"They have made such a big difference to my life."

Thirteen’s living well coordinators have helped a customer to claim over £40,000 in backdated financial support. Read Malcolm's story here...

12 Dec 2023

Malcolm*, 74, has lived in the area all his life. At the age of 16 he joined the Royal Navy where he served for eight years. He then went on to have a varied career working in everything from plumbing to farming. Malcolm is an active member of his community and enjoys growing fruit and vegetables at the allotment.

Malcolm has been a Thirteen customer for over six years.  

Recently, Malcolm’s living well coordinators, Lorraine and Nicola, noticed that Malcolm’s rent payments had stopped. They immediately knew this was out of character for him. They arranged to visit Malcolm, to check in and offer their support. 

Lorraine and Nicola visited Malcolm at his home. It was here that he shared with them that he had been living off his savings and had been borrowing money from his friend to survive. Malcolm hadn’t claimed for any of the financial support available to him, and as a result, had less than £80 to live off.

Malcolm explained that unfortunately at the time of turning the pensionable age, he was given a short-term terminal diagnosis. He told the pension service he would live off his savings for the time he had left.

Ten years after receiving the diagnosis, Malcolm’s savings ran out.

Malcolm really struggled to open up about his money worries and did what he could to make it through, but this meant eventually he didn’t have enough money to pay his rent, buy food, or heat his home.

Nicola and Lorraine stepped in immediately to do what they could to help.

They carried out a benefit check with Malcolm, to find out what financial support he was entitled to.

The benefit check identified that Malcolm would be able to submit an application for a back dated payment of his pension, and other financial support available to him.

Nicola and Lorraine helped Malcolm to submit the application. They helped to photocopy his documents, posted paperwork for him, and helped him to complete the online questionnaire. 

Malcolm received a payment of £40,000 a few weeks later.

This was made up of his unclaimed pension and back dated pension credit.

Speaking about the support he’s received, Malcolm said: “I was living with constant worry about how I would be able to continue living this way. Eventually, I was able to talk to my friend about it, but I found it so hard to ask for any other help with my money. I think people from my generation find it hard to talk about these things, I was letting pride get in the way.

“I’d really encourage Thirteen customers who are struggling to pay their rent, or struggling to pay for their daily needs, to speak up and ask for help. It’s such a relief to know this support is here. I wouldn’t have known I could claim for this money without Nicola and Lorraine. I want to say a big thank you to them both, they have made such a difference to my life. They’ve taken my worry away.”

Lorraine, living well coordinator at Thirteen said: “We’re both so happy for Malcolm. We are really pleased that we could help him in this way. We know that talking about money worries can be difficult for people, but there’s no judgment from us. We will do what we can to help.

“The most important thing to us is the wellbeing of our customers. Knowing that Malcolm feels happier and more comfortable makes us proud.”

Nicola, living well coordinator at Thirteen said: “We would encourage any of our customers to speak to us if they have money worries. We are here to help and support. We can help with benefit checks, look at income and expenditure, we can put our customers in touch with other organisations that can help too. There is support out there.”

If you are a Thirteen customer and have concerns about money, please speak to us. We can help.

You can speak to your housing services coordinator, your living well coordinator or give us a call on 0300 111 1000.

*Name has been changed to protect privacy