Savings and ESA — Scope | Disability forum
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Savings and ESA

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bobs123
bobs123 Community member Posts: 31 Listener
Hi, I’m writing this on behalf of a friend, who has just found out, that an increase in savings is a change of circumstances. He claims income related esa and is in the support group for his ocd and mental health. He wants to know how to go about reporting an increase in savings of more than £6000 but less than £16000 accumulated over yrs. He didn’t realise that not spending all his benefit was a change in circumstances. Will reporting it result in having to make a new claim and being moved to UC and being accused of fraud and being prosecuted and/or sent to jail. It’s causing him even more distress with his mental health, not sleeping, eating and just not knowing what to do. 
How far back will payments go as he doesn’t know for sure how long he’s been over the savings limit, money not been at the forefront of his mind. Thanks for any responses. It really is taking a toll on his mental health, of which he is already ashamed of as it is. Any advice is greatly appreciated thank you. Should also add that he lives at home with his parents. Thanks again 
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  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 54,178 Disability Gamechanger
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    He will need to contact ESA..

    Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), Income Support, Incapacity Benefit or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

    Telephone: 0800 169 0310
    Textphone: 0800 169 0314
    Relay UK (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 169 0310
    British Sign Language (BSL) video relay service if you’re on a computer - find out how to use the service on mobile or tablet
    Welsh language: 0800 169 0207

    Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm
    For every £250 or part there of over £6,000 there's a £1/week deduction for Income Related ESA. The same rules apply for Housing benefit, if he's also claiming this. So he will need to contact his local Authority to report the changes.

    If he's also claiming council tax reduction then the savings rule for this will depend on each individual local Authority. Some have a maximum savings limit of £6,000 before entitlement to council tax reduction ends.

    If any part of his ESA is contributions based this isn't affected by savings. He may have a small fine of about £50 on top of any overpayment (for not reporting the changes), which will need to be repaid back. They may also suspend his ESA while they look at his claim. He will very likely need to send bank statements too.

    It will not prompt a move to UC even if the claim is suspended. 

    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.
  • OverlyAnxious
    OverlyAnxious Community member Posts: 2,618 Disability Gamechanger
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    Hi,

    This won't trigger a move to Universal Credit.  He will most likely have a savings investigation carried out, and have to pay back some money, as well as having his regular income reduced from now on.  (£1 per week for every £250 over £6k).

    If he's able to speak on the phone, the usual method of updating ESA would be to call them and let them know of the current savings amount.  Just be honest and say you hadn't noticed it had gone over £6k or didn't fully understand the rules.  They will then ask for bank statements, potentially for a number of years, so that they can calculate the total over payment.

    If he is unable to use the phone, he can mail a letter to them through the post, ideally including a current bank statement, but bear in mind that it takes a few days or even weeks for ESA to work through physical mail.
  • bobs123
    bobs123 Community member Posts: 31 Listener
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    Thanks for your quick reply, will he have to reclaim/be reassessed? Will the £50 fine be on every overpayment? Will it help if he explains he genuinely didn’t know that savings were considered a change in circumstances. He thought it was £16000 he has no idea why. This all came about because of a letter stating he would get £149.05 per week received in January but on the 11th April when his money went in, he saw it had gone up to £284, so started looking online to what would cause a £13 discrepancy and that’s when he found out about the savings been a change in circumstances. He’s not received another letter yet explaining the difference but he should do shouldn’t he? Regarding council tax, he lives with his parents and has no clue about it. 
  • bobs123
    bobs123 Community member Posts: 31 Listener
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    Thank you overly anxious for your reply. What are the implications of a saving investigation, he’s seriously worried about prosecution for what he thinks is an-oversight on his behalf, negligent or not. Could I ring on his behalf after he initially speaks to them, he can’t really cope with talking to ppl on the phone, I make all appointments/arrangements for him and attend them with him as he can’t go alone 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 54,178 Disability Gamechanger
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    No, he won't be reassessed with any work capability assessment. Reviews are suspended anyway. He can explain that he didn't realise that the limit was £6,000 before it reduces entitlement. As advised, it's mostly a small fine on top of any overpayment, which is usually £50.

    You can definitely speak on his behalf once he's gone through security.
    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.
  • bobs123
    bobs123 Community member Posts: 31 Listener
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    Thank you, that’s really helpful. Will he be liable for any council tax discrepancies, not his parents, he’s fully aware, it’s down to him but doesn’t want them to get in any trouble because of his own circumstances and oversight 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 54,178 Disability Gamechanger
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    Council tax reduction doesn't apply if he lives with his parents.
    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.
  • bobs123
    bobs123 Community member Posts: 31 Listener
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    What does that mean? Council tax reduction doesn’t apply if he lives with his parents? Should he have been paying council tax on ESA? 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 54,178 Disability Gamechanger
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    You said he's living with his parent. If it's their house then they will be responsible for paying their council tax. Council tax reduction is a benefit that can be claimed for help paying your council tax. Your friend will not be responsible for paying the council tax.


    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.
  • bobs123
    bobs123 Community member Posts: 31 Listener
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    Ok. Thank you. He just didn’t know if his benefits affected their council tax. So who does he need to contact in the job centre. Is it better to just ring them or wait for a letter 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 54,178 Disability Gamechanger
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    His benefits won't affect any council tax they pay. It's not the job centre he needs to contact it's DWP/ESA. I posted details of the phone number he needs to ring in a previous comment of mine above. It's better to ring them, you can speak on his behalf after he's been through security.
    He will need to contact ESA..

    Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), Income Support, Incapacity Benefit or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

    Telephone: 0800 169 0310
    Textphone: 0800 169 0314
    Relay UK (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 169 0310
    British Sign Language (BSL) video relay service if you’re on a computer - find out how to use the service on mobile or tablet
    Welsh language: 0800 169 0207

    Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm



    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.
  • bobs123
    bobs123 Community member Posts: 31 Listener
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    When we ring, what balance do we give. The one as it stands at the time or when it was at its highest as the account is his only account and the money is being used as it’s his only source of income and does he just keep using his savings when the benefit is stopped to live, shopping, food etc 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 54,178 Disability Gamechanger
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    You need to tell them the balance when it was at it's highest, including the balance now. Don't forget his ESA will not be classed as savings until the end of the period it paid for. They will ask him to send bank statements from the time his savings when over £6,000.

    If his ESA gets suspended then he will need to use his savings to live off. Assuming his ESA is all Income Related. If any part of it is contributions based then this will continue.
    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.
  • bobs123
    bobs123 Community member Posts: 31 Listener
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    Am I right in thinking the overpayment will be just classed as one overpayment or will it be worked out as multiple overpayments from when he went over the £6000 threshold and he will definitely not be reassessed. Sorry it’s not me asking you to repeat yourself it’s him and his ocd. And him instigating telling them at the first opportunity, will it be classed as fraud. He’s really scared about going to jail that’s all he can think about and it’s making him ill. Is it correct that you must use the benefit in the time period it was paid for? 
  • bobs123
    bobs123 Community member Posts: 31 Listener
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    He doesn’t know when it went over the £6000 threshold, could be as far back as 2015 he’s not sure. He’s been claiming since 2010ish. So won’t know. How far back do the dwp go?
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 54,178 Disability Gamechanger
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    He will not go to prision, it will just be a small fine. He will not have another work capability assessment because they are suspended.

    They will go as far back as needed. It will just be one overpayment as a lump sum. They will reduce his future ESA payments to repay it back.
    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.
  • bobs123
    bobs123 Community member Posts: 31 Listener
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    So if he has to live off his savings while suspended that won’t be classed as deprivation of capital? Obviously if living off them, they are going to be less than reported. Then when his payments are reinstated, will he definitely still be on ESA? 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 54,178 Disability Gamechanger
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    bobs123 said:
    So if he has to live off his savings while suspended that won’t be classed as deprivation of capital?
    No it won't. I can't say for certain if it will be suspended while they look into the savings, i did say "it maybe"
    bobs123 said:
    Then when his payments are reinstated, will he definitely still be on ESA? 

    Yes. There won't be any reason to cancel his ESA claim.
    As i advised a few times if any part of his ESA is contributions based (£129.50/week) this would continue because this part isn't means tested.
    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.
  • bobs123
    bobs123 Community member Posts: 31 Listener
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    Ok, he said will he have to go to any interviews while dealing with the overpayment investigation? If that’s what it’s called 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 54,178 Disability Gamechanger
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    That's probaby unlikely. If they found out he had savings before he reports the changes then it would be different. Telling them and being honest is always better.

    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.

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