We're excited to be joining in with #TalkMoney Week, which is all about encouraging people to have conversations about their finances to improve their physical, mental and financial wellbeing. As part of our celebrations we're inviting our customers to get to know some of the friendly faces on the other end of the phone. Today we're excited to introduce Andy, an Intensive Support Caseworker in our money advice team.

To find out more about #TalkMoney week, organised by the Money & Pensions Service, please click here.

231 Smith, Andy

Covid-19 has changed my average work day quite a bit, but I still spend most of my time responding to referrals from our money coaches and getting in touch with customers who need support with their finances.

We’ll normally start with a telephone call, or if that isn’t suitable I’ll visit people at home. I’ll gather all the information I need, such as details of existing benefits, employment details, and any arrears or debts they might have. I can help by contacting creditors to put a hold on any recovery action while I work with the customer, and then I’ll spend a few days helping with case work – this might be writing a benefit application form, filling out statements or helping to create payment plans that will start clearing debts and arrears. I can also help with applying to funds for eligible customers to support them to afford white goods and similar things.

My favourite thing about my job is the difference it can make to a customer – there are some really complicated systems out there that I can help them navigate, and something that appears simple like being approved for Universal Credit can make a huge difference to their life.

I wish people knew that we really want to help them, but to do that we need them to engage with us and provide all the information we ask for. We’re not here to judge you or decisions you’ve made in the past – we just want to help you get back on track. Occasionally there might be things that we can’t help with – but if we can’t, we will know the people who can and we’ll get you in touch with them.

My advice for customers with financial worries is that the earlier you start to tackle any issues, the easier it is to sort out. Don’t be afraid of contacting creditors and explaining your situation as they will usually want to help, and you can always contact our money advice service or services like Shelter and Citizen’s Advice, that can give you information on where to start. There are some really good, reputable services out there giving information and advice, and all you need to do is ask.