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Contribution based (CB) AND income related (IR) ESA

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tippi
tippi Community member Posts: 22 Listener
Hello there, I wonder if anyone can help me as I try to support my disabled son against the DWP. Back in Oct 2009 my son Guy was diagnosed with ataxia, a degenerative neurological condition with no cure. He was awarded CB and IR ESA and we were told this was not means tested. He was later placed in the Support Group. Over the past 14 years he has got an ESA payt which comprises living expenses, disability income guarantee and support group payt. On July 18 he rang DWP to tell them his new address and when he said he had a partner who was a F/T nurse they have now stopped his ESA completely with no notice or warning. The whole benefits system just confuses me and before I go back to DWP I would like to be sure of my facts. As Guy has always had Contribution based ESA, that is not means tested, so why is his partners' income relevant? Or is only part of his ESA not means tested? If so which part? Sorry to go on but this whole thing has really upset us and is humiliating and degrading for my son who feels he cannot now fully contribute to the household. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Chris (Tippi)

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  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 57,180 Disability Gamechanger
    edited August 2023
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    The disability Income Guarantee is otherwise known as Enhanced disability Premium. The disability premiums are Income Related so this means at least part of his ESA is Income Related. 

    If he's living with a partner then he should have reported the changes to ESA. The first £20/week of the partners earnings are disregarded and then the Income Related is reduced £1 for £1. As the partner is working full time then there will be no entitlement to any Income Related ESA.

    If part of it is contributions based (£129.50/week) then this isn't means tested so their partners earnings will not affect this.

    If all the ESA has been stopped this tells me that all of it could be Income Related and not just part of it.

    Was he claiming Incapacity benefit before ESA or was he working at all in the 2 tax years prior to claiming ESA?

    As he always lived with his partner or is this quite a recent change?
    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.
  • tippi
    tippi Community member Posts: 22 Listener
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    Thankyou Poppy for coming back so promptly. Guy has never worked or claimed incapacity benefit and when his ataxia was diagnosed back in 2009 he went on to ESA. I quote ' The payt of ESA is based on your  NI record and any additional amount the law says you need to live on. We call this CB and IR ESA'. He originally got Living Expenses only but when he as later put in the support group he also got DIG and Support Group payt. In that letter (10 March 2010) it says that 'we will credit you with NI contributions while claiming ESA' but now DWP says  'we cannot pay you (ESA) because you have not paid, or been credited with enough NI contributions' ??? How is someone like Guy and I able to make any sense of that contradiction? This is a recent change and he rang the DWP to tell them. Any help you can give is greatly appreciated. Thanks, Chris
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 57,180 Disability Gamechanger
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    The ESA letters are well known for being extremely difficult to understand, even for someone like myself who has a fair amount of knowledge.

    When he first claimed ESA then it would have only been living expenses at first because that's known as the assessment rate. When he was then placed into the Support Group he would have got the support group component, as well as disability income guarantee (Enhanced disability premium, if he was entitled to Income Related)

    Yes he would have receieved NI credits the whole time he's been claiming ESA, they will be class 1. As he didn't work and didn't transfer from Incapacity benefit then it's likely that all of his ESA is Income Related.

    He won't be able to claim New style ESA now because he hasn't worked in the last 2 tax years.

    You said he rang them to report a change of address, was it then that he moved in with his partner? Sorry but it's not clear what you're saying. Has his ESA ended or just suspended? If payments have stopped are they continuing to pay his NI credits?


    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.
  • tippi
    tippi Community member Posts: 22 Listener
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    He moved in with his partner on 18 May. DWP are saying Guy is not getting any more ESA  because his partner worked more than 24 hrs she is treated as in FT employment + the NI contributions, or lack of. Can I ask why originally DWP said he was getting CB AND IR ESA. We were told in was not means tested but perhaps some was and some wasn't - the assessment rate, the DIG or the support group payt? If that is the case Guy should surely retain a part of his ESA? The rules make someone like Guy, a disabled person, a 2nd class citizen where he has to go to his partner for financial assistance. It's degrading, humiliating and is frankly disgraceful.
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 57,180 Disability Gamechanger
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    Who told you that his ESA was CB? as i advised, the letters from ESA are extremely difficult to understand and most of the time they make no sense at all. If he didn't work in the 2 years prior to his claim then part of his ESA couldn't have been CB.

    If part of the ESA was CB then that would have continued but as it's stopped then all of it must have been Income Related.

    ESA old contributions based can be just CB, Income Related or a mixture of both. The DIG (known as Enhanced disability Premium) is the top up.

    When he moved in with his partner what he could have done was use a benefits calculator to check entitlement to Universal Credit. He would have been entitled to the LCWRA element from the start of his claim. The work allowance would have applied, which would have meant part of his partners earnings they receive each month would have been ignored before any deductions apply. If they claim for help with any rent it would have been £379/month, if they don't it would have been £631/month. UC is a lot more generous than Income Related ESA is when you're living with a working partner. Are they still crediting him with NI credits because of the limited capability for work?

    With regards to his ESA i'd advise him to take his letters to an advice agency and let them have a look so they can see if any part of it was CB but as i advised, if he didn't work in those 2 tax years prior to claiming ESA then it's likely that DWP are correct and it was all Income Related.
    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: 57,180 Disability Gamechanger
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    Just an after thought, are you able to post a screenshot of his last ESA breakdown? (before it stopped) You will need to make sure all of his personal information such as name, address, NI, telephone numbers etc etc are all removed to protect him and other members. Scope do not allow personal information on the forum.

    If you can do that then i'm sure someone can take a look to see exactly what his claim was made up of. Just to double check the DWP are correct in saying it was all Income Related.
    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.
  • tippi
    tippi Community member Posts: 22 Listener
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    Poppy, thanks for getting back. We've been out and I'll get back tomorrow. Thanks for your kindness. Chris
  • tippi
    tippi Community member Posts: 22 Listener
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    Hello Poppy, I'll answer your questions in order.
    No one told us Guy's ESA was contribution based it's just that his award in Oct 09 said 'This payt of ESA is based on your NI record and any additional amount the law says you need to live on. We call this contribution-based and income-related ESA.

    His ESA is paid in 3 bits - Living expenses, disability income guarantee (you have already said this is means tested) and support group. Are the 'living expenses' element and the 'support group' element means tested? If both are then why does his original award state contribution based, which is not means tested?

    We've not thought about universal credit. This is something we know nothing about. If this is an option I will follow it up (though where I don't know).

    His ESA rejection letter states (I think confusingly) 'we may still credit you with NI contributions while claiming ESA'. How do these people expect us to understand what they say?

    Are you suggesting Citizens Advice? We don't have one in our town but I'll have to look for one; I expect they have a waiting time of weeks!!

    Poppy, I'm 71, I don't know what a screen shot is!!!!!! But I can quote from his last ESA award letter, Feb 23.
    Living expenses £84.80
    Extra money because of disability Income guarantee £19.55
    Extra money because you are in the support group £44.70
    Total income-related amount £149.05

    Thanks for taking the time to read this. Chris

  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 57,180 Disability Gamechanger
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    Living expenses and support group component can be either contributions based or Income Related. As I previously advised if he’s never worked then it’s unlikely part of it was ever contributions based. 

    ESA letters are well know for making no sense at all.

    The quote you’ve typed from his last ESA award doesn’t help at all I’m afraid. In his ESA letter there will be other wording that I would need to see to know for sure.
    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: 57,180 Disability Gamechanger
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    This link will help you find and advice agency local to you https://advicelocal.uk/welfare-benefits
    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.
  • tippi
    tippi Community member Posts: 22 Listener
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    Thanks for this Poppy. I'll think on. To be honest I'm just pretty disillusioned with the whole thing. To think we live in a country that penalises a disabled person for having the audacity to fall in love and move in with someone.
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 57,180 Disability Gamechanger
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    The rules on the legacy benefits such as Income Related ESA have always been the same. Living with a working partner will always affect entitlement on any means tested benefits. 

    Universal Credit is much more generous which is why I advised your son or partner to use a benefits calculator to check entitlement. If the ESA claimed continued as NI credits only then he will be entitled to the LCWRA element of UC from the start of his claim. Just because his partner works it doesn’t mean there’s no entitlement. 
    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.
  • tippi
    tippi Community member Posts: 22 Listener
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    Hello Poppy, following your advice I went to my local Job Centre on behalf of Guy this morning. They told me whilst his ESA has stopped he can make a claim for UC. I gather his case is still 'open' so they said to get the claim in this PM. Him and his partner did the claim online (took about 30 mins) and within an hour they were both given appts at the JC for next Friday. I don't know how all this will turn out but I feel we've made some progress. Can I thank you once again for your support. If it's ok with you I will let you know the outcome. Regards, Chris
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 57,180 Disability Gamechanger
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    You're welcome. Yes, that was my advice too but whether there's any entitlement will depend on how much earnings his partner receives during their assessment period. They won't know if there's any entitlement for certain until they have their statement, which will be at the end of their assessment period. (30 days) They can use a benefits calculator to check the figures in the meantime.

    I would also advise your son to put a message onto his journal telling them that he's in the Support Group for ESA and he should then be entitled to the LCWRA element from the start of his claim. Though it may take a few weeks to update his details and for ESA to send the information to UC.

    Always happy to help, where i can. Yes, please do update if possible.
    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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