Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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is it right to be on contribution based for this long?

fishmanfishman Member Posts: 4 Listener
hi, i have been on ESA contribution based for about 3 years. i have been ticking the esa income box on prescriptions not relising there where different parts to esa so now owe a fortune. is it right to be on contribution based for this long? thanks in advance


  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,415 Disability Gamechanger
    If you're in the Support Group then you can continue to get contributory ESA beyond 12 months. You need to check whether you are in fact getting means-tested ESA to top up the contributory (more likely if you're single and getting PIP). You also need face to face advice re: the prescription issue as there have been national media stories of widespread false accusations of fraud.
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering

    As Mike says, it's fine to be on cont ESA for years as long as you are in the support group.

    As regards prescriptions:

    1) check whether you are entitled to income-related ESA too. The benefit calculator can help you check this. If you are entitled, alert the DWP as soon as possible & ask for a revision because there is also a national scandal about people on contributory ESA who have missed out on income-related ESA

    2) if you are not entitled to income-related ESA, then you could still be entitled to free prescriptions via the low income scheme. 

    As for ticking the box when you didn't realise, I agree with Mike that face to face advice is the best idea - try Citizens Advice. I know that you can pay back penalty charges (which are a lot more than the prescription charges themselves) in instalments, but advice could help you as you might, for example, be able to complain about the wording of the prescription form/wording of your ESA letters and challenge the penalty charge.

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