Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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Help with my ESA

Hi people, please be gentle, my first post here and I really do not know what to do for the best.


In short, last September of 2018, my girlfriend wanted to stay with me for so many days in the week as she wanted to go to Uni, if she were to go there from her home (she lives with her mother and is registered there) she just could not go from her house as she has cerebral palsy and scoliosis so the 2 and a half hour drive would have been to much for her, so me and my mum thought it would be good for her to stay with us for her Uni days and then return home for her free days, of course a odd day or 2 for personal reasons with me at my home. 



So, I receive, did receive Income based ESA and the SDP, I have my own disabilities too and can not work because of them. I get PIP, both are the low rates in each area, my mum receives her state pension as she is 80 and gets Attendance Allowance. My partner gets DLA only, no ESA or UC.


All was good, the council stated as my mum gets AA, my partner could stay for however long she want's to and I did let the ESA and PIP team know as I stated when my partner is with me she also helps in some of my disability needs. Then 3 weeks ago I received a call from the ESA team stating that I could claim, are entitled to the SDP rate along side my ESA, I was delighted of course. 



However, they phoned again wanting more info about myself, I guess to do with the SDP rate, they asked me, so, who lives with you? I was honest and stated my mum and my girlfriend, but my girlfriend only stays so many days during the week for her course as she just can't manage it if she went from her home as it'll be a 2 and a half hour drive away, where as it is only about 50 minutes from my home, so if myself and my mum said no, she would have missed out on a BIG life opportunity, the woman I spoke to seemed to not care about what I stated and said, sorry, we will stop your ESA, just on a temporary basis until we receive a ESA information form that we will send to you, then send it back. I sent it back and they released my ESA money again for that week. Then I received a SMS text message stating, we are looking at your claim and will make a decision in 2 weeks time, we will text you to let you know the outcome. I thought that was weird, so I phoned them again and asked, you have got the info, what the heck is this decision about? They said, oh, they only want to know the details on your girlfriend only, so I thought that was ok and hung up. The next day I receive another SMS text asking me to call them, which I did, they wanted to know what the dates were that she stayed while at UNI, the dates that she broke up from Uni, I quoted that she broke up on the correct date, that she returned home and is living with her mum again until she goes back to Uni around September 23rd, they said, well, please tell us then when she returns, I stated that I would.




I asked again, what is this decision about as I am very worried now that my benefits may change, but they still claimed that my benefits were safe, nothing would happen to them and that the ONLY THING that would come out of the decision was that if I, the info that I gave them about my girlfriend was true (it was) that she paid for her own food, that she did not have to pay rent as my mum was getting the full rate of rent paid as she was getting AA and that she did not give me 1 single penny towards anything else, and they I hung up, with so much relief.


They paid me my back dated SDP rate, BUT I noticed for that Friday that they did not pay me my SDP rate for that week, so I phoned them to ask why? I got a guy who stated that they should have, but the dates got all mixed up and that he just released the payment for that day and told me that the money would be in that day, or by 12 mid night. Next day, Saturday, nothing, I waited until Monday and called ESA again and asked why it had not gone in yet? A woman stated, sorry, you do not get ESA anymore, I asked why? She stated, I can't speak to you about it, again I asked why? Because surely you must send a letter out, her reply, go and claim Universal Credit, I stated that just put me out of my misery PLEASE! but got no answers. 



This time, I was worried, and I mean very worried and nervous, so much that I was physically sick 3 times. I phoned the UC line to try to get a few answers but they did not know nothing, 6 hours later, stuck in a few phone calls to ESA again and UC people I was still going nowhere, so I hung up and sent my MP a phone call saying what happened, even she stated that they should not have lied to your face/voice and that she will try to get me answers.


Now, I am a nervous wreck, I was told a while ago, if I needed to claim UC when it all goes live in my area that they would transition me over and I'd have nothing to worry about.


I looked up all the triggers that may have caused this and none of them involved my girlfriend staying for so many days a week to go to Uni and nothing else to do with money, as I do know that if she, for example, paid for my internet and phone bill per month, then that money I would have used, I would have saved it, thus that is a trigger and possibly fraud, however, nothing like this has ever happened since she has been here like that. She can't claim UC as she's a full time student and now I'm threating that if I do have no options but to claim UC they may want her and me to claim as a couple, but, we do not live together as a couple, her purpose here is only! to go to Uni.


Please help someone, my mind and health is already going downhill with all this worry, do I have a right to appeal the ESA decision? My partner has stated that if in the end they did that because of her that she would move out and live in student accommodation so that things will hopefully be ok.

Replies

  • debsidoodebsidoo Member Posts: 327 Pioneering
    edited August 2018
    Hi @Samuraix1
    I think the best advice I can give you is to make an appointment with the CAB.Get all your paperwork together write down all the dates from Uni that your partner stayed with you.Also any documentation that proves her main address and relevant paperwork as to which benefits she gets.They have benefits specialists there and as this sounds like a complicated set of circumstances it would be best sorted by someone who has all the paperwork and the rule book  in front of them.If you do decide to claim Universal Credit you will be classed as a new claimant and may lose out financially.
      Debsidoo.x
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