application, or a grant application, made within 12 months of a previous application by the same person for the same expenses for which a payment has already been awarded or refused unless there has been a relevant change of circumstances."

 

And also:

 

"Changes in circumstances.

If the application is for the same item, then direction 7 will not apply if there has been a relevant change in circumstances. Relevant changes may include:

 

- a change in the applicant’s personal circumstances, or those of his family.

 

Not all changes will be relevant, but any change that impacts either on the nature or urgency of the need, or on the reasons for an earlier application being refused, will be relevant. This will be the case however minor the impact and whether advantageous or disadvantageous. It is important to identify any changes in the applicant’s circumstances that are relevant to his need for an item for which he has made a previous application."

 

As far as I can see, my options include 2 possibilities:

 

1) Appeal the decision on the first application made in November, my reason for the lateness being my state of mind, mental health and lack of outside support over the past few months.

2) Claim a change in circumstances has occurred.

 

I have a couple of questions I can't find the answers to:

 

1) Can I appeal a decision for a previous application after already having submitted a second, fresh application?

2) In order to count, the change would have to be something substantial? Or could it be fairly minor? What kind of change in circumstances would they accept?

 

Unfortunately the reason I need the grant is because nothing has changed and I am in the exact same situation as when I first moved in here!

 

And I already know about the usual sources (Gumtree, Freecycle, Freegle, Greencycle, eBay, local furniture charity), they are not much help as even for free items I am struggling to afford the transport costs, and to be honest I find if you can't pick-up immediately then Freecycle is useless as they always seem to give it to the 'first come first served'.

 

For a change in circumstances the only things I can think of are a decline in my state of mental health which I have evidence for, including a psychiatric referral, or a withdrawal of support that I have been relying on.

 

The latter involves a partner who has been able to provide both emotional and practical support during the past few months, but the relationship ended a few weeks ago. I have had to return some items that I borrowed to help me get by, such as plates, cutlery, a microwave, and folding camp bed. The bed I have not returned yet, I am delaying as I have nothing else to sleep on.

 

Would this count as a change in circumstances? Or not, seeing as how technically it just puts me back to the circumstances under which I made the first application in November.

 

Please, any advice on how to proceed would be gratefully appreciated, I am at my wits end with this whole thing.

 

Many thanks,

 

Louisa

Edited by lou_89
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Local charities around here deliver and install furniture, have you tried local churches? Large churches that are active in their community will often help and are well worth a try or they may know of a charity that does such things and sign post to you.

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Yes I know, thanks. I was waiting on the grant so I could go to a local furniture charity, as they still charge. Also, there is a long waiting list for white goods, and without a medical need I have no chance of obtaining a fridge from them. I regularly check websites for cheap or free items, but a community care grant would be the greatest help to me so I would really like to pursue it. Thanks, Louisa.

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A CGG is given when a person, in certain circumstances need support. You can ask for the decision to be reviewed based on the fact you are now without a partner. Unless things have seriously changed in the last few months, if a separation occurs then a CGG can be paid (as long as you meet the other criteria of benefits etc).

 

I would ask for a review. Make an appointment with your local CAB or Benefits advisor at your local council. If you fall under the mental health team, they can help you access this service.

All advice is based on my experiences. I am NOT qualified and as such cannot be held responsible for any mistakes. If in doubt...get professional help.

If you like what i have said then make me a star!!

Some helpful links

I have been successful in many cases..here are links to some

Housing Act and deposits: http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?266260-Deposit-being-withheld.-Please-advise&highlight=

Against Natwest: http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?278646-N-west-v-Mrsfoot-s-Son.-***WON_ALL-CHARGES-REFUNDED***&highlight=

Against Swift Advances: http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?46576-Me-V-Swift&highlight=

Against B&Q: http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?172878-Me-vs-B-amp-Q&highlight=

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Thanks for the response.

Unless things have seriously changed in the last few months, if a separation occurs then a CGG can be paid

My problem is that nothing has changed, because I still have not managed to obtain any of the items I need from any other source. I have no sofa, bed, cooker, fridge, carpets, wardrobe… I am still living on/out of boxes. My partner was not living with me, and I'd think 'separation' to mean two people who have been living together?

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Ah ok. I assumed the partnership involved you living together. I think you should still get an appointment with benefits advisor either at local council or CAB. They have the most up to date information, and will check to see if the 'new' 52 week rule was in place when you applied. I don't think the fact nothing has changed (I.e you still do not have the items) should be held against you. If you had received money for the item in the previous 52 week period, then you would not be able to claim for it again.

 

I'm sure someone will come along and point you in the right direction if I am off the mark, but I guess the best advice is speak to CAB.

All advice is based on my experiences. I am NOT qualified and as such cannot be held responsible for any mistakes. If in doubt...get professional help.

If you like what i have said then make me a star!!

Some helpful links

I have been successful in many cases..here are links to some

Housing Act and deposits: http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?266260-Deposit-being-withheld.-Please-advise&highlight=

Against Natwest: http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?278646-N-west-v-Mrsfoot-s-Son.-***WON_ALL-CHARGES-REFUNDED***&highlight=

Against Swift Advances: http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?46576-Me-V-Swift&highlight=

Against B&Q: http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?172878-Me-vs-B-amp-Q&highlight=

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No, your not allowed to apply again if you've applied before and been turned down unless the circumstances have changed. Lou if it's any consolation, I left the FMH due to DV and moved into an empty flat and had nothing at all but one bag of clothes. I also applied for a grant and got the letter saying my need to was not high enough priority. I managed without things other people would consider essential for months/years, a friend gave me a sofa that had been in her shed for years to start with and I bought a fridge on credit otherwise did without. Goodness knows what you can get these grants for if the fact you have nothing is not high enough priority, possibly they only prioritise 'rent in advance' or 'deposits' so as to get roofs over heads and things in houses isn't their current priority need but one would think if they told people it would save a lot of time applying! I never bothered to ask for reasons or thought about appealing, I was shocked at the time as I was in an empty property with a child but hey ho, I coped - almost 5 years on and I now have furniture including beds.

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You cannot claim rent in advance on CCG that has to be via Budgeting Loan, they are very strict about that apparently and I think the same applies to deposits.......

 

I would ask abc123def if they appealed the decision not to award any grant? I know from when I spoke to them they had completely missed one point in my explanation of the situation...one I was sure I had stated many times in the information.....then again they seem to have really strict criteria and it is not clear to us lay people what they will or will not consider....

 

As it stands I have been told to reapply when I have an actual moving date as it is not urgent enough until then...I will be formally separating and that may be successful but it is a risk...i.e until I am actually moving and cannot change my mind about doing so...(beggars belief really as then I am expected to be moving without knowing what help if any I may get).

 

I know of one friend of mine who has been able to get several CCG for different things because she has had children back from care....so at least I know they do part with money sometimes....just wish we could find the magic words...:sad:

Edited by Slatted
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Yes no idea what I said wrong, a support worker completed mine for me and she has had success with other clients. I just suppose an empty house was not their priority. I was a student at the time so living on student finance rather than a means tested benefit but was getting CTC and HB and CTB whether that was part of the decision or not I have no idea. I didn't have the strength in me to fight it or even ask for an explanation as I was fighting off depression, a fight I eventually lost. Not surprising really having left a 19 year abusive relationship, moving 3 times in 2 years through no fault of my own 2 of those times being accepted as homeless, trying to support my children through all their difficulties and trying to complete a degree. Little help from the Government though!

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