Case Study – Lucy*

November 27, 2017 - In Case Studies, News Articles

When Lucy received refugee status she applied for ESA with the help of a support worker at Nottingham Arimathea Trust and evidence from her doctor. She also booked her National Insurance number interview for the earliest possible date meaning her original ESA claim had a temporary reference number associated with the claim as the NI number was still being processed.
After waiting 1 month, Lucy became worried as to why she hadn’t received payment. She was constantly reassured by DWP to wait and that there was no problem. She was told her NI number will automatically be linked with her case and that she just needed to wait.
It was clear something was wrong when Lucy’s NI number had arrived but she was still destitute.
With the support of NAT support workers, many visits to the job centre, and continuous calls to ESA, it was finally discovered that the original ESA claim was not matched to Lucy’s NI number but instead the temporary ref number that was given to her when she originally claimed. This means all the evidence sent through by the Jobcentre agent was returned back to her as though no claim had been made.  This of course added even more time to Lucy’s claim being processed and it was as if she had not made a claim at all.
Regardless, she still responded quickly resending all her evidence again. She was told it would only take a couple of days to match the original claim with her NI number. However, in addition to this, she was then told she needed to have a Habitual Residency test. According to the job centre, the HR test could not be booked until the previous issue was resolved.
All these issues affected Lucy’s housing options as without the HR test, she would not receive confirmation of ESA and therefore a place at YMCA couldn’t be offered. NAT support workers were also in contact with YMCA several times but unfortunately we were unable to negotiate an alternative process for Lucy to be housed. Therefore, she was allowed to stay in NAT accommodation in order to prevent her becoming street homeless.
Overall, Lucy waited 3 months from making a claim for her benefit to being payed. This also affected her housing as she couldn’t be housed by another organisation until she received confirmation of benefit.

*names have been changed for anonymity