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Historic ESA claim and continuing NI contributions by DWP.

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Robbot
Robbot Community member Posts: 17 Listener

I was claiming income-based ESA (Support Group) for myself and my partner up to June 2016 when my partner returned to work. After I requested cessation of the ESA claim, I received a letter from the job centre noting I was no longer eligible for ESA, but they ‘may’ still credit me with NI contributions. I assumed the DWP would inform me if they were indeed making these contributions.

To cut a long story short, I found out the DWP have been crediting me with NI contributions since June 2016. Throughout the seven years this has been going on, I have never had a letter or any other communication from them about it. Also, in that time I have undertaken periods of work.

Should the DWP have contacted me to check I still met the criteria for this claim? 


Comments

  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 57,131 Disability Gamechanger
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    A credits only claim is completely different to a claim when you receive payments. As you were already found to have limited capability for work then this will be why you're receiving NI credits.
    Reviews have been suspended since the start of the first lockdown so this is likely why you haven't been contacted, if they were to even review you (not sure if they do with a credits only claim)

    When you were working this wouldn't affect your ESA because you're not receiving any payments.
    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.
  • Robbot
    Robbot Community member Posts: 17 Listener
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    A credits only claim is completely different to a claim when you receive payments. As you were already found to have limited capability for work then this will be why you're receiving NI credits.
    Reviews have been suspended since the start of the first lockdown so this is likely why you haven't been contacted, if they were to even review you (not sure if they do with a credits only claim)

    When you were working this wouldn't affect your ESA because you're not receiving any payments.
    No issue with years of double NI credits (ESA and employment) ?
  • Robbot
    Robbot Community member Posts: 17 Listener
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    I meant to say would there not be a clash with ESA paying my NI credits and also my employer.  I have also read that I should have also been subject to medical assessments even though its a NI credit only claim. Lastly, I'm also on PIP, so stopping this ESA claim could spark a PIP review. I'm just suprised the DWP never informed me. Now I'm in a tricky situation concerned over my PIP claim. 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 57,131 Disability Gamechanger
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    Your ESA claim will have nothing to do with your PIP because they are 2 completely different benefits. As advised, ESA reviews have been suspended since 2020.

    Stopping the claim will not start a PIP review. Can't answer the question about the NI conbributions.
    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.
  • Robbot
    Robbot Community member Posts: 17 Listener
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    There has been an update to the above.

    DWP recently contacted me about an unrelated issue. This raised the credits only claim. When I mentioned it to the DWP rep, they said they would cancel the claim as of 2016 and remove any duplicated NI credits.

    It’s transpired they have wiped of seven years of credits, and in the process my state pension!

    I’m not sure if this can be undone, but if it can, will having savings of £16k prohibit any IRESA credit only claim?


  • calcotti
    calcotti Community member Posts: 10,010 Disability Gamechanger
    edited July 2023
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    Robbot said:

    There has been an update to the above.

    DWP recently contacted me about an unrelated issue. This raised the credits only claim. When I mentioned it to the DWP rep, they said they would cancel the claim as of 2016 and remove any duplicated NI credits.

    It’s transpired they have wiped of seven years of credits, and in the process my state pension!

    I’m not sure if this can be undone, but if it can, will having savings of £16k prohibit any IRESA credit only claim?

    You cannot receive income based ESA if you gave not that £16,000.

    If you have been found to have Limited Capability for Work you should still get Class 1 Credits which would count toward your State Pension (as discussed in earlier posts in this thread). However if you started employment earnings enough to give NI through work then the credits from ESA would stop. Have you been working?
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • Robbot
    Robbot Community member Posts: 17 Listener
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    As my original post, I cancelled my ESA claim in 2016 and received a letter from the DWP confirming such. I then embarked on a 7 year funded research program (part time uni student). During 2019 one of the academics asked me to write some articles up and paid me through the uni system.  I was paid two NI credits for that period (since 2016 to present no other periods of paid work). A few months ago I checked my pension /NI record and noticed I had been receiving NI credits since 2016 because of disability. I have never been paid any money from ESA, never had any form of letter (uprating or otherwise), and never been called in for a medical. It's as if I didn't exist except for the NI credits.  In that time I have also gathered savings. The credits from ESA did not stop after the uni put two onto my NI account?

    I contacted ESA, and they appeared to acknowledge I was of the radar. Their solution was to cancel the claim from 2016 thus wiping out 7 years NI contributions. I assumed I would still be entitled to a credit only claim (pending savings rules) up until 2019 when I undertook two weeks work?  

    Nonetheless: Had I not checked my NI record I would never have know, yet I'm sure I would have felt the wrath of the DWP had it crossed their desk.  Why they could not have have told me in 2016 I would still be receiving credits is beyond me.
  • flour
    flour Community member Posts: 76 Courageous
    edited July 2023
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    Robbot said:

    There has been an update to the above.

    DWP recently contacted me about an unrelated issue. This raised the credits only claim. When I mentioned it to the DWP rep, they said they would cancel the claim as of 2016 and remove any duplicated NI credits.

    It’s transpired they have wiped of seven years of credits, and in the process my state pension!

    I’m not sure if this can be undone, but if it can, will having savings of £16k prohibit any IRESA credit only claim?


    @Robbot

    I do not believe the law says the DWP are allowed to do this. The law is from 1975 and says that anyone who has Limited Capability for Work (which you have/had) is entitled to National Insurance Contributions at the Class 1 rate for every week you have Limited Capability for Work (LCW).

    The DWP choose to administer the NI credits only claim by LWC through the ESA department. There are many people who make what is called a 'credits only claim' where they file for ESA, never receive a penny but get their National Insurance Contributions for state pension for many years. But they also get very little to no paperwork from DWP because ESA effectively has nothing to write to them about - no benefit increase letters are sent which are the usual letters because there is no money being paid.

    In turn, because you are not being paid any money you may be 'unofficially' low priority for a review of the claim. But the DWP cannot just take the credits away again which they have awarded for the last 7 years. 

    This is because they did a medical assessment and decided you have Limited Capability for Work and until the DWP do another assessment which finds you Fit for Work they have to continue to give you those credits. This is because every capability for work decision is ongoing until a new one is made.

    The starting point is going to be a decision letter from the DWP - have they written to you about the credits? I would also make contact with citizens advice (cab) or a welfare rights organisation (wro). In addition I would put in for a copy of your record from the DWP to see what's been going on yourself. You can do this through the link below.

    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/request-your-personal-information-from-the-department-for-work-and-pensions

    I think the important question is that when you wrote to DWP and asked to close your ESA claim (may I ask why, or was it closing due to 365 days expiring in the work group?) - did you also ask to close your NI credits for LCW award (you may not have done if you did not know it existed)?
    And, in addition because they have since awarded them are they allowed to disallow them or as is it official error on their part for failing to act on closing the claim which means they cannot take them away later.

    it may of some comfort to know that individuals who have arranged to have a fit note issued going back many years have been able to have NI credits awarded by the DWP through the 1975 law. So this may be a further option to consider - help from cab or wro would be a good idea though.
    Remember that people come on to this forum who may be in a vulnerable state and kindness goes a long way. Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.
  • Robbot
    Robbot Community member Posts: 17 Listener
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    As an update, so it completes the thread.

    I checked my NI record and the seven years of credits have been removed. In addition, I have since received several letters from DWP informing me that due to a change of circumstances my ESA claim has stopped from 2016.  However, it has not affected my pension as I have many years pre the 2016 change.

    As the pension was my main concern, and I've not been disadvantaged or advantaged by the DWP's decision, there is no point in challenging it.  I acknowledge that the DWP should have cancelled the claim as of end of tax year 2022-2023, and left the credits in place. I have no doubt an appeal would perhaps reverse their decision. 

    Ultimately, when I ceased the ESA claim in 2016, I was non the wiser about credits only, so shouldn't really grumble over something I didn't know I had until seven years later. I suppose its human nature to be aggrieved over losing something you was not aware you had in the first place . lol
  • flour
    flour Community member Posts: 76 Courageous
    edited July 2023
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    @Robbot

    Thank you for coming back and giving an update. It's always good to know how things turn out.

    Have you ordered a state pension forecast from the DWP? This would give a definite once and for all answer on the pension. In some peoples cases every year from 2016 still adds more to the state pension amount going forward.

    You can do a request here - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/application-for-a-state-pension-statement

    In addition. I don't think you should be grumbling where you said
    shouldn't really grumble over something I didn't know I had until seven years later. I suppose its human nature to be aggrieved over losing something you was not aware you had in the first place . lol
    Because you are part of the benefits and national insurance system and it is designed to do things without our knowledge as a safety net - such as award NI credits whether or not you asked for them or were aware of them (the 2015-16 letters said it on them).
    The DWP have taken something off you (NI credits) which I believe you should have and I believe they are not allowed to do this retrospectively. Until DWP make a fit for work decision then in my book you continue to be entitled to Class 1 NI credits for LCW even today.

    Of course, if it makes no risk to your pension as you have the maximum amount forecasted or any risk in claiming any other benefits which require Class 1 credits before retirement then of course let it lie.
    Remember that people come on to this forum who may be in a vulnerable state and kindness goes a long way. Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.
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