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Thread: claiming esa and ni criteria

  1. #1

    claiming esa and ni criteria

    I have an appointment Monday for an esa claim but i'm worried i may not be eligible after looking into it more. Although i've been in work for 12 years and paid more than £20k in national insurance there was a gap of 6 months within the last 2 tax years where i left employment. I then went back on a much lower salary. From what i understand on the gov website i won't qualify because of that. Here's what i paid in ni:

    2015/16-earned £25500 payed £1745 national insurance
    2016/17-earned £25100 payed £1633 national insurance
    2017/18-earned £4900 payed £273 national insurance
    2018/19-earned £15500 payed £805 national insurance

    My understanding is for 2017/18 i haven't earned the lower income threshold which would be £5650 for that year. I've never claimed any benefits before but have mental health issues now and really need this money as i'm out of work again due to me health. I won't qualify for any means tested benefits as i live with my girlfriend who earns more than £16k a year. I still pay for half of everything and we don't share our incomes but that doesn't seem to matter.

    Advice on esa would be appreciated. I'd like to know if i definitely will not get it due to this gap in employment or whether any discretion is allowed in awarding it.

  2. #2
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    It's the last 2 complete tax years that count, so that would be 2017/8 and 2018/9.

    First qualifying condition:
    In one of those 2 years you must have paid Class 1 or Class 2 contributions at the the lower earnings limit for at least 26 weeks.
    That's 26 weeks paid contributions in either one of those 2 years.
    (This condition can be waived in certain circumstances).

    Second qualifying condition:
    In both of those 2 years you must have either been paid or credited with class 1 or 2 contributions to the value of 50 times the lower earnings limit.

    The lower earnings limits were:
    2017/8 - £113 per week.
    2018/9 - £116 per week.

    It's important to note that for condition 1 you don't have to have paid 26 times those amounts, it's 26 times the NI you would pay if earning that amount.

    It's not entirely clear from what you say if you have paid 26 weeks worth of qualifying NI contributions. (Or if any waiver would apply).

    You would also need to have had been credited with (unpaid) NI credits in those years even if the waiver does apply. You get NI credits if you claim JSA or another benefit when not working.

    You can see the rules and the special case waivers here: https://www.entitledto.co.uk/help/em...ribution-based

    As you are living with your partner who seems to be working full time then your partner is expected to support you. (Just as if you were married).
    For that reason you would not seem to qualify for Income Related benefits.

    One other thing that you may be able to claim is PIP.
    This does not depend on your NI contributions, and is not affected by a working partner.
    You will need to have an assessment of your capabilities and needs.
    https://www.gov.uk/pip
    Last edited by nukecad; 08-15-2019 at 11:48 AM.
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  3. #3
    Thank you for your reply. I'm fine on the first condition but i believe i will fail the second condition. If i'm interpreting it correct then 50 times the lower earnings limit for the year in question would be around £5600 and i earned £4900 that year. I also didn't claim any benefits during that time. Also i don't meet any of the waivers conditions and it looks like they just apply to condition 1 which i would pass anyway. It's really upsetting that i have paid over £20k in national insurance over 12 years but 1 gap in the last 2 tax years means i can't get anything.

  4. #4
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    It does look a bit marginal on those 2017/8 figures.

    But as you seem to have covered condition 1 then NI credits could be used for condition 2.

    You seem to be well up on what NI you have paid, but have you checked your full contribution record to see if there are credits as well?
    This tells you how to go about it: https://www.youreable.com/forums/sho...l=1#post134027


    I wouldn't give up, I'd still go to see them about claiming CB ESA.

    Even if they say you don't have enough contributions (at the moment) then there may be ways to correct that.

    You say that you didn't claim any benefits when you were off work - but there are other ways you may have been given enough NI credits, or may still be able to get them added.

    For instance - As you have poor health then did you get any statuatory sick pay SSP in that 2017/8 year?
    SSP entitles you to NI credits.

    Even though you were not claiming any benefits you could have applied for NI credits, and you may still be able to get them added/backdated.

    You may only be able to backdate claims for National Insurance credits to the previous tax year, but some credits may be able to be backdated for longer.
    I'm not sure of just what the rules for backdating NI credits are.

    I would ring the HMRC NI enquiry line to discuss the possibility of getting some backdated NI credits for when you were off work. (You might want/need them for your pension anyway).
    https://www.gov.uk/government/organi...nd-individuals
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  5. #5
    Thanks again for your reply and information. I wasn't aware i could also have ni credits and will look at this in the morning. I will still go to my appointment as there's nothing to lose by going and it may be very close either way to getting approved.

  6. #6
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    Just to add about the backdating of NI credits.

    If you read further in the link I gave above about checking your credits you'll see that I had not been given any for six years, and sucessfully got them all added.
    That was due to a DWP error (which has also happened with many others) but it shows that they can be backdated a number of years in some circumstances.
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  7. #7
    Thought i'd post an update after i had my appointment at the job centre. They couldn't tell me if i had enough contributions there and then because there's a few different departments in dwp involved. My claim is complete and i'll find out in the around 15 days. I asked about the possibility of back dating ni credits from the period of 6 months i was off work in 2017 as i did fit the criteria at the time to get them. I was told that i did fit the criteria at the time but to wait for my claim to be processed as that will be quicker and i have a decent chance of getting esa anyway.

  8. #8
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    As it's HMRC who actually deal with NI and not the DWP I think I would still request a statement of your NI record from HMRC while you are waiting for the claim to be processed.
    That first link in post #4 tells you how to go about that.

    It's always a useful document to have anyway, to check if there have been any errors and check that you will have paid enough NI to get a full State Pension when the time comes.

    It would normally be the Jobcentre that you contacted to claim NI credits if you were out of work but not claiming benefits.
    I don't understand why they tried to put you off whilst admitting that you did fit the criteria at the time?
    Maybe they didn't know/weren't sure about the rules for backdating and couldn't be bothered to check it?

    Fair enough you may not need them for your ESA claim, but a lack of NI credits can affect other things (like your State Pension) and not just a benefits claim.
    Even if they do grant the ESA claim then I would still look at getting those credits added if you still can.
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  9. #9
    I requested my statement thanks to your suggestion on Friday so hopefully that will arrive this week. I think it was a case of not wanting to deal with it today. The years they are looking at are 2016/17 and 2017/18 for my esa claim as apparently although 2018/19 is the most recent tax year that is not taking into account until January. That does mean if i do need back dated ni credits then it would be the most recent full tax year they count that they would be doing it for so there shouldn't be any issues at all(at least i hope).

    Thanks again for your advice. I most likely wouldn't have found this information without you and it could make the difference in my esa claim. I will likely post when i have a decision.

  10. #10
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    The rule on which years count can be a bit confusing, and I believe that I got it wrong above, because the tax year and the benefit year run from different dates.

    A tax year runs from the 1st of April.
    A benefit year runs from the first Sunday in January.

    Why the tax years doesn't start in January goes back to medieval times:
    http://theconversation.com/why-the-u...nge-tale-57247

    The Contribution Based benefits rule states "In one of the previous two complete tax years before the current benefits year".

    It's that "current benefit year" (not the date of the claim) that can throw up the confusion.

    It means for example that for any claim made after the first Sunday in 2019 but before the first Sunday in 2020 the relevant tax years would be 2016/17 and 2017/18.
    The 2018/2019 tax year, even though it has now ended, cannot be counted for CB benefits until the first Sunday in 2020.
    That is because the 2018/2019 tax year had not ended when the current (2019) benefit year started.

    It's still your 2017/18 contributions/credits that may be at issue.
    We'll have to wait and see whether they say you have enough from 2017/18.
    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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