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Preston man who spent years living on the breadline builds business helping struggling Brits & fighting against the ‘benefits stigma’

Paul Brennan benefits advisor

After spending his childhood living on the breadline, a Preston man has built a business aimed at helping Brits experiencing difficulties with the benefits system, and fighting against a nationwide ‘benefits stigma’.

Paul Brennan (59) first experienced the UK benefits system when his father Joe fell off a crane 30 feet in the air while working as a fitter’s mate.

“He landed directly on his back and that essentially ended his career in manual labour. He was part of a union at the time and got some support from them but I can remember him feeling like he had no one to turn to for the help he needed”.

Paul and his family spent the next 10 years living on benefits, and explains that their life on the breadline meant there was a constant struggle to make ends meet.

“I’ve seen it at the sharp end. There were many nights of going to bed with a hot water bottle and a blanket. We just about managed to get by, but we struggled for a long time”.

Paul explains that his father felt embarrassed about having to claim benefits, and, due to his own experiences, takes issue with the pervasive attitude across the UK that those who claim benefits are lazy.

“My dad was a very proud man and for him it felt as if he was begging - but the benefits system was much more complex to navigate back then and oftentimes you almost did have to beg just to get what you were entitled to. The attitude that people on benefits are scrounging are lying still prevails today and it’s completely outdated. You pay insurance for your car or house and when something goes wrong you’re entitled to financial support. It’s the same with national insurance - people have a right to a safety net, and that concept only started to be understood post-pandemic when millions went on universal credit”.

Paul went on to create Benefit Answers - a business aimed at helping Brits figure out which benefits they’re entitled to - and fighting against any unfairly rejected claims.

“I’ve spent most of my adult life in this sector and I’ve seen every benefit, every welfare reform, and every government excuse there is to see. I want to provide the support I couldn’t access as a child and make a difference in the lives of those who need it the most. We’ve seen a case where a pensioner couple had been underpaid £200 per week for years, and eventually they were back-paid a lump sum of £15,000”.

About Benefit Answers

Benefit Answers offer a free question and answer service to UK residents experiencing difficulties with benefits. Their experts ensure that your benefits problems are dealt with professionalism and efficiency. No jargon, just accurate, straight-forward advice tailored to you and your circumstances.

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