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Thread: Contribution based ESA claim - run out of credits, can never claim again?

  1. #1
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    Question Contribution based ESA claim - run out of credits, can never claim again?

    Hi, thanks for taking the time to read this.
    My name is Robbie, and for the last 4 years I've suffered from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. It affects both my feet & ankles, leaving me mostly unable to bear walking. Sitting is a struggle after a short while, and in fact the only relief I get is lying down with my feet elevated. I take 90mg of modified release morphine twice a day, with 30mg morphine as required for breakthrough pain. I'm due to start taking anti-depressants after my next visit to the docs.

    I was only finally diagnosed with this toward the end of last year (nov-dec 2013). I had a severe Gout attack in Apr 2010, which led to 'medically unexplained symptoms', until I finally got through to a Doctor in the local Pain Clinic and another Doctor in a rheumatology clinic who told me I had CRPS.

    I was working at the DWP in 2010, and lost my job by Sept 2010 due to long-term absence from work caused by ill health.

    I have since been on-again-off-again claiming ESA Contributions based and DLA - whenever the planets aligned and I was decreed worthy. I was placed in the WRAG, rather than the Support Group, and my request to be moved was denied.
    Most recently I won a tribunal in November 2013 for a claim made in January 2013, which entitled me to 1 years DLA @ higher rate mobility - backdated.

    I've put in a new claim for both benefits again, and after hearing nothing from either I called the ESA number. I was told my credits had run out and I was no longer entitled to claim Contribution based ESA ever again, unless I went back to work.

    I was under the impression that as long as I was placed into the Support Group, I would in fact be able to claim CB-ESA regardless of my NI contribs.

    Can anyone tell me which is the case?

    I'm unlikely to ever be employable since I'm pretty much stuck in the house and pain comes and goes as IT pleases, with no regard to a standard working day. To be told that because my wife works we'll never get help again was a big blow today.

    Sorry for the long story, and thanks for any info offered.
    Robbie

  2. #2
    There is a 'linking rule' for ESA claims. In most cases, if you claim ESA again within 12 weeks, it is seen as a continuation of your previous claim. If the break is longer than 12 weeks, it is treated as a new claim.

    If the 'linking rule' does not apply, you have to satisfy the two NI contribution conditions afresh for the new ESA claim. It sounds as if you last worked too long ago to satisfy the first contribution condition, which means you cannot qualify for Contributions Based ESA unless you pay a certain amount of NI contributions whilst working in each of two tax years. Credits from being on benefits only count towards the second contribution condition.


    However, I'm curious as to why you have made a new Contributions Based ESA claim. If you were receiving Contributions Based ESA but had stopped receiving payments because you'd had 52 weeks of payments whilst not in the Support Group, you will still be on Contributions Based ESA at the nil rate unless something has ended your entitlement (including you deliberately closing the claim).

    If you are still on Contributions Based ESA at the nil rate, you need to report a change of circumstances in an attempt to be moved to the Support Group. If this succeeds, ESA payments will restart.

    You therefore need to establish if you are still on Contributions Based ESA at the nil rate, and, if so, report a change of circumstances.



    If you received a letter inviting you to renew your expiring DLA award and the renewal claim pack reached DWP before your DLA ended in January, you can remain under the DLA system for now. However, I would have expected any renewal DLA claim to have been dealt with by now - they seem to be relatively quick these days.

    If the circumstances I outlined in the previous paragraph do not apply, you cannot make a new claim for DLA and must claim PIP instead. There's more about PIP in the sticky PIP thread.

    If you are unsure where you stand, check with the DLA helpdesk.

  3. #3
    When did your contribution based ESA run out? When was you placed in WRAG until originally? If your claim is still running then as I understand it (now I do lol) you can ask for the move to the support group.

    Perhaps looking at your post again, you were given a timescale in wrag and you did not have another ESA50 to fill in?

    And if your DLA was from Jan 2013 to Jan 2014 I assume you would have had to claim PIP for a new claim? Not sure on this one as I have never claimed DLA but I think that all "new" claims for this would be now PIP. Flymo has posted above.
    Last edited by KAREN SV; 05-07-2014 at 05:23 PM.

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