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Thread: ESA payment

  1. #1
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    ESA payment

    Hi,
    because of my disabilities and mental health problems, I have been on Income Support.

    Recently I had to complete an ESA form to allow my benefits to continue, with a change from weekly Income Support payments to fortnightly ESA payments. I have definitive medical proof of my physical and mental health disabilities and was placed in the Support Group.

    Iím extremely grateful of receiving benefits but on Income Support, I was paid weekly by special arrangement but now my ESA is to be paid fortnightly.

    I wrote to the DWP and received a phone call back of an advisor who was quite abrupt and told me ESA must be paid fortnightly.
    She said that there are no circumstances were ESA can be paid weekly for any longer than a month.

    This might not sound like a problem to the majority of you but please believe me, when you suffer with some mental health problems, CHANGE is a massive problem. When my mental health is at its lowest, deep depressive episodes occur, usually followed by periods of mania

    My question is.
    Please can anyone tell me if there are circumstances that allow continual weekly ESA payments ?

    Hope someone can please help me with some advice.

    Thanks

    Paul.

  2. #2
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    ask to speak to a manager, it states on dwp site that (esa is usually paid fortnightly) this suggest's that there may be le-way to pay it weekly,
    you could always state that you need it weekly as a (reasonable adjustment under equality act)

  3. #3
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    As i understand it, the DWP can change to weekly payments, but only in times of proven crisis or severe hardship. And I think that it's only for a few weeks - not on an ongoing basis.

  4. #4
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    Regulations lay down that the normal payment interval for ESA is fortnightly in arrears. The same regulations grant the Secretary of State (i.e. the DWP) discretion to pay at other intervals, but persuading them to pay weekly rather than fortnightly for an indefinite period is likely to be difficult. The switch a few years ago to benefits being paid directly into people's accounts and the abolition of most weekly payments saved a lot of money.

    In case you're interested, the regulation in question is regulation 26C of The Social Security (Claims and Payments) Regulations 1987 (as amended). Unfortunately, I can't point you to a public version of the text, as no public web site carries secondary legislation such as this with all the amendments embodied, and I don't know where the particular regulation appears amongst the myriad of amendments over the last 26 years.


    As has been said, you can try going down the Equality Act 2010 "reasonable adjustments" route, but you would need to argue that not being paid weekly would disadvantage you for reasons connected with your disability. A difficult in dealing with change would appear sufficient - but that argument is undermined if the DWP has already switched you to fortnightly payments as it would be a further change to move back to weekly payments.

    Even if you show fortnightly payments would disadvantage you, the DWP could try arguing that it is not a reasonable adjustment to pay weekly considering the extra costs they would incur on an ongoing basis and that this adjustment would not be effective in insulating you from the many changes found in daily life. I would recommend trying to show why this particular change is difficult to cope with to help blunt this last argument.


    I would say it's certainly worth trying an Equality Act "reasonable adjustments" argument if you want to take this further, but the DWP are likely to put up a fight and it will likely not be the last word in the matter if you do succeed. At some point in the future, they will likely try switching you to fortnightly payments again, which would mean a further battle to stay on weekly payments.

    That said, only you can decide what is worse for your health and wellbeing: having a fight with the DWP or adjusting to fortnightly payments.

  5. #5
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    ESA is a fortnightly (2 weekly) benefit, the DWP will no doubt fight tooth and nail to resist payments being made to an individual on an ongoing or permanent weekly basis.
    As I understand it, cases have been raised in parliament about the hardship of removing weekly payment of benefits to certain groups of people, but the DWP are not for budging.
    Sadly, and ultimately, (and without my sounding defeatist) it may be a case of adjusting to fortnightly payments.

  6. #6
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    I think we've reached the same conclusion, ivb - this one probably is not worth fighting, as the DWP is unlikely to exercise its discretion to make weekly payments.

    It is likely to be easier to adjust to fortnightly payments than to get involved in the kind of battle that is likely to ensue if this matter is taken further. There is little chance of getting legal help with this battle and even if the battle is successful, it will not resolve the matter forever.


    When changes were made in the benefits system, the old approach was to isolate people on the old benefits and protect them so far as possible. Sometimes, people find themselves subject to a system two major sets of revisions behind the current system. I am amongst those still on Severe Disablement Allowance, which closed to new claims in April 2001. For existing claimants this benefit has survived the abolition of this benefit as part of introducing Incapacity Benefit, and, for now at least, the replacement of Incapacity Benefit with ESA.

    However, the new approach to changes in the benefits system is to migrate claimants to the new benefits. Those with SDA will be migrated to contributions based ESA (and will be deemed to have satisfied the contribution conditions), though this will not take place until the migration of those on Incapacity Benefit to ESA is complete.


    The general principle is clear - nobody is immune to changes in the benefits system. Though the discretion exists to give Paul what he is seeking, it is likely to be hard to persuade the DWP to except him from the change to fortnightly payments. That said it is, of course, for Paul to decide on what he wants to do.

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