Help we provide
The various ways we can help:
Every case we handle is treated individually and with great sensitivity. Sometimes people just need someone to talk to, so we offer support and advice and may even refer them to another agency. In other situations, we may award a grant which does not need to be repaid, or provide an interest-free loan with realistic repayment terms.
Type of help we provide
We help with a wide range of problems, so please do get in touch if you feel we may be able to help you. Most of what we do falls into one or more of the following categories:
Illness or accident assistance
Many people contact us for help because of an unexpected illness of injury, to themselves or a close family member. We offer help with living costs, especially if market researchers don’t receive SSP, mobility aids or other medical equipment.
Help with convalescence
We can make a grant for a short stay in a nursing home, guest house or hotel to help you recuperate. Or we can pay for some help at home.
We can help you get your debts under control, including paying for a Debt Relief Order or bankruptcy. We may be able to roll up your debts into an interest-free debt to us or give other financial help. We can put you in touch with Trusts for fuel debt.
We can offer financial and emotional support to those who lose a loved one.
Emergency car or house repairs
As cars are essential for many of our applicants so they can work, we may be able to help with a grant or loan to keep their car on the road. Or we might be able to assist with urgent house repairs.
We may be able to contribute to funeral costs.
With over 15 years experience in the industry, ‘Kirsty’ started her career as an interviewer, became a coder, then a research executive and eventually a senior research executive. But she lost her job and was out of work for 12 months. Divorced with an 18 year old son and unable to find work, she was very distressed. We gave her money to cover some of her debts so she could concentrate on the job search.
“Everyone was very helpful, empathetic and supportive. No one made me feel embarrassed in any way about asking for help.”
With a seriously ill son, ‘Suzi’s’ own mental health began to affect her because she was also worried about her finances. We helped clear some of her debts.
“For the first time in months my bank balance is showing I am in the black. You have made me feel so much better…Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
FAQs about MRBA
How do I know if I am eligible for financial support?
Our rules allow us to help those who work, or worked, in the market research industry for a minimum amount of time, and their immediate family. This includes interviewers, field staff, office-based support staff, managers and researchers, executives and consultants.
Who do you consider immediate family?
- Spouse or live-in partner
- Dependent children (usually under 18)
How long do I need to have worked in market research?
Our guideline is two years for full-time workers, and the equivalent to this for part-time workers, but is at the discretion of the Committee.
I’m not a member of the MRS, can I still apply?
Yes, current or previous membership of the MRS is not required.
I feel unable to go through a lengthy application process.
Your Regional Manager will be able to visit/meet/telephone you and help you to complete the application form and explain the process.
Who are Regional Managers?
Our Regional Managers are experienced and well-informed volunteers who have worked in market research and live in your area.
Why do I need a Regional Manager? Can’t everything be done online or by phone?
Your Regional Manager can give you the best support we need to fully understand your situation. Wherever possible, a Regional Manager will meet with you to discuss this, and then send an assessment to the MRBA Committee with the completed application form. They can suggest other agencies able to give extra help and advice.
How complicated is the application form?
As a charity we need to use our funds appropriately. The form collects details of who lives in the household, your market research experience, why you are applying for help, your income and expenditure and other financial information.
I’m embarrassed about my situation. How do I know it will remain confidential?
Only the Secretary, Regional Manager and National Cases Manager know who the applicants are. Members of the MRBA Committee do not see names or identifying details. Your personal circumstances are treated in total confidence and no-one outside the MRBA will know you approached us.
What happens after I’ve filled in the application form?
Your Regional Manager will write up a report based on talking to you. That, and your form, will be sent to the National Cases Manager. The NCM will present it to the MRBA Committee, for a decision. The Regional Manager will let you know the outcome.
How long will it take for me to receive a decision?
The MRBA Committee meets approximately every six weeks so it could take two months from first contact to decision. The Regional Manager will tell you when the next Committee meeting will be. However, if your case is urgent and needs immediate attention the application will be fast-tracked.
If you decide to help, will you send me the money?
If we decide to give you a grant or loan, usually we pay the creditors/suppliers directly, doing this within days of the decision.
If my application is unsuccessful is there an appeals procedure?
The MRBA Committee tries to be as generous as possible but we don’t have unlimited funds. We cannot help everyone who approaches us. There is no appeals procedure. However, we may recommend other agencies or organisations that could help you.
After just a few years of marriage, ‘Ruth’ lost her husband because of an illness. We gave her money to help pay for his funeral expenses.
“Thank you for the cheque which went straight to the undertakers…I will never forget you coming to my aid when I was desperate and needed some help and kindness. Thank you all.”
Other organisations that can help
Here are various organisations with contact details and websites that might be able to help you.
Useful website with a wide range of downloadable information guides and fact sheets. There is also a national adviceline: 0800 678 1174.
Visit Age UK website.
They can be contacted in person at 3,500 locations, by telephone (England: 03444 111 444; Wales: 03444 77 20 20; Scotland: 0808 800 9060), online or with webchat. They offer help with a wide range of issues as well as debt, benefits and housing.
Visit Citizen’s Advice website.
Providing a list of professional counsellors and psychotherapists near you and other support services.
Access to government information on benefits, disability, tax, debt and many other matters.
Visit Government Information website.
Money Advice Service
Free and impartial advice service set up by the Government. Useful website or contact by telephone (0800 138 7777) or by webchat.
Visit Money Advice Service website.
An independent charity providing free, confidential and impartial advice by telephone and email. Wide range of factsheets and letter templates as well as advice on increasing income, budgeting and dealing with debts.
Visit National Debtline website.
This website has a benefits calculator and an online Debt Remedy tool that can work out the extent of your debt and give a personal action plan, anonymously if you wish.
Visit Stepchange website.
Turn2Us helps people living in poverty in the UK and Ireland by providing nformation and support about accessing welfare benefits and charitable grants through an accessible website and a freephone Helpline.
Visit Turn2Us website.
Debt Advice Foundation
Housing & homelessness
Shelter Northern Ireland
Help in the home for older people
Care & Repair England
Care & Repair Cymru
Tax help for those on low incomes
Tax help for Older People (TOP)
HMRC tax credits helpline:
Tel: 0345 300 3900, Textphone 0345 300 3909. Open Monday-Friday 8:00am – 8:00pm; Saturday 8:00am-4:00pm; Sunday 9:00am – 5:00pm.
Calls cost 45p/minute from mobiles and up to 12p/minute from landlines. It should be free if you call from your mobile and have landlines included in your contract.
Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) help & advice
Disability Living Allowance – DWP provides a Disability Living Allowance Helpline. The helpline can arrange help filling out claim forms over the phone. Open from 8:00am – 6:00pm Monday-Friday.
If you were born on or before 8 April 1948 (current claimants only): Tel: 0345 605 6055, Textphone: 0345 604 5312.
If you were born after 8 April 1948: Tel: 0345 712 3456, Textphone: 0345 722 4433.
For queries and information about Attendance Allowance, contact Tel: 0345 605 6055, Textphone: 0345 604 5312
Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
Helpline (general enquiries) 0345 850 3322, Textphone: 0345 601 6677. Open Monday-Friday 8:00am-6:00pm.
There is a different number if you want to make a claim for PIP. PIP Claim line:
Tel: 0800 917 2222, Textphone: 0800 917 7777. Open Monday-Friday 8:00am-6:00pm
For information ring: Tel: 0345 608 4321, Textphone: 0345 604 5312. Open Monday-Thursday 8:30am – 5:00pm; Friday 8:30am -4:30pm.
Tel: 0345 600 0723, Textphone: 0345 600 0743. Open Monday-Friday 8:00am – 6:00pm. Calls can cost up to 9p/minute from a landline, or between 3p and 55p/minute from a mobile. Your phone supplier can tell you how much you will pay. Or you can ring them and ask them to call you back.
Job Seekers Allowance
You have to apply online on Gov.uk. If you don’t have the internet, try to apply from the library or a friend’s house.
If you want to apply for housing costs, ask about this if you apply for JSA over the phone. If applying online – it’s the first section of the claim form.
If you can’t apply online, ring the claim line. You will need to explain why you can’t apply online:
Jobcentre Plus claim line:
Tel: 0800 055 6688, Textphone: 0800 023 4888. Open Monday – Friday 8:00am – 6:00pm. Calls to this number are FREE. Make a note of the date and time of you call the Claim Line. Also write down the name of the person you spoke to. You might need these details if you need to prove when you started your claim.
The Pension Service should contact you before you reach State Pension age and explain how to claim. If they do NOT, you should contact them (see www.gov.uk for details in your area) or ring: 0800 731 7898, Textphone: 0800 731 7339.
You can also claim online on the gov.uk website.
There is also a Welsh language line: 0800 731 7936, Textphone 0800 731 7013. In Northern Ireland contact: 0808 100 2658, Textphone: 0808 100 2198. Or claim online on the NIdirect website.
The claim for m for State Pension is BR1. If you get in touch by phone, the Pension Service can help you to make your claim over the phone. You will not get a claim form. At the end of the phone call, you should be advised how much State Pension you are entitled to.
How to claim Pension Credit
You can claim this by phone. The advantage of claiming this way is that, sometimes, the Pension Service can make a decision and put payments into place immediately. If you get an occupational pension, they may be able to contact your pension provider to confirm the details of your pension payments while you are on the phone. If you need it, they can arrange a home visit to help you claim.
Pension Credit claims line (England, Wales, Scotland): Tel: 0800 991 234, Textphone: 0800 169 0133. Open Monday- Friday 8:00am – 6:00pm.
In Northern Ireland, the Pension Service application line is: 0808 100 6165, Textphone: 0808 100 1165.
‘Craig’ had been working as a face-to-face interviewer for over 10 years. One evening on his way back from work he had a serious car accident. Lucky to be alive with both lungs punctured, three cracked ribs, two fractured hips, a broken arm and shattered wrist, he spent a week in intensive care and wasn’t able to work for a long time. We helped cover some of his bigger debts.
“I’m back working full-time and picking up the pieces of my life again. I’m very grateful to the MRBA for its support and urge anyone in a similar situation to get in touch with them.”