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Former colleague of CA seeks help with her Attendance Allowance benefit

Mrs King came to see Citizens Advice Hart at one of the Outreach venues a few weeks ago to seek advice on her Attendance Allowance benefit. Mrs King is 101 years old and has recently found that her Attendance Allowance benefit has been reduced from the higher to the lower level and she didn’t know why as her health had not improved. She couldn’t understand the decision of the DWP, so she came to see us. 

Mrs King said she knew where to get help because she herself had worked for Citizens Advice when she was younger. Her husband had been in the army and as the Commanding Officer’s wife she had looked after over 200 families at one time and had travelled with him to America and Germany. Their army careers ended in Catterick and then they moved to Hazelmere where both her husband and she volunteered at the local Citizens Advice office. She recalls that everything was done longhand on paper, and they had an immense filing system and storage for all the case notes which occasionally had to be accessed if a client wished help to go to a Tribunal for a benefit appeal. She says they didn’t have any appointments, only drop ins and there was always a waiting room full of clients when they arrived. They never left before 4pm which was the official closing time.  

She and her husband moved to Aldershot, and they continued volunteering at Citizens Advice. The issues there differed from Hazelmere and were frequently more serious and based around benefit applications. Her husband became an expert in benefits and having retired once from Citizens Advice was persuaded back to help. She worked as a generalist covering a wide range of issues for about 5 or 6 years. 

She recalls having to request help from The Lions for donations for single parent families for clothes and they also referred women to the local refuge when they felt threatened or in danger. 

The areas of work she spoke about are very similar to the ones we deal with today and the external signposting and help with obtaining finance for clients also very similar. Food banks didn’t exist, but people still needed help of all sorts. 

This week, we helped her challenge the DWP by requesting a reconsideration of her benefit award and happily her full Attendance Allowance has been reinstated. 

Mrs King’s story is a testament to the impact of Citizens Advice Hart and the difference we can make in people’s lives. We’re grateful for her trust in us and proud to have played a part in her journey. 

Thank you to Caroline, our Outreach Adviser for sharing Mrs King’s story.

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