Harriet's story

My situation

I am married and work full time as a financial director. I have a fairly ordered life, but my brother has mental health problems and over the years has got harder and harder to manage. He has bipolar, and also severe anxiety, so he’s unable to manage his day to day finances and finds interactions with others difficult. He has been living in caravans all over the place, and when he does have stable accommodation he gets distracted and blows up the microwave or lets the kettle boil dry. It’s one drama after another. No one talked about it really, my dad dealt with him, and shielded my mum and I. But then my dad died and my brother’s mental health got worse. 

How caba helped me

After a string of failed jobs and upsets, my brother eventually moved in with my mum who is now in her 90s. There’s a lot of upset between them. My mum isn’t very flexible, she struggles to understand that my brother can’t help the way he is.  They argue daily, and they both call me to sort it out.  My brother has a good heart but he overspends and can’t organise himself to manage his medical appointments or normal tasks. 

He was getting some benefits but they were very minimal. Then a huge assessment form came through the post which he was unable to cope with. He was ignoring reminders, and I started to think that his benefits would be stopped unless I figured it out. I phoned Caba and explained my situation. 

Caba have staff trained in the benefits system and they were able to help me complete the forms. They advised on how to make sure I made the best case for my brother. Then they also looked at the household’s finances overall and pointed out a number of other benefits that my brother and mum could each apply for. It was unbelievably helpful. They checked the payments when they came through too, noticed an under payment and advised on how to get it resolved. They spent hours on the phone with me, and as a result, my brother and my mum now get all the benefits they are entitled to. Their overall income has really improved.

My life now

Caba’s support has made a significant difference to my life. I still need to speak to my mum and my brother every night and there are still a lot of emotional demands, I spend every weekend getting their jobs done like cleaning the oven and organising hospital appointments. But now they have correct benefits, I am not under the enormous pressure of wondering how I can keep them out of poverty too. 

My advice

If you are struggling with PIP or Attendance Allowance or any of the other benefits, contact caba now.  Don’t procrastinate. The support is there and it will definitely be helpful – they know so much about benefits that your average person couldn’t possibly know. You’ll get a better outcome with their advice.  

how caba can help

caba supports the wellbeing of past and present ICAEW members, ACA students, ICAEW staff members, and their spouses, partners and children up to the age of 25. For advice, information and support please:

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Who is eligible for support?

We support past and present members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW), ACA students, ICAEW staff members, and the family and carers of members and students. 

  1. No matter where your career takes you, past and present members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England Wales (ICAEW) are eligible for caba’s services for life, even if you change your career and leave accountancy 
  2. ACA students (ICAEW Provisional Members) who are either an active student or have been an active student within the last three years are eligible for caba's services 
  3. Past and present staff members of the ICAEW or caba are eligible for caba's services for life, even if you leave either organisation. Please note, for former employees, our financial support is only available to those who have had five years continuous employment with either organisation 
  4. Family members and carers of either an eligible past or present ICAEW member, ACA student or past or present employee of the ICAEW or caba are eligible for caba's support. We define a family member as a: 
    1. spouse, civil partner or cohabiting partner 
    2. widow, widower or surviving civil partner who has not remarried or cohabiting with a partner 
    3. divorced spouse or civil partner who has not remarried or cohabiting with a partner 
    4. child aged up to 25. Please note, children aged between 16 and 25 are not eligible for individual financial support 
    5. any other person who is dependent on the eligible individual supporting them financially or are reliant on the eligible individual’s care 
    6. any other person on whom the eligible individual is reliant, either financially or for care 

You can find out more about our available support both in the UK and around the world on our support we offer  page. 

Are your services means-tested?

If you need financial support, we carry out a means test where we consider income, expenditure, capital and assets.  

*Please note none of our other services are means-tested. 

I’m an accountant, but not a member of ICAEW, can you still help?

Unfortunately not. We only support past and present ICAEW members, their carers and their families. If we are unable to support you, where possible we will point you to help elsewhere.

caba has supported me in the past; can I receive support from caba again?

We understand that circumstances change. If we’ve helped you in the past there’s no reason why we can’t help you again. You can contact us at any time. Please call us if you need our help.

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