Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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IR ESA, support group.

fibro1fibro1 Member Posts: 9 Connected
Hi all, 
i'm in need of a little advise.
I am currently living by myself with my son. I get income related ESA and I'm in the support group. 

My my partner wants me to move in with him and put me on the mortgage, as he is here with me most days and it will be easier if we just lived together. 

I'm really worrying about calling the DWP just to ask for advice. 

I need to know if they will stop my IR ESA as my partner works full time, or will they just put me on too a lower rate?

Any advice will be really appreciated. 

Thank you 

Replies

  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering
    Hi fibro1,

    That's a really good question. Unfortunately it is not going to be possible to keep the same benefits if you move in with your partner. Your irESA would have to stop - you can't get irESA if you have a partner who works full-time. If you are getting any contributory ESA (sometimes this is part of your award, and it gets topped up by irESA), then the contributory ESA would continue.

    If you get PIP or DLA, that continues, there's no effect on those benefits of moving in with a partner.

    You don't say how old your son is, but if you currently get Child Benefit for him, that will probably continue (though you should inform the child benefit office of any change of address, of course). If you get Child Tax Credit, you'll need to make a completely new claim for tax credits with your partner. You might get an award of Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, or Child Tax Credit alone, but it will depend on your partner's income.

    Finally, I don't know if you get any help with housing costs, but if you make this change you couldn't get Housing Benefit because you'd be living with your partner in a mortgaged home. You might be able to get Council Tax Reduction (also called Council Tax Support) from your local council, but it would depend on what scheme they have, and your partner's income.

    You could do a benefit check for the new circumstances, which will help you to see the differences - just pretend that you've moved in and see what the results are. The results aren't saved and it's completely anonymous.

    I don't think calling the DWP is that helpful, unless you do make the change and want to tell them about it - when of course you must do so as soon as possible. They should be able to tell you that your irESA will stop but might not be able to give you an overview of what will happen to your other benefits, or what else you might be able to claim - but you can always come back here to ask questions.

    I hope that gives you a starting point.

    Will
    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • fibro1fibro1 Member Posts: 9 Connected
    Hi, 
    thank you so much for your advice.
    I was receiving contribution ESA when I was in the assessment phase and then for a few months after until it ran out, I was then put into the IR ESA.  

    I don't receive PIP / DLA as I applied for DLA and it was unsuccessful, I went to tribunal and they made the decision I still was not entitled, all of this took such a strain on my health I become really unwell due to the stress it caused me.

    My son is 10 and has no contact with his farther at all so I do not get any financial help in that respect, I will definitely inform them if I do go ahead with any changes, and will start a new claim.

    I do agree that contacting the DWP is not a great idea until I know what I am going to do. 

    Thank god god for services such as scope, I would not know who to turn to for advice if these services were not available. 

    Thank you you so much for getting back to me so quickly. Really do appreciate it. 

    Thanks again 

    Fibro1
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering
    Hi Fibro1,

    If you are still in the support group, and you've had limited capability for work (you've been getting some ESA) throughout this time, then you should be able to get your contributory ESA back. In fact, if you were assessed as being in the support group immediately after your assessment phase, your contributory ESA shouldn't have stopped - it lasts indefinitely for people in the support group.

    It won't make any difference to the amount of money you receive, but I would double check with the DWP whether any of the ESA you get includes contributory ESA, and if it doesn't why not, since you used to get that, there's been no break in your claim and you're in the support group. 

    If you get contributory ESA back (or discover it is still there), then that's the bit of your ESA that can continue if you move in with your partner. 

    It's definitely worth looking into this as it doesn't sound right that you're getting irESA only if you originally got contributory AND you're in the support group.

    So sorry about your DLA claim, but PIP is quite a different benefit, so it might be worth applying for it. You could have a look at the points system before you decide. You need 8 points in daily living and/or mobility activities to get the standard rate of the daily living and/or mobility components, and 12 points to get the enhanced rate. I know it's stressful though, just filling in the form! Maybe have a think, especially if you can get some support with the form from a local advice agency.

    Will
    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • fibro1fibro1 Member Posts: 9 Connected
    Hi will,
    sorry I took so long in getting back to you. 
    I have looked through my award letters and I can only find one that states contribution which was from the very start (2009 I think), whilst I was in the assessment phase. I was then put in the WRAG group but appealed against this and was put into the support group. I was told once I go into the support group my contribution would run out and income related would start. I am still in the support group, as of now. Hope that makes sense and gives a clearer picture.  I really don't know what's going on, I need to call them but I keep putting it off, don't want to cause any unnecessary problems  I dread contacting DWP.!

    Fibro1
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering
    Hi Fibro1

    I work with Will and have looked back over your discussion with him.

    The advice you got about contributory ESA stopping when you are in the support group was wrong. It is quite the opposite as Will has already said in that contributory ESA continues throughout the time you are in the support group. Where you win an appeal to be put in the support group the DWP should reinstate contributory ESA if it has already stopped. But explaining this to the DWP and agreeing it is another thing! You will either need specialist advice (contact the helpline if you need help finding this) or you could try doing it yourself.

    I suggest you contact the ESA office and quote some guidance at them. This is their own guidance and avoids you having to explain it to them in your own words. You'll find the guidance here and the first paragraph you should point them to is 41021. Then direct them to paragraph 41830 where there is example 2 (Sally) which seems to resemble yours. If they agree they have made an error they should correct the decision going all the way back to when the error was made.

    I hope this helps.

    David
    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • fibro1fibro1 Member Posts: 9 Connected
    Hi David,

    Thank you so much for your response and yes it was most definitely a great help. Although I feel sick and very anxious about calling them I have no choice, I need this to be sorted.
     I will use the information above to explain to them, and just hope that I get an understanding person on the phone who is willing to help me and not hinder! 
     I will make the dreaded call on Monday morning, I tried today but they were not open. I will let you know how it goes. 
     
    Thank you for your support.

    Fibro1 

  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering
    Dear Fibro1, did you manage to get hold of someone?

    As David says, your contributory ESA should have been reinstated when you were put back into the support group. I really hope you can get that sorted because that's one thing that you can keep if you move in with your partner. 

    I would bear in mind that in your current circumstances, you shouldn't have lost any money by getting income-related ESA instead, so I don't think you'll get any money for the past. It's only when you live with a working partner that you can't get income-related ESA (technically, if they work 24 hours or more, or just if their earnings are too high), so that's when getting the contributory ESA is really important.

    Getting some income-related ESA on top of contributory ESA could be important in your current circumstances due to 'passporting' you to maximum housing benefit (HB) for example, if you currently pay rent.

    It's a complicated picture and I do hope you get it sorted.

    Will
    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • fibro1fibro1 Member Posts: 9 Connected
    Hi Will, 
    I made the call !! I asked if I could have a copy of my Esa award, the lady informed me that all the details will be on the letter, I should receive it this week.. hopefully.
    i'll keep you posted.

    Fibro1
  • fibro1fibro1 Member Posts: 9 Connected
    Hi, 
    i'm back sorry it's taken a while. Well the update is this!!! I do only get income related with no contribution as they are saying i used them in the assessment phase, it took them a year to sort this out in the beginning. I have now moved so looks as though they are going to just shut the door on me and expect my partner to support me. I feel so drained due to the stress, I feel helpless. 
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering
    Hi Fibro1

    I'm sorry to hear that the DWP still appear to be getting this wrong. I can only echo what my colleagues have already said to you regarding what the correct approach should have been but like David said in his post, explaining this to the DWP and agreeing it can be very difficult.

    I think given how difficult and stressful dealing with issues like this can be that I would suggest looking for a specialist adviser who could take up your case. 

    You can search for an adviser using this link. It is also worth contacting your local council or your MP to see if they know of any specialist help available in your area. You can find out who your MP is by clicking here

    I hope that helps

    Best wishes

    Paul


    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
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