Barry’s story

Unfairly sanctioning Barry’s welfare benefits nearly cost him his home as well as compounding his disabilities.

We might never have heard from Barry. He didn’t talk to anyone, had no phone and certainly couldn’t have contacted us himself. His depression, anxiety and paranoid feelings meant he only left his flat every few days after dark to go to a local shop. Without his mother’s help, his post remained unopened and he only got to appointments if she took him. That’s how he got to a medical examination with ATOS, and their report convinced the Job Centre he was ‘fit for work.’ They stopped his Employment and Support Allowance. This triggered an end to his Housing Benefit. So his housing association gave him notice to leave his flat.

When we first met Barry, he’d had no income for four months, substantial rent arrears, and faced being made homeless. Like other vulnerable people affected by welfare reforms, his mother was genuinely concerned he could attempt suicide again.

We argued he clearly wasn’t ‘fit for work’ and got his benefits reinstated almost immediately. We also arranged an urgent community care assessment and stopped him losing his flat by clearing most of his rent arrears.  After three further months of detailed evidence gathering, the social security tribunal not only upheld his appeal but also agreed that, due to his higher level of disability, he should not be reassessed by ATOS for the maximum allowable period.

Barry is in better shape now. A carer visits twice a week. He’s gaining the confidence to go out during the day. He’s eating better, his rent and bills are paid and his mum is much less worried.

Visit our welfare benefits page for information about how we could help you.