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ESA and housing benefit confusion/problems.

HCSOC Member Posts: 4 Listener
Don't know if anyone can help. I'm confused and panicking and I've been more unwell than usual recently. It's hard to think straight.

I'm not sure if my post is too long. I'm sorry if it is. I'm panicking so much.

I don't know if I should be claiming housing benefit or universal credit? I'm getting ir ESA assessment stage. Panicked about rent when I made the claim and DWP told me quicker to claim housing benefit direct from council. My council doesn't do online or telephone claims. I had to call to ask them to post the claim form. I wasn't well enough to go in person to the council offices to fill it in. By the time I was able to complete and return the form, the council had gone live full universal credit.

I called several times before returning the form to check if still should claim housing benefit and not universal credit. They said yes because I'm already on ESA. I also requested backdating the housing benefit because I had been too unwell to return the form immediately. Now got a letter saying ineligible and have to claim uc.They ignored the backdated request. Meanwhile I've gone several months without rent help and have had to borrow. Family and friends can't lend anymore.

Council letter says to ask for a revision in writing if I disagree with their decision. Have to do it within one month. CAB told me I should get housing benefit because already on ESA. Council say universal credit because they got the form back from me after they changed to uc (but I was already on ESA by then and had asked for the claim form before they changed).

Do I ask for a revision? If I'm not entitled, I want to claim uc asap because I know it takes ages to process and I don't want any longer delays.


  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,891 Disability Gamechanger
    Unfortunately because your area is a now a full Universal credit area you won't be able to claim housing benefit, it will have to be UC. This means that your ESA will stop and your payments will all be under UC. You need to fill an application in online to start a UC claim off. First payment takes approximately 6 weeks. You will need a tenancy agree to be able to claim the housing element of UC.

    Council tax reduction isn't part of UC and needs to be claimed separately from your local council.

    HCSOC Member Posts: 4 Listener
    Thank you. I feel so stupid because if I hadn't had a panic attack when I first tried to claim housing benefit I wouldn't have to do universal credit. I'm scared about claiming it. I've heard it takes ages to process and there are lots of mistakes and problems and you get less money. I'm struggling already.

    Council now saying I'll be able to get backdated housing benefit up until the time universal credit claim starts because of underlying entitlement. Is this right? I hope so because otherwise I won't have had rent money for several months and owe people lots of money.

    I also don't know whether to cancel my ESA medical assessment if I start a universal credit claim? Assessment in a few weeks.

    I'm getting the council tax reduction.

  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,891 Disability Gamechanger
    The underlying entitlement means housing benefit that you should have been receiving if you had returned those forms. If they do allow this then you're very lucky. As they have told you about this then i'd certainly ask about continuing to receive money from housing benefit rather than having to start a claim for UC. I'm not saying they will agree, they most likely won't. As they have said about the underlying entitlement then you have nothing to lose by asking. If they say no then you should delay starting your UC claim. It can take at least 6 weeks for UC to start paying you so you shouldn't delay starting the claim. Every day you delay that's 1 more day you have to wait. If you do have to apply for UC then the link above should be used because a claim for UC is done online.

    You should still attend the ESA assessment because if you cancel then your ESA will stop. If you attend the assessment and are successfully placed into a group DWP should honour that and place you in the relevant group for UC.
  • BenefitsTrainingCo
    BenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,628 Pioneering
    Hello HCSOC

    As poppy points out in her post you are getting contradictory messages from HB about your entitlement.

    When forms are sent out some councils have a date stamp on which indicates a date of claim.  They then give usually a month to complete the form. Was there such a stamp on your application?  

    In addition if you make claim for ESA by telephone a HB claim is usually completed at the same time.  The DWP sending this form to your local authority.  

    In the above circumstances if the form was returned in time, or a valid HB claim was sent by ESA then your date of claim maybe before your area became full service.  

    If not and your HB claim was received by this point in a full service area, HB would have been replaced by UC.  However, I would first check if there was a date stamp on the HB application and secondly if ESA sent a HB application as part of your claim to the local authority.  You can ask these specific questions to HB and I would also contact ESA to see if they sent a HB form.


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