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A few questions about benefits

larnnylarnny Member Posts: 14 Connected
Hi there!

I wondered if you could help me with a few benefits related questions.

1) My first is, that me and my partner are both on contributions based ESA and have not made a joint claim. The DWP know that we are partners (and that we are married as well) Is it regular not to make a joint claim in this case? We rang up DWP and they said it was best for us to keep two separate claims. But a local charity said otherwise. I wondered what your opinion on it was?

2) I'm looking at going on a digital skills job club and wondered if this would affect my claim if I am in the support group for ESA?

3) I'm currently working in the realms of permitted work, but I'm thinking of increasing my hours to 16, which will take me over the £150 threshold. If we are also claiming housing benefit, how will this affect my claim? I read online that you couldn't get working tax credits if you are both on ESA, is this true?

4) If I don't increase my hours to 16, what is the maximum amount of hours/ pay I can work per week before my housing benefit is affected?

5) With universal credit, how will we be affected if we are both on contributions based ESA in the support group and receive housing benefit?

Sorry that there are so many questions.

I look forward to seeing your responses.

Many Thanks

Larnny


Replies

  • CockneyRebelCockneyRebel Member Posts: 5,257 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi Larnny and welcome

    ESA is not my best area so I will leave it to one of our advisors to answer you.

    I can tell you that my wife and I have separate ESA claims and were advised by CAB to keep it that way

    Unless you are moving to a UC area and have to make a new claim the transitional legislation has not been finalised yet, but you should be no worse of when it happens.

    As you are in SG do either of you claim PIP ?

    CR
    Be all you can be, make  every day count. Namaste
  • larnnylarnny Member Posts: 14 Connected
    Hi CockneyRebel!

    Thanks for getting back to me :) I'm glad that someone else is the same position as us (making separate claims in a couple) that makes me feel better. Since people have said we should and shouldn't be making a joint claim, it gets confusing :\

    I didn't realise that the transition to UC hadn't been finalised. At least I can put that tot he side for now. Hopefully, we won't be any worse off...

    I'm still on the old DLA and my partner is was on PIP until a few weeks ago (we are in the process of doing a mandatory reconsideration) Joy of joys!

    Thanks

    Larnny
  • CockneyRebelCockneyRebel Member Posts: 5,257 Disability Gamechanger
    I hope your partners MR is successful but you should be prepared to go to tribunal.
    Have you/do you/looked into claiming carers allowance ?

    CR
    Be all you can be, make  every day count. Namaste
  • larnnylarnny Member Posts: 14 Connected
    Thank you :) I have, but I wasn't sure if this would be counted towards what I can earn per week before housing benefit can take some money back ie, not sure if counts as extra earnings?

    Larnny
  • CockneyRebelCockneyRebel Member Posts: 5,257 Disability Gamechanger
    Best option is to put your details into an online benefits calculator.
    depending on your circumstances, it is possible for you to claim for each other but it can have an affect on other benefits like SDP if that is something you can claim. There are two parts to it, carers allowance and carers premium.
    It becomes complicated so try the benefits calculator first

    CR
    Be all you can be, make  every day count. Namaste
  • larnnylarnny Member Posts: 14 Connected
    I've tried that, but I don't really trust them that much... we do claim SDP as well, so I'm not sure.
  • CockneyRebelCockneyRebel Member Posts: 5,257 Disability Gamechanger
    They are useful as a guide line

    As I said it can be complicated, I will try and explain as best I can but I think you will need to get trained advice for this

    Your situation sounds similar to ours
    We both claimed ESA(CB)
    SDP is not payable without an IR element but we do have an underlying entilement
    We claimed for carers allowance but it cannot be paid but we do have an underlying entitlement to  it
    I submitted, through CAB, a change of circumstance to claim ESA(IR)
    This brought into play SDP and the other part of carers which is carers premium which is means tested

    I don't know if that makes sense

    It does depend on your circumstances, income, savings etc.,

    trained advice is your best bet on this one

    CR 

    Be all you can be, make  every day count. Namaste
  • Pippa_AlumniPippa_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 5,851 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @larnny, hopefully an advisor will be in touch soon.

    In the meantime, there's some more in-depth guidance on ESA and the regulations surrounding it here, and more on the support group component here. I hope you find the answers you need soon, and that you're able to join the digital skills club: that sounds really interesting!

  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,646 Disability Gamechanger
    Carers Allowance is counted as income but also triggers an award of the Carers Premium so people will often be better off. However, having reviewed the thread, I think we'd need more exact information to be able to answer in full.
  • larnnylarnny Member Posts: 14 Connected
    Does anyone know how long it usually takes for an advisor to answer benefits questions?
  • Pippa_AlumniPippa_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 5,851 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @larnny - our advisors are receiving a high volume of benefits related enquiries at the moment, so it can take a few days for a response. Somebody will be in touch as soon as possible, though! 

    In case you did want to have a go with the online benefits calculator mentioned above, you can find it on this page.
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering
    Hi larnny - I will try and answer your questions in order.

    1) My first is, that me and my partner are both on contributions based ESA and have not made a joint claim. The DWP know that we are partners (and that we are married as well) Is it regular not to make a joint claim in this case? We rang up DWP and they said it was best for us to keep two separate claims. But a local charity said otherwise. I wondered what your opinion on it was?
    Read more at https://community.scope.org.uk/discussion/37323/a-few-questions-about-benefits#aWwRQ8W4UK0bfABy.99

    The point about contribution based ESA is that it is a benefit paid to one person only. Joint claims for contributory ESA do not exist. It is possible, if your 'applicable amount' is high enough, for one of you to make a claim for income related ESA on behalf of you and your partner, and if it is paid it would act as a top up to your individual contributory ESA payments. You can learn more about your applicable amount (which is the amount the law says you and your partner need to live on each week) by running your details through the benefits calculator referred to above. It's an excellent way of finding out if you are maximising your entitlements.

    2) I'm looking at going on a digital skills job club and wondered if this would affect my claim if I am in the support group for ESA?
    Read more at https://community.scope.org.uk/discussion/37323/a-few-questions-about-benefits#aWwRQ8W4UK0bfABy.99

    In theory, you should be able to access anything useful which is provided by the DWP to assist you in improving your chances of resuming work, without being penalised. I would just urge you to be a bit cautious, and ensure that the abilities and skills you need to do the course do not conflict with the reasons you are on ESA and in the support group. 

    3) I'm currently working in the realms of permitted work, but I'm thinking of increasing my hours to 16, which will take me over the £150 threshold. If we are also claiming housing benefit, how will this affect my claim? I read online that you couldn't get working tax credits if you are both on ESA, is this true?
    Read more at https://community.scope.org.uk/discussion/37323/a-few-questions-about-benefits#aWwRQ8W4UK0bfABy.99

    Lots going on in this question. Firstly, the earnings threshold for permitted work is £120 pw, not £150. I would definitely recommend that you tread carefully here, as the closer you get to the hours and earnings thresholds for PW, the likelier you are to be questioned about your health and whether or not it has improved to the extent that your ESA may be jeopardised. The point about PW is that it should be flexible enough to allow for your condition. If your work ceases to be treated as permitted work, then it will no longer be completely disregarded in the calculation of income for HB purposes so please don't let PW go without proper consideration. You cannot get working tax credit if you are on ESA - the whole point of course about being on ESA is that you are too unwell to work. This answer hopefully covers question 4 above.

    Lastly - the issue about UC depends wholly on where you live and if your circumstances change. Look at www.universalcreditinfo.net to see what you can find out about your area. If you do not have any changes of circumstance which would otherwise trigger a claim for a new legacy benefit, then you should be able to stay on ESA plus HB plus permitted work for the foreseeable future. 

    I hope this helps!

    Jayne
    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • larnnylarnny Member Posts: 14 Connected
    Thank you for getting back to me- it's been really useful. With working tax credits I wondered if you could still make a claim if your partner is on esa? It has said on some websites that you can't...
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering
    Hi larnny,

    If you are working the required number of hours to be able to apply for Working Tax Credit then you can apply for it even if your partner is on ESA. ESA is a benefit for those who cannot work so as long as the "worker" in the couple is not the one who gets the ESA then there's no problem with claiming WTC.

    Lee
    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • BazzaBazza Member Posts: 5 Listener
    edited November 2017
    I am disabled and recently started to receive Pension Credits so claim for myself and partner. She gets careers allowance so my question is, is she allowed to earn anything? We are finding it hard to survive on the money we have coming in what with general bills and a mortgage and she has been offered a couple of hours work only earning around £25 a week. I spoke to an employee from the DWP and she said no she can't earn. Then I had a check from a compliance office where the lady told me this is poppy ****, and Linda is allowed to earn up to £150 before it effects my Pension Credit. So which is correct? [email removed by admin]

    Many thanks

    Barry.
  • larnnylarnny Member Posts: 14 Connected
    Hi Lee,

    Thank you for clarifying that. I also wondered if your area has moved over to Universal Credit and you wanting to claim working tax credit, then how does this affect the other benefits that you have? Our area hasn't been moved over yet for current claimants, but it is working if you make a new claim...I wondered how the two systems would work together, or if all your benefits would just get switched over to UC?
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering
    larnnylarnny,

    If you are in a 'full service' area for Universal Credit and you have to make a new claim for the following benefits, any of those benefits (but not others) would get switched to UC. The benefits are:

    housing benefit, working tax credit, child tax credit, income-related ESA, income support, income-based JSA.

    Contributory ESA, PIP or DLA do NOT stop when you claim UC.

    As advised above, it's perfectly possible to have two lots of contributory ESA for partners, and no income-related ESA. However a claim for ESA is a claim for both contributory and income-related and so, as Jayne advised, it may be worth checking if you should, in fact, be getting any income-related ESA as a couple on top. That might result in extra being payable, as in CR's case.

    If you are in a 'full service' area and not currently on any tax credits, then claiming working tax credit (which as Lee says, you are not prevented from doing by your partner's ESA) would not be possible. The claim would be treated as a claim for universal credit.

    That would then mean your housing benefit stopping. Your claim would be looked as a claim for universal credit with both lots of contributory ESA, and your earnings, as income. There is no disregard of permitted work earnings in UC. Instead, you get a work allowance of £192 a month - any earnings above this will reduce your UC. So you might be worse off, but you should really make sure that full calculations are done.

    If the universalcreditinfo site which Jayne recommends says that 'UC is available in your area' that means it is full service. If you see the phrase 'some people', then you don't need to worry, as it means WTC would still be available. You may still get some housing benefit but you'd need to tell the local authority about your increased earnings and WTC, as it will affect the amount.

    I'm sorry it's so complicated but you can see why it is good to be wary. The calculator as a step at the end where you can check how much you would get if you were claiming UC instead.

    Will
    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering
    Bazza,

    Your partner can earn up to £116 and still get carer's allowance.

    However, as regards your pension credit, both her carer's allowance and her earnings are taken into account. Only £20 a week of her earnings can be disregarded. So on the work she has been offered, only a very small amount (£5) would be taken into account and reduce the pension credit. The important thing is to make sure you declare it so there is no doubt about your entitlement.

    You should get an additional amount of pension credit to reflect the fact that she is a carer.

    Will
    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • BazzaBazza Member Posts: 5 Listener
  • larnnylarnny Member Posts: 14 Connected
    Thanks Will. I will have a look at the benefits calculators and run some numbers through them. There may also be a chance that we can get income-related benefits on top of what we get, which is great news. My partner has just lost his PIP, so we have lost out recently. Thank you for your advice :smile:

  • BazzaBazza Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Will, I have been thinking about your reply to my earlier question where you say
    "You should get an additional amount of pension credit to reflect the fact that she is a carer"

    Do you know how I can check if I get this subsidy (for a better term) as I do know they actually deducted Linda's Careers allowance from the Pension Credit so we only receive around £210 per week. I always feel this is giving with one hand and taking back with the other.

    As always totally confused and feel like a criminal when all of my 47 years of disability I worked and paid a lot of tax. Now when with no fault of my own I have had to spend all of our savings of over £100,000 just to live on over the past 6 years. Now I need help I get a measly amount.

    I do respect that we had a great standard of life for many years when my business was flying but because of a serious illness I had to give it all up and now we find it hard to make ends meet. All the big cars are gone, the holiday home and foreign holidays gone just paying the bills and eating. 

    So if we are entitled to a little more I would be happy. Saying this I now respect how many have to live hand to hand and wish in a weird way I'd never been on good money as then I wouldn't miss it.

    If they offered me a job I could do from home I assure you I would do it but because of nurses having to come in every day I am unable to commit to a regular job but could work from home. 

    OK end of my moan.
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering
    Hi Bazza,

    I hope you don't mind me jumping in on this one.
    Pension Credit will take your wife's Carers Allowance into account in full, but a Carer Premium of £34.95 is added to the Pension Credit applicable amount, which effectively reduces the amount of Carers Allowance that they take off your Pension Credit. They take £62.70 off you but give you £34.95. 
    If you have a Pension Credit letter where your award is broken down, you should see a figure of £34.95 in the amount you need to Iive on. If Pension Credit are taking the Carers Allowance into account this carer premium should already be in the calculation.

    Lee
    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • Tracy1965Tracy1965 Member Posts: 22 Connected
    My son been caring for me for many years I was told before I could claim careers allowance for him his now 15 and I’ve never claimed it for him but I’m not sure if I can 
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering
    Hi Tracy1965,

    Carers Allowance can only be claimed by a carer, for looking after a severely disabled person who is receiving the middle or higher rate DLA care, any rate of PIP daily living or any rate of AA (Attendance Allowance). 
    If your son is 15 he cannot claim any benefits in his own right as he is not old enough so he wouldn't be able to claim CA for looking after anybody. You can claim it for looking after him if he gets DLA middle or higher rate care. There are a few other rules as well, in that the carer looks after the disabled person for 35 hours a week or more, and doesn't earn more than £116 a week from paid employment.

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