Red Tape Following A Bereavement — Scope | Disability forum
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Red Tape Following A Bereavement

GosportNancy
GosportNancy Scope Member Posts: 37 Courageous
edited December 2022 in Cost of living
My best friend died a month ago. We shared a flat and I'm not in receipt of any means tested benefits right now. I have applied for the new ESA but the DWP want a sick note before they can process my paperwork. The earliest telephone appointment with my GP is on the 10th January 2023.

I was my friend's carer and I have an armload of medical issues that mean I cannot work outside the home, even part time. I was turned down P.I.P twice with zero points and refused an appeal both times

Until I hear back from the DWP, the only funds I have is money set aside from filling in surveys but I still have full rent and council tax as well as day to day expenses, like utility bills and groceries to pay for.

I've downsized where I can by cancelling my Sky account and Netflix and turned the heating off, but have no idea how I will manage once my funds run out. I really concerned that will happen before my ESA is sorted.
There are 10 types of posters on this forum, those who understand binary and those who don't
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Comments

  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 52,406 Disability Gamechanger
    edited December 2022
    To claim for help with any rent you will need to claim Universal Credit but you’ll need proof of eligibility to pay rent such as a tenancy agreement. Are you privately renting or renting from social housing? 
    If you claim both UC and New style ESA together the ESA will be deducted in full from any UC entitlement. Whether you’re entitled to ESA will depend on your NI contributions in the previous 2 tax years.
    Use a benefits calculator to check entitlement. https://www.entitledto.co.uk/benefits-calculator/Intro/Home?cid=75a9505d-4f0b-497f-9095-cc0642388136
    Your first UC payment will be 1 month and 6 days after you claimed. You can ask for an advance payment but this will need to be repaid back from future UC payments. 
    You should report your health condition supported by a fit note within 7 days of this. 
    Council tax reduction needs to be claimed from your local Authority. 


    I would appreciate it if members wouldn't tag me please. I have all notifcations turned off and wouldn't want a member thinking i'm being rude by not replying.
    If i see a question that i know the answer to i will try my best to help.
  • GosportNancy
    GosportNancy Scope Member Posts: 37 Courageous
    edited December 2022
    @poppy123456
    I'm living in rented social housing. I've sorted the 'Tell Us Once' so both the housing office and the council tax office know my new situation

    When I spoke the the DWP I was told I couldn't put in for Universal Credit until the New Employment and Support was sorted and I have no idea how long that will take. The Universal Credit is backdated to when I applied for ESA.

    Up until November 25th my contributions were covered due to my receiving Carers' Allowance. I have a letter from the council tax office that included a bill for council tax as a sole occupant. The bill includes the sole occupancy discount. I didn't need to claim the discount as I got this without claiming for it.
    There are 10 types of posters on this forum, those who understand binary and those who don't
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 52,406 Disability Gamechanger
    NI contributions from claiming carers allowance alone is not enough to qualify. The criteria is very confusing so hopefully someone else with more knowledge than me for this will reply.
    The last place you should go for advice is DWP because the advice that you can’t claim UC without first claiming the ESA is very poor advice! 
    If you know the name of the person who advised you this then I’d advise you to make a complaint 
    UC has nothing to do with claiming New Style ESA. My advice is to start a claim for UC ASAP. Who ever advised you it will be backdated to when you claimed ESA again is incorrect. It can only be backdated in the most extreme circumstances. 
    Either way, claiming the ESA and UC will not make you financially better off anyway. 
    As you’re renting from social housing you won’t need a tenancy agree because UC will just check with your landlord. 

    I would appreciate it if members wouldn't tag me please. I have all notifcations turned off and wouldn't want a member thinking i'm being rude by not replying.
    If i see a question that i know the answer to i will try my best to help.
  • calcotti
    calcotti Community member Posts: 10,010 Disability Gamechanger
    edited December 2022
    When I spoke the the DWP I was told I couldn't put in for Universal Credit until the New Employment and Support was sorted and I have no idea how long that will take. The Universal Credit is backdated to when I applied for ESA.
    That is incorrect advice. The UC will not be backdated, it will start when you claim UC. The outcome of your Work CapabilityAssessment will be applied to both ESA and UC.

    You will not help any help with rent until you claim UC.
    GosportNancy said:I
     have a letter from the council tax office that included a bill for council tax as a sole occupant. The bill includes the sole occupancy discount. I didn't need to claim the discount as I got this without claiming for it.
    You are referring to a single person discount. That is different from Council Tax Reduction (CTR). CTR is a means tested benefit that, if you qualify, pays part of your council tax for you. That has to be claimed.
    NI contributions from claiming carers allowance alone is not enough to qualify. 
    Those previously claiming CA have an exception from the first qualifying condition requiring Class1/Class 2 contributions for six months of one of the previous two tax years and can satisfy the requirement from any tax year during their working life.
    https://www.entitledto.co.uk/help/employment-and-support-allowance-contribution-based

    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 52,406 Disability Gamechanger
    I have a letter from the council tax office that included a bill for council tax as a sole occupant. The bill includes the sole occupancy discount. I didn't need to claim the discount as I got this without claiming for it.
    The single person discount is completely different to council tax reduction. (CTR) For this you will need to claim it because it’s not automatically awarded and is not part of UC. 

    I would appreciate it if members wouldn't tag me please. I have all notifcations turned off and wouldn't want a member thinking i'm being rude by not replying.
    If i see a question that i know the answer to i will try my best to help.
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 52,406 Disability Gamechanger
    Thanks Calcotti, I knew it was something like that but it always confuses me so would rather not give incorrect advice. 
    I would appreciate it if members wouldn't tag me please. I have all notifcations turned off and wouldn't want a member thinking i'm being rude by not replying.
    If i see a question that i know the answer to i will try my best to help.
  • calcotti
    calcotti Community member Posts: 10,010 Disability Gamechanger
    edited December 2022
    Thanks Calcotti, I knew it was something like that but it always confuses me so would rather not give incorrect advice. 
    NI contributions from claiming carers allowance alone is not enough..
    Your statement was correct. The NI credits from CA alone aren’t enough - the claimant does need to have worked for at least six months above the LEL but can have done it in any tax year rather than just in one of the last two. While this means that many people can qualify, somebody who has never worked over LEL would still not qualify for ESA.

    They will also need to have full NI credit history (from for example CA) for the previous two tax years.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 52,406 Disability Gamechanger
    Finally I understand it. Thanks Calcotti for explaining, I really appreciate it. 
    I would appreciate it if members wouldn't tag me please. I have all notifcations turned off and wouldn't want a member thinking i'm being rude by not replying.
    If i see a question that i know the answer to i will try my best to help.
  • GosportNancy
    GosportNancy Scope Member Posts: 37 Courageous
    @poppy123456

    It was the DWP that told me that the Carers' Allowance credits were enough. The women I spoke to asked specifically about the allowance and it was included in her list of ways to build up NI contributions.

    I have been unemployed due to ill health  for more than 20 years and my previous GP in another county signed me off sick permanently.

    I am now self employed and only work part time at home.
    There are 10 types of posters on this forum, those who understand binary and those who don't
  • GosportNancy
    GosportNancy Scope Member Posts: 37 Courageous
    I have a letter from the council tax office that included a bill for council tax as a sole occupant. The bill includes the sole occupancy discount. I didn't need to claim the discount as I got this without claiming for it.
    The single person discount is completely different to council tax reduction. (CTR) For this you will need to claim it because it’s not automatically awarded and is not part of UC. 

    I have a letter from the council tax office that included a bill for council tax as a sole occupant. The bill includes the sole occupancy discount. I didn't need to claim the discount as I got this without claiming for it.
    The single person discount is completely different to council tax reduction. (CTR) For this you will need to claim it because it’s not automatically awarded and is not part of UC. 

    I don't know how that came up twice lol
    I haven't applied for  UC as the ESA adviser from the DWP said that I had to wait for the ESA decision before I could file an application..I'm self employed so was advised to apply for ESA 
    There are 10 types of posters on this forum, those who understand binary and those who don't
  • GosportNancy
    GosportNancy Scope Member Posts: 37 Courageous
    calcotti said:
    When I spoke the the DWP I was told I couldn't put in for Universal Credit until the New Employment and Support was sorted and I have no idea how long that will take. The Universal Credit is backdated to when I applied for ESA.
    That is incorrect advice. The UC will not be backdated, it will start when you claim UC. The outcome of your Work CapabilityAssessment will be applied to both ESA and UC.

    You will not help any help with rent until you claim UC.
    GosportNancy said:I
     have a letter from the council tax office that included a bill for council tax as a sole occupant. The bill includes the sole occupancy discount. I didn't need to claim the discount as I got this without claiming for it.
    You are referring to a single person discount. That is different from Council Tax Reduction (CTR). CTR is a means tested benefit that, if you qualify, pays part of your council tax for you. That has to be claimed.
    NI contributions from claiming carers allowance alone is not enough to qualify. 
    Those previously claiming CA have an exception from the first qualifying condition requiring Class1/Class 2 contributions for six months of one of the previous two tax years and can satisfy the requirement from any tax year during their working life.
    https://www.entitledto.co.uk/help/employment-and-support-allowance-contribution-based

    Just to confirm. I have already studied the rules on UC and self employment and they use the term 'GAINFUL self employment', which by their definition means that I would expect to earn at least the minimum wage equivalent, which I don't. Self employed people who earn less than the minimum wage have to show they can't work outside the home or have limited capacity.

    I don't have any evidence of capacity so would need to go through a work capability assessment for UC

    Also 

    "If you are not ‘gainfully self-employed’

    If we decide you are not gainfully self-employed we will expect you to commit to looking for a job. You will still need to report any earnings from your self-employment so that your Universal Credit payment is correct. You can ask to be reassessed in the future."


    It is the above paragraph that has meant I have applied for ESA instead, since I have been housebound for years but have no medical evidence to support this.

    There are 10 types of posters on this forum, those who understand binary and those who don't
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 52,406 Disability Gamechanger
    edited December 2022
    When you ring DWP you are speaking to someone from a call centre, who has very little benefits knowledge and you should never rely on their advice. It's not someone from DWP, it's a call centre.

    I haven't applied for  UC as the ESA adviser from the DWP said that I had to wait for the ESA decision before I could file an application..I'm self employed so was advised to apply for ESA 
    That advice is incorrect, as we advised. You do not need to wait for your ESA decision before claiming UC.
    If you earn more than £152/week you will not be able to claim New style ESA.
    When claiming UC for the first time there's a 12 month grace period before the minimum income floor may apply. https://www.entitledto.co.uk/help/self-employment-and-minimum-income-floor-universal-credit
    If entitled to ESA this will not pay anything for your rent. For this you will need to claim UC. When you applied for ESA did you tell them that you're working?
    Even when claiming ESA you will need to go through a work capability assessment anyway (same process for UC) but you'll only have 1 work capability assessment for both claims.
    If you're then found to have LCWRA you will have no work requirements so the minimum income floor will not apply to you, even after those 12 months.
    The only issue with claiming UC is because you're not currently claiming a disability benefit, if you receive earnings of more than 16xNMW per week you will not be able to be referred for the work capability assessment.
    Medical evidence isn't needed for the work capability assessment.

    I would appreciate it if members wouldn't tag me please. I have all notifcations turned off and wouldn't want a member thinking i'm being rude by not replying.
    If i see a question that i know the answer to i will try my best to help.
  • calcotti
    calcotti Community member Posts: 10,010 Disability Gamechanger
    I don't have any evidence of capacity so would need to go through a work capability assessment for UC.
    You simply need to declare your health difficulties when you claim UC supported by a Fit Note from your GP. The Work Capability Assessment will determine whether or not DWP consider you to have a health condition that limits your ability to work. The process is identical for both UC and ESA. If you claim both you will only be assessed once and, as previously advised, the WCA outcome will be applied to both claims.
    Just to confirm. I have already studied the rules on UC and self employment and they use the term 'GAINFUL self employment', which by their definition means that I would expect to earn at least the minimum wage equivalent, which I don't. Self employed people who earn less than the minimum wage have to show they can't work outside the home or have limited capacity..
    The term ‘gainful self employment’ means that if you are treated ans being self employed for UC you will be treated as earning the NMW even if you earn less. But, if applicable, this only applies after 12 months and will never be applied if you are found to have a health condition limiting your ability to work. 

    Unfortunately the person you spoke to has given a lot of misleading information and you have slightly misunderstood the implications of what you have read.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • GosportNancy
    GosportNancy Scope Member Posts: 37 Courageous
    edited December 2022
    @calcotti

    The thing is, that I sustained a brain injury in 2016 following a cardiac arrest and several days in a coma.

    This has resulted in cognitive and memory issues so I misunderstand all kinds of written and verbal information, making understanding any DWP material and conversations and posts I read on forums like this one.

    My understanding of UC and self-employment is that I don't meet their 'gainful self employment' criteria so I could well end up relying on a work capability assessment. They will want proof of me earning an income and I would need to show I am making an effort to increase my income.

    I am wondering what kind of work they think I might do since I can only walk a few yards with a walking aid, and have virtually no road sense so can only cross roads by myself in very low traffic areas. I haven't been able to get to the nearest shop in more than 5 years.
    There are 10 types of posters on this forum, those who understand binary and those who don't
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 52,406 Disability Gamechanger


    My understanding of UC and self-employment is that I don't meet their 'gainful self employment' criteria
    That's not correct for the first 12 months of your claim.

    so I could well end up relying on a work capability assessment.

    Yes, you should report your health condition and you will need a work capability assessment but you've also claimed ESA and that requires a work capability assessment too (if you claim UC as well then you'll only need 1 assessment. Therefore i don't understand why you don't want to claim UC because of the WCA when you've claimed ESA.
    I would appreciate it if members wouldn't tag me please. I have all notifcations turned off and wouldn't want a member thinking i'm being rude by not replying.
    If i see a question that i know the answer to i will try my best to help.
  • GosportNancy
    GosportNancy Scope Member Posts: 37 Courageous


    My understanding of UC and self-employment is that I don't meet their 'gainful self employment' criteria
    That's not correct for the first 12 months of your claim.

    so I could well end up relying on a work capability assessment.

    Yes, you should report your health condition and you will need a work capability assessment but you've also claimed ESA and that requires a work capability assessment too (if you claim UC as well then you'll only need 1 assessment. Therefore i don't understand why you don't want to claim UC because of the WCA when you've claimed ESA.
    I am meant to show that I get regular income from my self employment (I don't)
    I am also meant to show I have regular work from my self employment (I don't)

    I am not in paid work right now as most of my work is researching by reading books and learning how to use on-line publishing tools. I am also studying several courses in proofreading, English grammar and copy editing.

    I don't expect to get regular paid work for more than a year as my work is seasonal and irregular. 

    I'm thinking that a work capability assessment would be the way forward as I am currently paying full rent and council tax as I don't have any money from means tested benefits.

    There are 10 types of posters on this forum, those who understand binary and those who don't
  • GosportNancy
    GosportNancy Scope Member Posts: 37 Courageous


    My understanding of UC and self-employment is that I don't meet their 'gainful self employment' criteria
    That's not correct for the first 12 months of your claim.

    so I could well end up relying on a work capability assessment.

    Yes, you should report your health condition and you will need a work capability assessment but you've also claimed ESA and that requires a work capability assessment too (if you claim UC as well then you'll only need 1 assessment. Therefore i don't understand why you don't want to claim UC because of the WCA when you've claimed ESA.
    I think some of my updates have been lost in the thread
    To confirm. I didn't call the DWP. They called me after I  made a claim for ESA. The staff member I spoke to was a special needs benefits adviser who dealt with ESA claims.

    I am wondering what will happen to UC after the first year as I doubt I would meet their criteria for gainful self employment after 12 months.

    I have tried to get help with DWP paperwork, but I just got bombarded with questions I couldn't answer. I used to have a friend who would remind me of important information to include in paperwork. He was my carer and died in November this year.


    There are 10 types of posters on this forum, those who understand binary and those who don't
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 52,406 Disability Gamechanger
    edited December 2022
    When you're self employed and claiming UC you will need to report your earnings and expenses on the last day of each assessment period.
    I am meant to show that I get regular income from my self employment (I don't)
    I am also meant to show I have regular work from my self employment (I don't)

    No, not for the first year as has been advised a few times. Then hopefully a decision will be made on your work capability assessment within the first year, if found to have limited capability for work then the minimum income floor will not apply.
    GosportNancy said:. 
    I'm thinking that a work capability assessment would be the way forward as I am currently paying full rent and council tax as I don't have any money from means tested benefits.

    If you need to claim for help with any rent then you'll have no option but to claim UC because new claims for housing benefit are only possible if you're either living in supported or temporary housing.
    The sooner you apply for UC the better for you because it can't be backdated.
    For council tax reduction you need to claim this from your Local Authority. Start that here. https://www.gov.uk/apply-council-tax-reduction

    I would appreciate it if members wouldn't tag me please. I have all notifcations turned off and wouldn't want a member thinking i'm being rude by not replying.
    If i see a question that i know the answer to i will try my best to help.
  • Siwheels73
    Siwheels73 Scope Member Posts: 746 Pioneering
    Hi @GosportNancy. My wife and I are both living in Winchester. Good to see another from Hampshire here.
  • GosportNancy
    GosportNancy Scope Member Posts: 37 Courageous
    Hi @GosportNancy. My wife and I are both living in Winchester. Good to see another from Hampshire here.
    I'm currently working on getting back to Gosport (my home town) as I relocated to Eastbourne to take care of a friend as he had no family who would have in their home 24/7. We shared a flat for 8+ years until he died in November this year.

    I'm now talking with Gosport housing department and they have agreed to house me, but I can't afford to pay for all the things I will need to pay out for the move before struggling tons of red tape.
    There are 10 types of posters on this forum, those who understand binary and those who don't

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