Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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A letter saying he never should have received ESA?

rhubarbrhubarb Member Posts: 7 Listener
Hi everyone, I've joined the group to try to get advice for my husband. He has been receiving various benefits since he had to leave work after being injured by a car in the late 1990s, when he was aged 46.  He received about £250,000 compensation from the driver's insurer at the time so has never been entitled to means tested benefits.  I've lost track of the names of all these different benefits, but today he's received a letter saying he shouldn't have been receiving ESA (for several years) because he has over £16,000 savings.  He has never hidden his savings so we don't understand what's going on. Can anyone advise us please?  

Replies

  • Pippa_ScopePippa_Scope Member Posts: 5,856 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @rhubarb, and a warm welcome to the community!

    I'm sorry to hear about this uncertainty you and your husband are dealing with. We have some experienced and knowledgeable members here on the community, so hopefully you'll have some responses to this soon.
  • rhubarbrhubarb Member Posts: 7 Listener
    Thank you very much Pippa. 
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi,

    Sounds like to me that he could have been receiving Contributions based ESA with an income related top up.

    Do you work? do you claim ESA as a couple? It's always extremely difficult to give advice like this on an internet forum because no one here knows all of your circumstances.
    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,314 Disability Gamechanger
    Was the compensation placed into any kind of discretionary trust? 
  • rhubarbrhubarb Member Posts: 7 Listener
    No, just kept in savings/bonds. Actually I think the letter he's received is a standard one as part of the reviews of ESA that are taking place.  I think (hope) it is saying "you aren't entitled to it so you didn't get it". Fingers crossed. I will phone them on Monday. Thank you for your interest.
  • rhubarbrhubarb Member Posts: 7 Listener
    Thanks, Poppy, I think you're right and that he was just receiving contributions based ESA.  Thanks so much Poppy and Mike, for comments which have helped me to know what to check out. 
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    If he's been receiving Contributions based with an Income related top up then the income related top up is means tested. Savings/capital over £16,000 means he's not entitled to any means tested benefits such as ESA, housing benefit and council tax reduction.

    How much ESA does he receive per week? Does he claim housing benefit?
    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
  • rhubarbrhubarb Member Posts: 7 Listener
    Hi Poppy, I don't know how much it was, but he reached retirement age in 2015 and everything changed then. He's never asked for any means tested benefits so I don't think he's been receiving any - I think it is just a poorly worded letter. We're home owners but we do get a council tax band reduction because of adaptations we had to make to our house. Thanks so much for your interest - fingers crossed that I can confirm this with them on Monday :) Happy Christmas.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,314 Disability Gamechanger
    Right, so that sounds like he was getting contributory ESA abd they tagged you as one of the cases who may have missed out on means-tested on conversion but in fact you’re not entitled because of the capital. It would only be a concern if you’d been getting means-tested ESA and had been hit with an overpayment.

    All that said I am concerned the money was not placed into a discretionary trust. 
  • rhubarbrhubarb Member Posts: 7 Listener
    I don't know what a discretionary trust is Mike, but it was his choice to buy ethical bonds with the money and gradually move some of it into ISAs over the years. Seems to have served him well for the last 20 years, so I think he's quite happy with that choice, though recent events have resulted in some losses.  His injury was a terrible misfortune, but we're lucky to have a home and not to be struggling financially like so many people are. 
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,314 Disability Gamechanger
    At the point at which you receive compensation it would be usual for your sides solicitor to offer some options as to what to do with the money. A properly set up discretionary trust would have meant the whole of the money in the trust would be ignored for benefit purposes which of course means he would have been entitled to IB/ESA, HB if aappropriate and CTB/CTR for the whole of the last couple of decades subject to any other circumstances we don’t know about. 
  • rhubarbrhubarb Member Posts: 7 Listener
    What a shame that he wasn't given that advice.  The compensation received didn't cover 20 years loss of earnings and work-based pension, let alone the associated costs of becoming disabled.  But we have been lucky in many ways, so will be glad of that. Thank you Mike, too late for us, but good information for anyone who is unlucky enough to find themselves in similar circumstances. 
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