Sarah arrived for her appointment at our office anxious and distressed. She had received a letter threatening committal to prison following a failure to provide information to the court. She is a single parent of three children, working part time and claiming benefits.
We gave her the option of a Debt Relief Order (DRO). She has no assets, a shortfall of around £180-a-month and debts of around £10,000. She was struggling to cover her priority commitments like rent and council tax so a payment plan was never going to work.
We first addressed the shortfall because there is little point in dealing with the debts if the client cannot manage her priority commitments. We checked the benefit entitlement and discovered Sarah’s Housing Benefit award was incorrect because they were only paying for two children. Once this was rectified, the Housing Benefit award increased by around £50-a-week. No backdated amount was due because the error lay with the client.