ESA and 4-week, full-time disabled internship - and other ESA questions — Scope | Disability forum
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ESA and 4-week, full-time disabled internship - and other ESA questions

AnonymousLady Community member Posts: 2 Listener
Dear Forum Members, 

This is my first post so please excuse me if I do something wrong and I will welcome any feedback.

My main question is:
What happens if you get a full-time but short-term, fixed-term (4 weeks) job while on ESA? Do I understand correctly that you need to call the ESA helpline to report this and your claim is stopped immediately? But then if you become unemployed again within 12 weeks due to your disability (in this case, it would simply be the end of the internship), you can get the claim reinstated? This would be a Civil Service internship created for people with my disability. I don't know if I will be accepted but I want to understand the rules either way.

More detail: 
I recently applied for new-style ESA due to Autism and some other mental health conditions. I have been out of work for a few months (I resigned after 2.5 weeks due to discrimination) but only found out I might be eligible for this benefit recently. I got a sick note from the date of application for ESA. 

Further questions:
Is it possible to actually backdate ESA at this point (having already applied) to 3 months before my claim submission date? And would this need a sick note? I am not sure if my GP will be able to issue one retrospectively like this, although they have been aware of my poor condition this whole time. I only found out after applying that you can enter a retrospective date up to 3 months back when applying.

Am I even eligible for ESA? I do meet the condition that my disability affects how much I can work and what work I can do. However, I have been self-employed since leaving the job last year. I transcribe documents for a friend and do this legally with invoices as self-employed.  My earnings and hours are under the threshold for permitted work. But I haven't completed the permitted work form. Should I?

I have an irregular income from my self-employment. I have been reading about averaging. In my case, it would be enough to average over 5 weeks to see I am below the thresholds for permitted work. However, on the application form, there were only 'regular' options for how often I am paid, e.g. weekly, monthly. I selected 'monthly' and entered the date and amount of last payment, which was £680, so above a the 4 week permitted threshold. Should I give the DWP an explanation of the nature and irregularity of my work? And if so, how?

I would appreciate help from knowledgeable Forum Members.


  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Community member Posts: 54,181 Disability Gamechanger
    You can not claim New style ESA if you’re working 16 hours or more per week and earn more £167/week. 

    To be entitled to payments of ESA you must have the correct NI contributions in tax years 2021/22 and 2022/23. If working as PAYE then you would need class 1 NI contributions or class 2 if self employed. 

    If you are working currently then you must tell them. 

    Have you checked entitlement to Universal Credit? It’s a means tested benefit so if you live with a partner you will need to claim as a couple. If you have savings/capital of more than £16,000 you’re excluded from claiming. 

    Do you currently claim a disability benefit such as PIP/ADP or DLA? 
    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.
  • AnonymousLady
    AnonymousLady Community member Posts: 2 Listener
    Dear poppy123456, thank you for your reply.

    I have read about ESA extensively so I am aware of the basic requirements. My confusion is about what happens in my circumstances, e.g. should I complete the Permitted Work form or was my declaration about employment on the application form enough?

    And also, what happens if I work for 4 weeks out of 5 and the average over these 5 weeks is under £167 but it's just slightly more for each of the 4 weeks? So I do earn less than £167 a week on average because of periods of no work. And when I do work, it is usually under the threshold and only most recently it was £680 for 4 weeks but before this 4-week period, I did not work for a week. This can easily be seen by looking at my invoices and the periods they cover or the length of time between them.

    I am aware of the NI contributions requirements for ESA and I do satisfy them.

    I do not qualify for universal credit due to capital.

    I have applied for PIP and it is currently at the mandatory reconsideration stage and my support worker is helping me with this. I think DLA is an old benefit that has been replaced by PIP. I am not claiming that either.


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