Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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ESA contribution based

MagnoliabloomMagnoliabloom Member Posts: 30 Connected

Please could you help ?  A family member who is disabled has become unable to work and has put in a claim for Employment Support Allowance contribution based.  DWP have said that-

 " We cannot pay you ESA from --------- 2017 " " We cannot pay because you have not paid or been credited with enough National Insurance contributions"

We believe that this is incorrect as working/ disability tax credits long term give class one NI credits however the family member had to give up "working /disability tax credits" after 6 months off sick and for a period of time and was in receipt of ESA. I gather ESA also means Class 1 NI credits.  The problem is probably not the N.I. record.

The issue then and reason for refusal maybe the 26 weeks of work required in one of the tax years under consideration. These tax years are 2014/2015 and 2015/2016
We are confused by the lower earnings limit.  It it correct that the claimant must have worked 26 weeks in one of the two tax years and must have earned £112 a week for 26 weeks not necessarily consecutive  weeks ?

We have contacted "SARS' and made a subject access request of The National Insurance office.  We hope they can confirm whether the earnings  and N.I. credits meet the requirement .

If all else fails we wonder if DWP would allow the claim to be deferred to the first Sunday of Jan. 2018. In this case we think that tax years  2015/2016 and 2016/2017 would be used to assess the claim and we have reason the believe that the earnings of the claimant may be higher in tax year ending 2017 with more weeks worked.  Do you think they might agree to this ? 

 The claimant will not qualify for income related ESA so we have ruled that out. However the claimant has no income at this time and is on sick leave from work.

We have filled in the capability for work questionnaire and posted this.    The previous ESA claim resulted in being placed in the support group with the same illness and without the need for a medical interview.

Any advice you can give would be gratefully received. Thank you.

Replies

  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,938 Disability Gamechanger
    The problem probably is the NI record. The contribution conditions are two fold and require a minimum of the specified amount of credits but also a minimum amount of NI to have actually been paid in the relevant tax years by earning more than the lower earnings limit. The weeks do not have to be consecutive at all but there must have been sufficient work in each financial year for the claimant to have actually paid (and not been credited with) NI.
  • MagnoliabloomMagnoliabloom Member Posts: 30 Connected
    Thank you . We believe that this is correct . We may have to write off the claim for December and ask if DWP will accept that incapacity stated on first Sunday of January 2018.  In this way they will look at the earnings tax year 2016 to 2017 and we think that the lower earnings limit was reached in 16/17 tax year.   I hope they will not want the claim resubmitted from scratch and will agree to move the claim date.
    Helpful advice which confirms what we have read . Thanks again.  
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering
    Magnoliabloom,

    Mike has summarised the contribution conditions for you very well, and he's right. You need two complete tax years before the benefit year in which you claim. In one year you need to have paid contributions on at least 26 x the lower earnings limit (this means 26 weeks of earning at least that amount, though as Mike points out, they don't have to be consecutive weeks). In BOTH of the years, you need either contributions, or credits, producing at least 50 times the lower earnings limit.

    Thinking about a claim from 2018 instead, so that one of the tax years is later, may work. If you specifically ask, this should be possible, as you can claim ESA up to three months before the date you will qualify for it. Hopefully the DWP will be aware of that provision and won't need your family member to claim again. 

    Will
    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • MagnoliabloomMagnoliabloom Member Posts: 30 Connected
    Thank you Will. We will let you know how we get on. I hope this may help others as DWP do not give a full explanation of why the claim is declined. In this case they "cut and paste"a sentence in the letter  to say that not enough NI credits/contributions are on the record . In fact it appears to be about the lower earnings limit.
    Thank you again.
  • MagnoliabloomMagnoliabloom Member Posts: 30 Connected
    Trying to find out about "New Style ESA".   Who can claim it and how ?
    Does it offer any advantage to contribution based ESA and is it only for claimants in areas where UC is rolled out ?
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,938 Disability Gamechanger
    It’s just contributing based ESA in a UC full service area and it offers no advantages at all plus the added bonus of an incomprehensible claim process.
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering
    MagnoliabloomMagnoliabloom,

    Exactly - as Mike says (thanks MIke) it simply means contributory ESA in a UC full service area. The contribution conditions are the same, but as Mike points out, it's even harder to claim due to the way they insist on mixing it up with UC.

    So no advantages whatsoever, and as regards entitlement to contributory ESA, the advice is as above. I should say that if you are trying to use a different year of claim, you need to make sure it doesn't 'link' to a period of limited capability for work in 2017. So when you're ringing up about the date of the ESA claim, be really clear that you don't want any period before 2018 to be considered. 

    Hope that makes sense!

    Will
    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • MagnoliabloomMagnoliabloom Member Posts: 30 Connected
    Thank you Mike and Will. Understand yes to avoid the linking.
    will let you know how it goes.
  • MagnoliabloomMagnoliabloom Member Posts: 30 Connected
    We have heard today that my family member has been successful in  a contributory ESA claim from 07/01/18.  Benefit years runs for 12 months from the first Sunday in January.  Some weeks were" lost" as the December claim was declined but with long term illness it is worth trying again in a new benefit year. Thank you for all  for advice. Advise anyone who is declined Contributory based (CB ESA) during later part of any year to apply again and date new claim as the first Sunday of January. This is the start of a new "benefit year"  .   If you have worked and earned or been credited with NI contributions they will look at the two most recent tax years. In our case tax years ending 2015 and 2016 did not allow a successful claim but moving to considering tax years ending 2016 and 2017 did allow a successful claim.    Have your P60 and NI record information up to date.  Employers sometimes submit information late. Keep going if you think you may have a valid claim. It has been very hard work but worth while.
    Now face the "Capability for work" assessment. Get help and advice and keep going. Best of luck .
  • Pippa_AlumniPippa_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 5,851 Disability Gamechanger
    Great to hear that your ESA claim has been successful, @Magnoliabloom! Thanks for sharing your advice too, I'm sure other community members will find it really helpful!
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering
    MagnoliabloomMagnoliabloom,

    Excellent news! Really pleased for you. Good luck with the WCA! And yes, top tips for other people re benefit years - it can work.

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