University Hospital Birmingham and The Severn Trent Trust Fund

Judith is 53 years old; she lives alone in a one bed privately rented flat above a shop in Tyesley, Birmingham.

She worked as a carer for people with disabilities until June 2016 when her health deteriorated and she was physically unable to continue working. She already had underlying heart issues and diabetes -but the diagnosis of chronic kidney disease left her needing permanent dialysis; she manages her dialysis herself at home, dialysing for 8 hours a day, every day.

Because of her terminal illness, she suffers from extreme fatigue, breathlessness and limited mobility.

When we met Judith, she had started making an application to claim disability benefit – Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), for £73.10 a week. We helped Judith complete her application for ESA by submitting her ‘Work Capability Assessment’ to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). The vital medical evidence we submitted satisfied the DWP that Judith was eligible for the ‘Support Group’ rate of ESA, which is higher than her original application – amounting to £125.05 every week. She also received a backdated payment of £2090.00.

We also assisted her with a claim for Personal Independence Payments (PIP). Unfortunately, the claim was rejected by the DWP; the application scored no points in their assessment. A subsequent mandatory reconsideration to DWP made no change to the decision, so we submitted an appeal to HM Courts and Tribunals Service.

In September 2017, we represented Judith at Tribunal in Birmingham. We were successful at overturning the DWP’s original decision to score 0 points and she obtained 12 points – the maximum award for PIP, which equates to £141.00 a week.

In addition to this award, she is entitled to a severe disability premium in her ESA, as she lives alone and nobody claims carers allowance to look after her. This increases Judith’s income by a further £62.52 a week.

In addition, we have:

1). Made a referral to:

  • Occupational Health who fitted grab rails and steps in her flat.
  • Birmingham City Council for an assessment for help; she was awarded Direct Payments to cover 9.5 hours of care a week to help with cooking, shopping and cleaning.

2). Applied for:

  • Social Housing via Birmingham City Council as her accommodation is unsafe.
  • An application to Severn Trent Water’s Big Difference Scheme; she was awarded a 90% discount on her bill.
  • A holiday grant for Judith to visit family abroad; Kidney Care UK awarded her £1,000 for travel costs and accommodation.

3). Helped her with budgeting and given her skills, knowledge and motivation to take action with her finances.

Judith is now getting the support she rightly deserves. In total, Auriga have increased Judith’s weekly income by £255.50 and she has received a total of over £15,000 in backdated benefits owed to her.