Citizens Advice Winchester District helped Janet through an incredibly emotional and stressful period of her life.

Janet is in her 60’s and has schizophrenia. Her mental health condition has meant that she has been unable to hold down regular employment and she has relied on the support of her mother for much of her life. She has lived with her mum in a one-bedroom council house in rural Winchester for over 6 years.

Janet came to Citizens Advice Winchester District for help after her mother fell ill and was subsequently moved into a nursing home. After many years of being supported by her mother, Janet was suddenly alone and was unsure how she would cope by herself.

Sadly a few months after contacting Citizens Advice, Janet’s mother passed away. Citizens Advice Winchester District supported Janet through this very emotional and stressful time by ensuring she took the necessary steps she needed to take to remain in her home and to be financially independent. Firstly, we helped Janet to succeed her mother’s council tenancy so that she had the right to remain in their home, without this she would be at risk of being made homeless. We also helped her negotiate rent arrears repayments which had built up after her mother passed away.

We also assisted Janet in making a claim for Universal Credit and helped with separate applications for disability benefits for which she was entitled. For someone who is digitally excluded like Janet, applying for benefits is extremely challenging as everything is completed online. Whilst Janet was waiting for her first Universal Credit payment, we referred her to a foodbank and also made sure she was under the support of Winchester City Council’s Adult Support Services.

A few months on and Janet is managing really well. She is financially independent and is hoping for a property move within the District so she can be nearer to friends.