Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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ESA confusion :/

Hello
I'm wondering if I can get some help please?

I have asked my girlfriend to move in after 2.5 years of being together. She is unable to work due to severe anxiety and depression. She currently claims ESA and is awaiting the results of her medical assessment (10th Jan 2018).

We have used benefits calculators to determine what our entitlements would be. I work full time, 48 hours a week with an income of £32500. Based on our circumstances, calculators have informed us she qualifies for contributory based ESA. The confusion starts when we read the criteria for the contributory scheme. It says she qualifies if she has contributed enough towards National Insurance, which she hasn't as she has never worked. Is this scenario based on her circumstances or our circumstances? I obviously make regular National Insurance payments through my wages. It's a very confusing system for someone who has no idea how the benefits system works :/

I look forward to hearing from you

Replies

  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering
    Greeghorst1986Greeghorst1986,

    Hi there. If your girlfriend has never paid national insurance contributions (having never worked), then she may not be entitled to contributory ESA, but there is an exception for some people who got ESA from a young age. I would definitely expect any income-related ESA to stop on moving in with you. Any PIP or DLA she gets could continue.

    Your national insurance contributions do NOT count towards her benefits. It's your wages and hours of work that prevent her qualifying for income-related ESA. Contributory ESA is based on the contributions of the claimant, not their partner. So on the face of it your girlfriend's ESA would stop.

    However, there are some people who got what was known as 'ESA in youth'. That didn't depend on national insurance contributions. If your girlfriend got this, it's possible she could be entitled to contributory ESA when she moves in with you if she is in the 'support group' for ESA (something you will find out from the assessment).

    If your girlfriend got ESA in youth AND is in the support group, then it's possible she has entitlement to contributory ESA which she could still get if she moves in with you. That could apply even if she has gone in and out of the support group, as long as she was getting some ESA all the time. 

    It's hard to tell over the internet whether your girlfriend was getting ESA in youth. She would need to have been getting ESA since before May 2012 (it was abolished for new claimants from 1 May 2012). I'd recommend getting face to face advice from someone who can look at her benefit letters before she moves in with you, for example, a Citizens Advice Bureau. 

    My guess is that the calculator is coming across something like this, but I would want to be absolutely sure as I wouldn't want to risk her losing her benefit.

    Will
    The Benefits Training Co:
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    Michael Chambers
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  • Greeghorst1986Greeghorst1986 Member Posts: 3 Listener
    Thanks very much for you help!

    I've never had to deal with any form of benefits system, so it's all double Dutch to me. I'll have to see what her assessment says and get her or her mum (appointed "carer"/spokesperson) to ask them where she would stand.
  • wilkowilko Member Posts: 2,352 Disability Gamechanger
    Hello and welcome you could if you have the time contact the local citizens advice for any advice they may be able to,give you. 
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