Contributory ESA and Universal Credit One big confusing mess — Scope | Disability forum
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Contributory ESA and Universal Credit One big confusing mess

itsmefee Member Posts: 27 Connected
I already claim Contributory ESA (support group). I recently moved house and applied for housing benefit. This triggered a move onto Universal Credit as I live in a full service area. The Contributory ESA I already receive runs outside Universal Credit and will not change.

I have today received a Universal Credit Health Care Questionnaire to fill in so they can assess my fitness for work. 

Being in the support group for Contributory ESA  I am now just wondering if after my assessment Universal Credit put me in a work related group, how they will justify their actions on this. Is it possible to be on UC in a work related group and on ESA in the support group. The whole system is very confusing and does not relate to my circumstances at all. 

I was even asked on my journal today for UC if there have been gaps in my employment over the past few weeks. I am in the Support Group on ESA so YES quite a big gap unfortunately. How stupid is this situation. I am totally confused and exhausted by it all. 

So, Watch this space. I can't wait to find out how this one is going to play out. 


  • Sam_Alumni
    Sam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,673 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @itsmefee

    Our @BenefitsTrainingCo answered this on a similar post

    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] 

    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). I would suggest you complain to your MP and the DWP as well as letting us know of the outcome of your claims. 

    Senior online community officer
  • itsmefee
    itsmefee Member Posts: 27 Connected
    I have been on contributory ESA for some years not and will remain on it as a total separate benefit to UC. My Recent claim for Universal Credit was made just so I could access housing benefit but by the time they had deducted my ESA earnings away from my UC income I was only £89.00 a month better for it is only enough to cover one weeks rent and not the whole month. 

    The whole exercise was pointless. 
  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 273 Pioneering
    Hi itsmefee

    What a horrible mess for you to deal with.

    As you suggest, it is usually a claim to a "legacy" benefit, and housing benefit is one of them, that triggers a claim for universal credit. In a full service universal credit (UC) area - one where all new income-based claims have to be under UC rules, the only way tot get any help with rent is to claim housing benefit. 
    I am wondering whether you are getting enough UC though, according to the rules. Perhaps you are under 25, so that the amount that UC has to pay to make your income up to the amount that is laid down for each group of people (for example single person under 25, couple under 25, couple over pension age etc etc) is correct, according to regulations. 

    I would suggest doing a benefits check online to check your entitlement and/or going to a local benefits specialist or other advice group to check your entitlement. 

    Here's a link to the benefit checker on our website.

    Very best wishes



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