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Thread: Letter informing ESA being reduced

  1. #1

    Letter informing ESA being reduced

    Hi,

    I have been on long term sickness related benefits for over 8 years now.

    Just received letter advising me of my benefit changes for the next tax year.

    First it advises me of my increase of benefit from 8 April 'because of a change in the rates of Social Security benefits'
    which is broken down as follows:

    Your living expenses £73.10
    Extra money because you are a carer (I live with my Mum who is higher rate DLA protected) £34.60
    Extra Money because of the Disability Income Guarantee £15.75
    Extra money because you are in the Support Group £36.20
    No income will be taken off your ESA
    So your income-related entitlement is £159.65

    The amounts on this page apply from 8 April 2015 to 26 May 2015

    Letter then goes on to advise that from 27 May my ESA will be £125.05 a week.
    'This is because of a change in money coming in.'

    The reduction of £34.60 is same amount as Carer allowance that I receive although it does not state this, could be a coincidence.

    It basically gives me very little info to work with before I contact them.
    I have no idea what they are referring to by 'change in money coming in'

    This has me really stressed out as that money is essentially the difference in me being able to keep the house adequately heated especially during colder months. I have chronic small fiber neuropathy cold is my enemy so my energy bills are horrendous.

    I have tried researching recent benefit changes that may affect my entitlement but just end up getting a fatigue headache. The benefit system is all pretty esoteric to me I am afraid. I do know that you don't get the full Carer's Allowance of £66 circa if your income is over £110?

    I know I probably haven't been able to provide enough info here but any suggestions would be most welcome. I don't want to ring the helpline without being somewhat prepared.

    I live in N. Ireland if that is relevant.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    I don't know if the Citizens Advice Bureau or something similar operates in N.Ireland, but your best bet would be to find an independent local advice service who could have a look at your paperwork and try to work out what it means. Many councils operate their own benefits advice services and most of them are pretty good, so it might be worth looking on your local council's website to see if there is anyone you can contact. Some of the national charities like Carers UK have advice helplines so if you can't find anywhere locally, you could try contacting them.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Bigmac View Post
    Hi,

    I have been on long term sickness related benefits for over 8 years now.

    Just received letter advising me of my benefit changes for the next tax year.

    First it advises me of my increase of benefit from 8 April 'because of a change in the rates of Social Security benefits'
    which is broken down as follows:

    Your living expenses £73.10
    Extra money because you are a carer (I live with my Mum who is higher rate DLA protected) £34.60
    Extra Money because of the Disability Income Guarantee £15.75
    Extra money because you are in the Support Group £36.20
    No income will be taken off your ESA
    So your income-related entitlement is £159.65

    The amounts on this page apply from 8 April 2015 to 26 May 2015

    Letter then goes on to advise that from 27 May my ESA will be £125.05 a week.
    'This is because of a change in money coming in.'

    The reduction of £34.60 is same amount as Carer allowance that I receive although it does not state this, could be a coincidence.

    It basically gives me very little info to work with before I contact them.
    I have no idea what they are referring to by 'change in money coming in'

    This has me really stressed out as that money is essentially the difference in me being able to keep the house adequately heated especially during colder months. I have chronic small fiber neuropathy cold is my enemy so my energy bills are horrendous.

    I have tried researching recent benefit changes that may affect my entitlement but just end up getting a fatigue headache. The benefit system is all pretty esoteric to me I am afraid. I do know that you don't get the full Carer's Allowance of £66 circa if your income is over £110?

    I know I probably haven't been able to provide enough info here but any suggestions would be most welcome. I don't want to ring the helpline without being somewhat prepared.

    I live in N. Ireland if that is relevant.
    I think that you are panicking unduly.

    The letter is the normal annual benefit rates letter that is received this time of the year.

    The £73.10 is your ESA personal allowance.

    The £34.60 is the carers premium for giving care to your mother,it is paid on top of your ESA as income related ESA. You cannot receive the full Carers Allowance it is classed as income against your income related ESA entitlement, hence you are left with the £34.60.

    The £15.75 is the enhanced disability premium, (aka the Disability Income Guarantee) this again is paid on top of your ESA as an income related ESA premium. You receive it as you are in the support group, and entitled to income related ESA.

    The £36.20 is the support group component addition that is paid because you are in the support group.

    You entitlement is £159.65, and this is what you will receive. The carer premium of £34.60 is just separated from your ESA payments of £125.05, it is simply the way that they have written it.

    You will be paid £125.05 + £34.60 = £159.65.

    If you are still worried ring the ESA number on the letter, or contact your local Advice NI, http://www.adviceni.net/advice/index.cfm

  4. #4
    Hi Bigmac, You say your IR ESA has changed by the same amount you receive as Carers Allowance. Unfortunately you don't say who you care for-your partner or somebody else who lives with you, or another relative/friend/neighbour. It seems likely that the person you care for has had there Higher Rate/Middle Rate Care award 'looked at again' and this has resulted in the HR/MR Care being refused.

    Your 1st port of call would be to find out from the person you care for if the DLA award has recently changed-this would unfortunately make sense to your new calculation under IR ESA. At least, as you receive Income Related ESA, your Housing Benefit (and possibly) Council Tax payments shouldn't change. This is obviously if your HB/CT system in Eireland, work similar to those in rest of UK!

    However, I was also under the impression that if person you care for, loses award allowing you to receive Carers Allowance then this should remain in payment for a further 8 weeks after person you care for loses DLA. However, as you are also claiming IR ESA, you are not entitled to the full Carers Allowance, this is classed as overlapping benefits. It your case you are however entitled to receive Carers Credit, which is similar to carer premium (a premium is an amount that is added to 'what the law says you must live on' dependent upon your personal circumstances.

    Hope this explains what I think has happened. Again, for clarification, you can telephone your jobcentre/ESA telephone number which you should find on your latest award letter that you recently received.

    It will be upto person who you care(d) for, depending on his/her situation, whether to seek advice as to why his DLA care award has changed.

    Good Luck.

  5. #5
    Apologies Bigmac, You do say it is your Mum for whom you care (I missed this 1st time round). Apart from what I have already said, bearing in mind that your say your Mothers DLA is 'protected', I suggest either calling number on your letter, as well as seeking face to face benefits advice.

  6. #6
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    Location
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    The rules in N Ireland are slightly different due to the government there not yet adopting the Welfare Reform Bill which is currently stalled in the NI parliament


    Citizens Advice NI can be found here:
    http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/nireland/benefits_ni.htm

    This Benefits Calculator is also for NI and may be of help:
    http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/benefits-adviser
    I'm intelligent enough to know that I don't know everything.
    But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.


    Migration from ESA to Universal Credit- Click here for information.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by spencer69 View Post
    Hi Bigmac, You say your IR ESA has changed by the same amount you receive as Carers Allowance. Unfortunately you don't say who you care for-your partner or somebody else who lives with you, or another relative/friend/neighbour. It seems likely that the person you care for has had there Higher Rate/Middle Rate Care award 'looked at again' and this has resulted in the HR/MR Care being refused.

    Your 1st port of call would be to find out from the person you care for if the DLA award has recently changed-this would unfortunately make sense to your new calculation under IR ESA. At least, as you receive Income Related ESA, your Housing Benefit (and possibly) Council Tax payments shouldn't change. This is obviously if your HB/CT system in Eireland, work similar to those in rest of UK!

    However, I was also under the impression that if person you care for, loses award allowing you to receive Carers Allowance then this should remain in payment for a further 8 weeks after person you care for loses DLA. However, as you are also claiming IR ESA, you are not entitled to the full Carers Allowance, this is classed as overlapping benefits. It your case you are however entitled to receive Carers Credit, which is similar to carer premium (a premium is an amount that is added to 'what the law says you must live on' dependent upon your personal circumstances.

    Hope this explains what I think has happened. Again, for clarification, you can telephone your jobcentre/ESA telephone number which you should find on your latest award letter that you recently received.

    It will be upto person who you care(d) for, depending on his/her situation, whether to seek advice as to why his DLA care award has changed.

    Good Luck.
    Hi Spencer69,

    Many thanks for taking the time to respond.

    I did actually mention in my post above that I live with my Mother who receives higher rate protected DLA and yes it is still in place.

    It could just be an administrative error as it just doesn't make sense to me.

    Caley & nukecad - thanks also for responding and advice.

    I will ring ESA Centre in the morning and take it from there.

    Kind Regards

  8. #8

    Unhappy

    Quote Originally Posted by vikstar View Post
    I think that you are panicking unduly.

    The letter is the normal annual benefit rates letter that is received this time of the year.

    The £73.10 is your ESA personal allowance.

    The £34.60 is the carers premium for giving care to your mother,it is paid on top of your ESA as income related ESA. You cannot receive the full Carers Allowance it is classed as income against your income related ESA entitlement, hence you are left with the £34.60.

    The £15.75 is the enhanced disability premium, (aka the Disability Income Guarantee) this again is paid on top of your ESA as an income related ESA premium. You receive it as you are in the support group, and entitled to income related ESA.

    The £36.20 is the support group component addition that is paid because you are in the support group.

    You entitlement is £159.65, and this is what you will receive. The carer premium of £34.60 is just separated from your ESA payments of £125.05, it is simply the way that they have written it.

    You will be paid £125.05 + £34.60 = £159.65.

    If you are still worried ring the ESA number on the letter, or contact your local Advice NI, http://www.adviceni.net/advice/index.cfm
    Thank you, vicstar - didn't see your post last night.

    I spoke to ESA this morning and they could only make a guess as to what is happening. He thought it looked like the Carer premium may be due a review. He gave me the number for the Carer section and they told me that my contributions run out in May so my ESA needs to be reassessed as Income based before the Carer premium can be worked out. He reckoned I was worrying unduly and that I may actually end up better off.

    I do wish they could explain things better when they communicate instead of leaving big open spaces for my paranoia to gallop freely

    Many thanks for all your help everyone, sites like this are such a help.

  9. #9
    Hi Bigmac, It seems other posts have appeared inbetween 1st 2 posts and my input.

    Mentioned as I did in my 1st post as this seems to be what has happened to friend, with a little difference in that friend lives alone. Friend recently has to re-apply for DLA. Original award was High Rate Mobility and Care. Also in receipt of Income Related ESA (Support Group) which until recently included Severe Disability Premium (paid at same rate for Carers Allowance). However, as friend is single and lives alone and nobody claims CA for friend, she is entitled to SDP. This is paid as part of her IR ESA.

    Now, after completing re-application for DLA this award has changed. Kept High Rate Mobility, but High Rate Care dropped to Low Rate Care (meaning further loss of SDP/or Carers Allowance if somebody had been claiming CA for caring for her). As friend no longer receives High or Middle Rate Care Component, SDP/CA cannot be claimed/payable. So, along with losing the financial drop from High Rate to Low Care Rate, this has a knock on effect on ESA, in that Severe Disability Premium is no longer payable.

    Friend received letter of new lesser award from DLA and 4 days later received letter from ESA informing that this would change, equivalent to the loss of SDP/CA from ESA. In all due to losing High Rate Care (or Middle Rate Care) to Low Care Rate, with a knock on effect to ESA losing SDP, this equates to a loss of over £100.00 per week!

    Please return and let us all know what ESA say when you have spoken to them. Many Thanks.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Bigmac View Post
    Thank you, vicstar - didn't see your post last night.

    I spoke to ESA this morning and they could only make a guess as to what is happening. He thought it looked like the Carer premium may be due a review. He gave me the number for the Carer section and they told me that my contributions run out in May so my ESA needs to be reassessed as Income based before the Carer premium can be worked out. He reckoned I was worrying unduly and that I may actually end up better off.

    I do wish they could explain things better when they communicate instead of leaving big open spaces for my paranoia to gallop freely

    Many thanks for all your help everyone, sites like this are such a help.
    I think that you might have been misinformed, but I still wouldn't worry.

    Your eligibility for payment of the carer premium (Carers Allowance) may well be due for a review in May, but you are already being paid income related (income based) ESA otherwise you would not be getting the £34.60 carers premium + the £15.75 enhanced disability premium (aka the Disability Income Guarantee) now.

    You need to have an entitlement to payment of income related (income based) ESA to receive either of these.

    As long as your mum continues to receive her higher rate DLA award, (even middle rate care suffices) and you continue to provide the 35 hours/week of care and fulfill the other eligibility criteria, http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/index/inf...ligibility.htm, all should remain the same for as long as your own and your mum's circumstances remain unchanged.

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