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Thread: contribution and income related ESA and housing benefit

  1. #1
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    contribution and income related ESA and housing benefit

    hello, this is my first post.

    i am getting ESA and in the support group. i believe i am getting both contribution and income based ESA but my award letter is confusing. it says that my income related amount is £218 less £140.85 (which is my husbands small occupational pension and his carers allowance added together) so you would have been entitled to £77.15, however because you are entitled to contribution based ESA i will be paid £113.55 a week (this is my latest letter so its amounts are from april onwards).

    i am receiving £24.50 disability income guarantee so that means i must have some income related entitlement?

    my problem is that on friday i received a very threatening letter from housing benefit (and council tax support) saying they have been overpaying me since september 2018 - which is when i was put in the ESA support group. the letter is horrible and unnecessarily intimidating, it mentions that they 'found' out i received a small sum of money last year and this influenced their decision to reduce my hb and claw back the overpayment - but it is nowhere near enough money to cause this and they say that too!

    the letter says they have found out i on contributory based ESA from DWP sending them this information. but DWP say my claim is income based and passports me to full hb and cts.

    i rang hb up and explained i am on income related as last year i had contacted ESA about free dentist and prescriptions and was told that i was entitled to both, and it was an income related award. i have emailed them a photo of my most recent letter and the letter ESA sent me last year stating about my claim, as proof for my dentist (although is says: you were awarded ESA contributory; ESA income related, and further down its says: claim is live and in payment, contributory payments as is higher entitlement.

    I also found a reference to how an entitlement to both C and IR is to be treated for other benefits, it is on Turn2Us and says that if you are getting both contributory and income related ESA they do not count as income for other benefits and tax credits.

    have housing benefit made a mistake? am i right in thinking that i am still on income related and that passports me to full housing benefit and council tax support? should i ask hb to review their decision and reconsider or go straight to an appeal?

    i am sick with worry about this, it has been a sleepless weekend worrying about this letter

    thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    The 'Disability Income Guarantee' is what they call the Enhanched Disability Premium on letters.

    It is Income Related, and only ever Income Related.

    However your number of £24.50 doesn't seem right?

    So for now I'll say that you are right and the council are simply wrong.

    Yours is not the first instance we have seen here recently where people are not understanding that ESA can be both CB and IR.
    (I think some new guidance about 'New Style' ESA may be confusing them).

    I'm not sure what the £700 (from your other post) has to do with anything.

    I'll probably add more later, but on my phone at the moment.
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

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    thank you nukecad - i hope you are right.

    the £24.50 is the disability income guarantee for a couple, as its a joint claim and the rate is from april 2020 as i was using the most recent award letter from ESA.

    the £700 has absolutely nothing to do with my hb claim - i have no idea why the benefits letter even mentions it. it was intimidating though - the writer put i found out you received this money and then said it has no effect on your housing benefit award - its as if she just wanted me to know she can see my bank account or something although it was hmrc who gave them the info as it was a small pension that closed, and there are no further payments ever due from it. which hmrc also told them. the letter has such a menacing tone that i am going to put in a formal complaint once ive got the money side sorted.

    i dont think they should be making decisions without asking for more information or proof from the claimant if they think there is a problem. i know they can see my award because thats how they know i have one - ESA sent them details at the same time they sent me my latest letter about the rates changing in april.

    thank you so much for answering so quickly. im waiting for my pip review as well at the moment and desperately trying to calm down.

    jean

  4. #4
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    Ok the £24.50 is EDP for a couple, as from April 2020. Definitely Income Related ESA.
    I note that you also have an Income Related Carer premium in there (because of your partners CA), that takes the IR total up to £218.

    However no IR ESA is actually being paid because of your partners pension income.
    You are only actually being paid a single persons CB ESA which will be £113.55 from April.

    This will be what is confusing the Housing Benefit people.
    They are only seeing payment for a single persons CB ESA.
    They are not understanding the law correctly.

    For passporting to full HB actual payment (or not) of IR ESA doesn't matter, it is the entitlement to IR ESA that counts.

    If that is all that the council are relying on, that you don't have an entitlement to IR ESA, then they are simply wrong.

    Here is what the CPAG Handbook (the benefit advisers bible) has to say about passporting to full HB:
    https://cpag.org.uk/welfare-rights/r...ousing-benefit
    Note the line there:
    The passporting is triggered by the claimant’s entitlement to:
    Not "payment of" but "entitlement to".

    You could point the council to that CPAG page, and point out the word 'entitlement'.

    You may still have problems getting the council to understand that, some of their staff can't see the difference between 'entitlement to' and 'payment of' even when you shove it under their noses. (Especially if they think they can save money).

    But the bigger problem here is that a lot of their guidance and training incorrectly refers to "receiving" an Income Related benefit, which leads them to believe that it has to be in payment rather than simply an entitlement.
    So of course they believe their guidance/training, and not what some 'jumped up' mere claimant is saying.

    You may want to get a local advisor on your side to help you, they tend to take more notice of advisors than mere claimants, you can find local advisors by putting your postcode in here:
    https://advicelocal.uk/find-an-adviser

    See how you go on, and if there is no movement on the councils part then come back and we'll tell you how to escalate a complaint if you are getting nowhere by normal channels.
    (We have one member here currently doing just that in a similar situation where the NHS are not accepting an IR entitlement that is not actually in payment).
    Last edited by nukecad; 03-03-20 at 09:14.
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    thank you so mcuh, that is all really useful info for me. the CAB benefits team are calling me today so your message really helps me explain the situation. i ll let you know what happens. jean

  6. #6
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    Just to note that advice from CAB can be very variable in quality these days, in some regions it seems to have gone downhill rapidly.

    As said above if they don't help then come back here.
    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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    hello again. i would be very grateful for your further help, things have not improved with CAB help, in fact CAB have made things worse!

    CAB are saying that housing benefit are correct and my entitlement to ir is not true because im only receiving contribution based. the lady would not listen to me explain about cpag or entitlement or anything you told me she doesnt understand why i am on contribution based as she has no idea about the support group using that in their calculation, and she insists that the disability premium and carer premium do not mean i am entitled to income related esa in the end i hung up on her as i was so upset. they clearly have no real knowledge of how esa works, and her insistence that it is what i am actually receiving that counts and that im not on income related at all as my income is too high.

    i receive 111.65 per week esa, my husbands occ pension is 71 a week and his carers allowance is 66 a week. she said that means i am not topped up with ir esa at all, even though my award letter clearly shows i get the disability premium the carers premium and says that

    you were awarded esa contributory; esa income related
    claim is live and in payment. contributory payments as is the higher entitlement

    i rang esa yesterday and they say i am entitled to income related even though i am in receipt of contribution based. but their letters are not very clear.

    what can i do now? she told me i wont hear from housing benefit for at least two weeks regarding my call to them on friday asking what the letter was about and that my phone call and emails will not trigger a mandatory reconsideration or review, that i have to go and log on to the local authority website and lodge my request for an mr there. she also said that appeals do not work the same way with housing benefit but i assume i still have only a month from the date of the letter, 26th feb, to lodge that appeal.

    so; what im asking is if i ask housing benefit for an mr and it takes them longer than the month they say i have to lodge an appeal do i simply lodge the appeal anyway? even though they they might come back after the mr and agree they have made a mistake?

    should i put it in writing that i want a review before i submit the appeal itself?

    i hope that all makes sense, i am very upset about it all as what i have found online, here from you and in the websites you recommended and i found at the weekend, i am passported to hb and cts, but now have to go and prove it to them and argue my case. i feel so sorry for people who are not capable of doing this, my body is broken but fortunately i can still use my brain and have the skills to find out from forums and websites.

    jean

  8. #8
    Senior Member TimeLord's Avatar
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    Hello Jean, you could try this link. And cut and paste what Nuke is explaining here.

    https://www.casort.org/email-advice

    It might get you a different opinion.
    Last edited by TimeLord; 03-03-20 at 15:22.

  9. #9
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    more information.... i have just spoken to ESA again, and they tell me that my award must be income related because it includes my husband as well as myself, as a couple. ESA lady said couples awards are only income related and only single people can get contribution based awards. so i must have an underlying entitlement to income related even though i am getting paid the contribution based amount.
    so im looking online to find out more about that, and it seems that my husbands occy pension would not have been deducted if it was a contribution based claim as it is too small at £71 a week. so surely that means i must have an income related entitlement as on my award they clearly deduct his pension from our income, as well as his carers allowance.

    its very complicated isnt it. the ESA lady wasnt sure if housing benefit have to abide by DWP awards and entitlements as she said i am being paid the contribution based amount even though my award is income related.

    does that help me do you think? you were totally right about the CAB, the quality of the advisors advice was rubbish, she did not even know or understand what is on their own website. so annoying. even what she told me about appealing was wrong, the local authority (south hams in devon) just says to send review or appeal in writing via email. she did say they take several weeks to respond though, so i hope that does not affect the month in which i have to ask for review or appeal. bleugh.

    jeani

  10. #10
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    thank you TimeLord i ll go have a look

    update; sadly it appears it is only for somewhere up north and i am down south in dear old devon.
    Last edited by Jeani; 03-03-20 at 16:32.

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