People use our Disability Information Advice Line (DIAL) in many of different ways. Sid became disabled following a road traffic accident which resulted in him losing a leg. He first visited DIAL in 2011 when he was refused Employment Support Allowance (ESA) following a referral from the Job Centre. With some accurate and up-to-date information and advice from the team and support from a specialist worker he was successful in his appeal and his support was reinstated.
Many of our clients are ‘repeat users’; it would seem once they have used us they realise we have a wealth of knowledge and expertise as well as extremely good networks we can tap into.
Sid returned just last year, on this occasion he had experienced difficulties in paying his water bill and this had resulted in arrears building up to a sizable sum. Liaising with Portsmouth and Southern Water the team were able to negotiate acceptance on the special ‘Essential Scheme’, this is available, on occasions, to people who have arrears over £500. A match payment plan is put into place; where for every pound paid by Sid it is matched by Portsmouth and Southern Water on a quarterly basis.
Sid agreed £20 a month, he set up his direct debit and put it to the back of his mind thinking Portsmouth and Southern Water would be matching that every three months.
He became very worried when he received a further threatening demand, stating that he still owed a substantial amount of money. He turned to DIAL again for support.
He visited the Centre where he met one of our DIAL workers. Once she had ascertained all the facts and with his permission she rang the appropriate department, on his behalf, to query the demand; she calmly reminded them of their commitment to the Essential Scheme.
Speaking calmly, but firmly, she was able to establish that the scheme had not been actioned correctly and therefore the matching had not been initiated by Portsmouth and Southern Water.
The Dial worker was assertive with the company and following a number of communications she received an apology and was able to get the agreement from Portsmouth and Southern Water to back date their contribution to January, its original start date.
Sid, left the building much relieved and very appreciative of all the DIAL team has done, as he said ‘I just wouldn’t have known where to start and with all the pain I am in; my energy is taken up just getting through the day.’
To find out more about DIAL please click here