UC and new style ESA help please! — Scope | Disability forum
Find out how to let us know if you're concerned about another member's safety.

UC and new style ESA help please!

Perks1989 Member Posts: 2 Listener
Hi there I am new to this forum but in desperate need of some help and advice!

Back in 2017 I was claiming ESA until Oct of that year when I tried to go back to work (retail) (20 hours plus) so obviously I had to come off ESA. Turns out I couldn't cope (dunno why I thought I could tbh!) so I had to reclaim. My husband works and he has a good job but its never been a problem as I was claiming ESA - Contribution based as I was placed in the support group. (Mental health difficulties, severe anxiety and depression / bpd).
So when I went to reclaim I was told because I'm an area covered by UC that I would have to claim that. Me and my husband set up an account as a household. Immediately I was skeptical because it was quite obvious based on my husbands income we weren't going to get any money from UC. 
Since January its been a massive back and forth because all I want to do is claim New Style ESA which I was told about AFTER I claimed UC. Apparently this is what I need to back on something similar to Contributions based ESA. 
If anything the UC claim seems to be getting in the way and even though I've attended a WCA and sent in evidence and fit notes as they now call them I am still getting nowhere! 
No one is giving me any information in regards to my ESA claim, I have to wait days for a journal response and when I call customer services they just say they'll leave a msg for my case worker! Who then takes another 3 days to respond.
It's really starting to stress me out and affect my health. I'm working 8 hours at the moment to tie me over but with all this stress and the fact I've got my little boy to think about and nursery fees, bills, debt and no money coming in from UC - its all proving too much and I can feel my health slipping! 
I just want to contribute to the family as I was doing before!  


  • BenefitsTrainingCo
    BenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,628 Pioneering
    Hello Perks1989

    It sounds like you have been properly messed around by a system that is badly letting people down.

    There is a well-known problem affecting people trying to claim contributory (or what the DWP now calls "new style") employment and support allowance in a universal credit full service area. As i think you have found out the DWP insists that you make a claim to universal credit in order to claim contributory ESA. This does not follow the law and it should be possible to claim contributory ESA without UC. There is a way but it is tricky. You have to download a claim form available here scan it and email it to [email protected] I am concerned in your case that a long time has passed and you may not have actually made a claim to contributory ESA when you first tried. If you think this is the case you should claim again to the email address above and let us know of the outcome. You should also let us know of the outcome of your claim to UC as soon as possible because the time limit for challenging decisions is usually one month.

    Some of my colleagues are working hard to raise this with the DWP to get a better solution (you will see a discussion amongst advisers here). Given the length of time involved and difficulties you have had i would suggest you complain to your MP and the DWP as well as letting us know of the outcome of your claims.

    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 28,342 Disability Gamechanger
    You may also not be eligible for Contribution based ESA (new style) now either. If you've paid enough NI contributions in the previous 2 tax years then you can claim it again but of course if you haven't then you won't be able to claim this now. As you're not being paid the UC then they will most likely only pay your NI stamp.

    When you finished work back in January it may have been possible to do a rapid reclaim if it was 12 weeks since your ESA ended. Unfortunately you're out of time to be able to do that now. It's a shame you didn't go to your local CAB for advice back then.
  • Theomcvicar
    Theomcvicar Member Posts: 2 Listener
    Hi I'm writing on behalf of my husband he was on esa in support group he wanted to work he never told his employer about his health  as he suffers from eplipsy  he fell back on stairs broke his wrist and fractured  his jaw as he took seizure  on stairs his sap ended  on 6th August  we told to apply  for universal credit  weited for 5 weeks closed claim because  of my earnings they then told us we should have applied  for new style esa which we done on 11th September in social security  forms filled in all information  given told we have to wait 14 working days for claim to be looked at I've been on phone since Monday getting  put through to so many people  Monday telling me anything  got to phone back on Friday that be 7 weeks  we have no money thanks
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 28,342 Disability Gamechanger
    Yes, unfortunately claiming UC will depend on household income because it's a means tested benefit.

    Also claim New style contributions based ESA will depend on his National insurance contributions in the previous 2 tax years. If he's paid enough then he can claim this with a fit/sick note from his GP, if he hasn't then he won't be able to claim this either. You can check his NI contributions here https://www.gov.uk/check-national-insurance-record

    A claim can take 3-4 weeks and they'll write to him and tell him if he's eligible to claim it, unfortunately there's nothing you can do until then.

    Does his claim DLA or PIP? PIP has replaced DLA and isn't means tested. It's not about a diagnosis for PIP it's how those conditions affect you daily. It can take several months to claim but worth looking into if he doesn't already claim it. Have a look at this PIP self test, it's just a guide and it doesn't mean those points will be scored and evidence will be needed to support a claim.

  • Theomcvicar
    Theomcvicar Member Posts: 2 Listener
    Yes he gets disability  living allowance  


Complete our feedback form and tell us how we can make the community better.

Do you need advice on your energy costs?

Scope’s Disability Energy Support service is open to any disabled household in England or Wales in which one or more disabled people live. You can get free advice from an expert adviser on managing energy debt, switching tariffs, contacting your supplier and more. Find out more information by visiting our
Disability Energy Support webpage.