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Thread: ESA Conts to ESA IR

  1. #1

    ESA Conts to ESA IR

    Hi,
    I’m a long time lurker but thought I’d finally post a query of my own.

    I started a claim for ESA in 2011, after I had to leave work through ill health. It took over a year to be assessed, as there was a long delay for the WCA in my area. I was paid ESA at the assessment rate for this time but they told me it was Contributions based. However, after 52 weeks I received a letter saying that the ESA Conts was no longer payable as I was only entitled to it for a year. A couple of weeks later I received the news that I had been assessed as Support Group, where I have remained ever since (Income based).

    My question is, should I be receiving ESA Conts with an underlying entitlement to income based as my husband is my carer and I don’t work? I understand that once Conts is paid that Support Group claimants do not have the 52 week rule applied. But how would this work when the initial assessment took so long that the 52 weeks ran out before the decision was made?
    Is it even worth me opening this query with them now after all this time? It was only after recently reading something that I realised my claim may be incorrect, but I’m reluctant to open Pandora’s Box and end up worse off.
    Sorry for the rambling novel as a first post, it’s a bit confusing and I’m not sure if I’ve articulated things well.
    Thanks in advance for any help.

  2. #2
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    Yes you should indeed be getting Contribution Based ESA, for the reasons you say. But I think you already will be, see below.

    Here is the DWP memo about to the Welfare Reform Act 2012 which brought in the 52 week limit for CB WRAG (and CB ESA Assessment Rate).
    https://www.gov.uk/government/upload...es-q-and-a.pdf

    On page 9 you will find this: (My bolding and underlining).
    How will this change affect claimants who have a
    fluctuating condition and move between the Work
    Related Activity Group and Support Group?

    During a claim for contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance
    there will be a limit of 365 days benefit for those not in the Support Group.
    Time spent in the assessment phase will count towards the 365 day time limit
    unless it is immediately followed by entitlement to the support component.

    Any time spent in the Support Group will not count towards the 365 day time-
    limit. This means a claimant will be able to get contribution-based
    Employment and Support Allowance for up to 365 days in the Work Related
    Activity Group and at any time whilst in the Support Group
    . If someone moves
    into the Support Group from the Work Related Activity Group they will be paid
    contribution-based benefit, even if they have already had 365 days in the
    Work Related Activity Group.
    So the fact that your decision wasn't made until after the 52 week limit is irrelevant.

    However are you absolutely sure that you are not already getting CB ESA with an IR ESA top-up?

    The letters they send out can be very confusing about this, they tend only to mention the IR part and not mention the CB part.
    That's because there is no difference in what you get paid. (Unless you have high savings or a working partner).

    The way it works is that they calculate your IR ESA amount, deduct the CB ESA amount from that, then pay both the reduced IR ESA and CB ESA as one payment. You could see how trying to explain that on a letter could get confusing.
    It's much clearer when the do the same thing with UC because that is paid seperately.
    ie. They calculate the UC amount, deduct the CB ESA amount, and then pay the reduced UC and the CB ESA seperately.

    Talking to the phone jockeys won't usually help as the vast majority of them aren't even taught, and don't know, that it is possible to have both CB ESA with an IR ESA top-up at the same time (They'll try to tell you it can only be one or the other, not both - they are wrong).

    I think that you will indeed be on CB ESA with an IR ESA top-up, but if you want to check/clarify this then ask the DWP to send you a form ESA124 "How your Employment and Support Allowance was worked out".
    (If you ask on the phone just ask for that form, don't try to explain why - you'll only confuse them).

    That form is better than their standard letters because it shows clearly, in seperate columns which parts are CB ESA and which parts are IR ESA.
    (CB in column A, and IR in column B).
    You can see an example here: ESA124.pdf

    EDIT, Sorry I linked to the wrong form, I've corrected it now.
    Last edited by nukecad; 06-08-2019 at 03:04 PM.
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

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  3. #3
    Thank you for your speedy reply Nukecad, very helpful and much appreciated.
    I will certainly ask for that form on Monday to clarify things. As far as I am aware I’m definitely only in receipt of IR as there has never been anything but IR mentioned on any letter I’ve received over the past 8 years. The only mention of ESA C was back in 2011, then a year later to say it had ended. The next letter detailed support group decision and described award as IR.
    However, as you say they don’t detail things all that well in their communications so definite clarification from them is needed.

    If it turns out that I am only on ESA IR do you think I should raise things with the DWP? I’m terrified of rocking the boat and ending up getting reassessed or forced on to UC. I’ve been lucky enough to have a relatively simple time of it benefits wise and don’t want to poke the bear...

  4. #4
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    If it does turn out to be IR only then ask them to correct it.

    It shouldn't make any difference to what you are being paid, but the CB part of ESA can stay outside of UC.
    The IR part will still get migtated to UC at sometime and then you will have both CB ESA and.UC, which works like I said above.

    Just for interest could you say how much ESA you currently get?
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

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  5. #5
    I get £148 per week - I can’t remember the exact breakdown but can find a letter if you need it. I also get enhanced rate daily living and mobility PIP.
    Thanks again for your help, you’re doing amazing work.

  6. #6
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    Mmm, Do you mean £128?

    That is the standard rate for someone in Support Group with EDP. (You wouldn't get SDP because you have a partner, unless he had his own disability).
    £ 73.01 Personal Allowance (Could be CB or IR)
    £ 38.55 Support Group (Could be CB or IR)
    £ 16.80 EDP (Only ever IR)
    £128.36 Total ESA payment.

    However it seems a bit odd because it doesn't seem to take any other account of your having a partner.
    (Again unless he had his own (CB?) benefits, or was working less than 24 hours/week so his income was being deducted from couples rate of IR ESA leaving £148).

    Not prying - None of that is realy important to the question of whether the main component of your ESA is CB or IR.

    The ESA124 will detail just how your ESA is being calculated, and any additions or deductions being made.
    Things will be clearer once you have that
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

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  7. #7
    Found my letter. Hopefully this allows you to make some sense of the amount.

    Living expenses for you and your partner: £114.85
    Extra money because partner is a carer: £36.85
    Extra money for Disability Income Guarantee: £24.10
    Extra money for Support Group: £38.55
    Total = £214.35

    Deductions
    Carers Allowance for your partner: £66.15.

    Total income related entitlement = £148.20

    Thanks again.

  8. #8
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    Thanks, I thought it should be couples rate with a deduction.

    The CA and the carer premium of £36.85 makes sense of it.

    The 'Disability Income Guarantee' mentioned there is actually the Enhanced Disability Premium.
    No one knows why they call it a different name on letters. (Not even the DWP can explain it).

    Your partner claiming CA is also another reason why you don't get the Severe Disability Premium on your ESA.
    Claiming the CA is the correct way to do it to get the most money.

    So all you need now is the ESA124 to see/confirm that the main part of your ESA is Contribution Based, with the two premiums being Income Related.
    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.

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