Wise 2 Welfare: A Day in the Life of a Financial Inclusion CaseworkerDate published: 16th November 2017
Wise 2 Welfare – The Welfare Reform presents many challenges. Part of the Fife Advice Partnership, Wise 2 Welfare (W2W) provides help and support to those experiencing issues relating to the Welfare Reform. We deliver a coordinated advice service for people who are presenting with multiple issues such as benefit, debt and/or housing.
A day in the life of a Wise 2 Welfare Financial Inclusion Caseworker…
- 8am – I arrive at head office in Glenrothes. Winter is approaching and before I take my coat off, I boil the kettle and make a cup of tea. I turn on my laptop and fetch the mail from my tray. I check my schedule for the day ahead.
- 8:10am – I catch up on new emails and voicemails. I mark the ones that are urgent and highlight any that need followed up.
- 8:30am - I have received 2 new referrals. I log in to our referral system and familiarise myself with my new clients. I check for emergencies such as court action and benefit sanctions. One of the referrals has not had an income for 5 months and an eviction date for tomorrow. I will be sure to contact him today.
- 8:50am – I have an appointment at 9:30am at Fife Migrants Forum. I familiarise myself with the case, gather up my paperwork and head off to Kirkcaldy.
- 9:30am – My client speaks Polish and an adviser from Fife Migrants Forum attends the appointment to interpret. The client has a high level of rent arrears, council tax arrears and other household debt. Her landlord has served eviction paperwork and she is experiencing problems claiming housing benefit. We spend over an hour discussing her financial difficulties and what she can do to resolve them. I set her an action plan and arrange to meet again in 1 month. Due to the housing issues, I also referred her to the W2W housing adviser.
- 11:15am – I return to head office and I call my new client that was referred to me this morning. He explains that he was claiming benefits but was sanctioned. He has been selling his possessions to buy food, gas and electricity. He has a high level of debt and no money to make payments. He is being evicted but has managed to secure temporary accommodation thanks to the help of the W2W housing adviser. I complete a Scottish Welfare Fund Crisis Grant application. We apply for help with food/gas/electricity/travel. The application was successful and he was awarded £120. The W2W benefits adviser will be contacting him later today to address the benefit issues. Once his benefits have been addressed, I will arrange a money advice appointment to discuss his debt options. I type up his case notes and add them to his record.
- 12:30pm – Hunger strikes… Time for lunch!
- 1pm – I begin typing up my case notes from my 9:30am appointment.
- 1:30pm – I receive a call from an existing client to advise she has received paperwork which states her wages are going to be arrested due to outstanding council tax arrears. I already have an appointment to meet with her in a couple of weeks. I contact the Sherriff officers who agree to withhold the action for 1 month. This will give me time to meet with the client and assess her debts options. I type up her case notes.
- 2:15pm – I finalise the case notes from my 9:30am appointment. I also draft a letter outlining the actions we agreed from the appointment and I email this to Fife Migrants Forum. They will translate me letter to Polish and issue a copy to the client.
- 3pm – My email inbox is filling up fast. I reply to these in order of urgency. One of the emails confirms I have been allocated a place on the Children Poverty Action Group Universal Credit Training. I am required to complete an e-leaning prior to attending. I update my diary and set aside time to complete the e-learning module.
- 3:15pm – I receive a call from a W2W housing adviser who is looking for an update on a mutual client. She is representing our client in court in a few days for rent arrears. I explain that the client experienced issues receiving her universal credit payments. W2W benefits adviser assisted her to get her benefit back in place. I arranged an alternative payment arrangement so that the housing element is paid directly to the landlord. The landlord has agreed to allow the client to pay back the arrears on a voluntary repayment plan. The W2W housing adviser will provide me with an update after the court date.
- 3:30pm – I call the other new referral I received this morning. She is a single parent with 5 children and is affected by the benefit cap. She is struggling to pay her rent and has several other debts. I gather as much information as I can by telephone and arrange a money advice home visit. Due to childcare issues, she will not be able to attend an office appointment. I email her landlord to advise she is engaging with W2W and request they place a hold on recovery action until I am able to assess her financial difficulties. I type up her case notes and update my diary.
- 4:30pm – I check my schedule for tomorrow… W2W project meeting in the morning in Kirkcaldy and an appointment in the afternoon in Leven with a lady who suffering budgeting issues and fuel debt.
- 4:45pm – Home time!