One of our members got a shock when they received a letter saying they owed over £500 to the council in care charges.

PFM Member: “I was scared of what I had done or hadn’t done. I knew what was going in and out of my bank and I keep the receipts as proof I have been making payments. The letter made me feel like I had done something wrong.”

They found the letter confusing and difficult to understand so they reached
out to People First Merseyside for support.

PFM Member: “I was confused because I couldn’t fully understand the letter. It wasn’t put in language that I could understand. I knew we had just employed a liaison officer to help people with these issues. I knew not to ignore the help to the side and to seek help.”

We weren’t convinced that the letter was correct, so we decided to investigate by contacting different departments at the council and care providers to get to the bottom of the situation.

PFM Member: “During the process I felt worried still. It was really difficult to get it off my mind and think of anything else.”

After over a month of calls back and forth, it was realised by staff at the
council that there had been an error. Instead of owing over £500, our member was instead owed a refund of nearly £40!

Next, our member needed to claim their refund. Once our member had received, completed, and sent away their refund form, there was another wait until it was finally transferred into their account to put an end to the matter. The whole process took over two months in total.

PFM Member: “I felt happy knowing I didn’t have to pay £538.36 but was getting some money back instead. It was quite frustrating waiting for the refund to come through, when it finally did it was a big relief that all of this was finished!”

When reflecting on the whole journey, they had this to say:

PFM Member: “I respected that they were doing their job, but I felt maybe they could have been more professional. I think they could have sent better letters, with easier language as I am someone with a learning disability and they should have known that.”

They also had some advice for anyone else who might find themselves in a
similar situation:

PFM Member: “If this ever happens to you, tell someone who can help you look into it. Don’t ignore important letters until it gets out of hand.”

“I would like to thank People First for employing a Liaison Officer to help with issues like this. If we hadn’t, I probably wouldn’t know what to do.”

You’re very welcome!


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