not paying contribution esa is still happening!! the gov web site states you can only get it if you are not in a uc area!! this is wrong. I was pushed onto uc and was not entitled to it eventually after several arguments and calls was put on to contribution esa. it was a bad time .Thousands of people must have been denied it because of this and just don't realise it . I have told my MP and he is taking it further
Hello, especially @poppy123456, @debrightstar and @trixiewoo
There are two separate issues under discussion here.
@Debrightstar is talking about the government (DWP)'s failure to consider both income-related and contributory ESA payments when moving people from incapacity benefit and other benefits between 2009 and 2018, whilst @trixiewoo is talking about DWP or jobcentre mis-advice to her when she wanted to claim contributory ESA in a full service Universal credit area and was told that she couldn't.
The government has indicated now that they believe that 180,000 people were affected by the first of these errors, and we so far have no idea how many people in full service Universal Credit areas have been told that they cannot claim contributory ESA. (We have frequent calls about this amongst other Universal Credit issues at the helpline).
The DWP has said it will contact claimants to tell them if they
have been affected by the change, so, they say, people don’t need to contact them. This uncertainty must be be difficult for people to manage.
Anyone uncertain is very welcome to contact the Helpline to ask about their particular circumstances.
Basically, if you should have been entitled to income-based ESA at the time when you were moved from Incapacity or another benefit onto ESA, then this should be put right.
Examples of people who might have been entitled would be people who live alone or with a partner who was also not working, provided that any savings held at that time don't exceed £16,000. The usual means test needs to be done, and this involves adding personal allowances, premiums, support group component, housing costs and deducting from the total whatever income if any you had at that time.
It does seem that although the DWP has asked people to wait to be contacted, people who contact them do get dealt with, so it may be worth trying that.
What we are not sure of currently, is how complicating factors like payments for children, or for housing through housing benefit, support for mortgage interest or free prescription charges will be handled. It's possible that the DWP may be forced to make ex gratia payments to people who cannot now be paid their entitlement. If there is no longer a statutory entitlement to benefit and an error has been made, the DWP is obliged to put such matters right through an ex gratia payment. It is early days for this, but so many people lost part of their entitlement through the error, that it is likely that we will hear more of this, and that there could be test cases in months or even years to come.
Someone may be advised to
move on to UC now through natural migration. If it later transpires that
they’re due an arrears payment, they could at least initially miss out on getting disability premiums
in legacy benefits and therefore transitional protection in Universal Credit for their claim going forward. So far, the DWP
haven’t been able to give us an answer on this.
Contributory ESA in a full service Universal Credit area
And so onto the second issue. This is a training issue for DWP staff who, when asked if a person can claim contributory ESA (perhaps they have just had to leave work for health reasons, and have a partner who is working, for example), tell their customer that they have to claim universal credit, and don't tell them that they can claim contributory ESA, based on the fact that they have paid national insurance contributions and now cannot work.
Universal credit is not appropriate because they are not entitled to it if the partner's earnings are too great, and if they miss the opportunity to claim ESA and don' t make further enquiries, they can lose that entitlement for ever.
Contributory ESA is based not upon an entire national insurance contribution history, but upon contributions made in the last two complete tax years.
People in this situation do need to persist and insist upon claiming (so-called "new-style") contributory ESA - I believe that the claim form is either always or often a clerical form. To claim this benefit, phone the DWP on 0800 328 5644.
Tel: 0808 8003333
(Please note that yesterday and today, we have had technical problems (to do with the phone network) at the Helpline and cannot answer calls. We apologise for the inconvenience caused and look forward to being up and running either later today or very soon)