Tony was 17 years of age and attended college full time when we first met him. Tony has Special Educational Needs and receives high level Personal Independence Payments (PIP).
Tony lived with his mother and her boyfriend who regularly fought. Tony has brothers who are all older, unemployed and regularly smoke marijuana. Tony’s mother and her boyfriend are often away for months at a time leaving him in the care of his three older brothers. Tony described a life of fear where his brothers used to bully him, his mother had full control over his finances and didn’t give him any of his money.
When we first met Tony his clothes were tatty, he was unkempt and unhappy. Tony told me that he was scared and that he didn’t like being at home.
Tony wanted to move out and after several conversations it became clear that he had a close female friend who he often stayed with when things went wrong. Her name is Sarah. Sarah also has Special Educational Needs and lives with her parents who offer her care and support. Sarah’s mother had a spare room and was happy for Tony to stay there.
With support from the project we prepared a licence agreement, applied for Universal Credit, Bursary at college and to change the PIP payments over to Tony as he was no longer living at home.
Unfortunately this process was not easy. Tony’s mother refused to take her name off as his appointee for PIP, college and the project had a meeting with her where we informed her we would be making a referral to adult social care and advising Tony to go to the police as this is a criminal offence as he had just turned 18.
Following several conversations with DWP we arranged a meeting for them to come out and visit Tony to assess his needs.
We attended Tony’s initial meeting for Universal Credit, with him and Sarah’s Mum. The work coach had no understanding of his additional needs and his inability to work full time. We were told that we needed a doctor’s letter that stated he could not work.
Following on from these meetings an appointment with CAB was made as it seemed unfair that they expected Tony to work full time, not claim any living expenses.
After a few further meetings, we were able to secure housing benefit through Universal Credit, a doctor wrote a letter stating that Tony couldn’t work, He applied for his driving licence, changed his addresses, is now in receipt of his PIP (with guidance from Sarah’s Mum) has his own licence agreement, and has applied for a bursary through college.
Tony is in contact with his Mother, however she has now moved out of the country and is no longer playing an active role in his life.