Miss C lives alone in a private rented property and is in receipt of Universal Credit (UC). She was paying £108 per month direct from her UC for court fines which, after rent, left her with £44.29 to pay for food and household bills for a month.
An adviser contacted the court to see if they could reduce the reduction but they stated that the deduction rates were fixed under UC and no change could be made. The adviser then contacted the DWP who also refused to reduce the deductions citing that this was the correct amount under the regulations.
We advised the client to request a means enquiry hearing at the court in front of a Magistrate and assisted by providing a financial statement to highlight hardship. The request at the hearing was to reduce the deduction from her UC to the previous lowest acceptable repayment which was £5.00 per week.
The client attended the means hearing with our financial statement. The Magistrate agreed to reduce the deduction to £10 per fortnight based on financial hardship. This reduced the deduction to £21.67 per month leaving the client with £130.62 for food and household bills; an £86.33 increase.
The client can now afford to heat her property and buy food without resorting to food banks.