How to qualify for contributions based ESA? + ESA in youth/'youth rules' — Scope | Disability forum
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How to qualify for contributions based ESA? + ESA in youth/'youth rules'

Hello, just wondering if anyone can help - do you have to have worked to qualify for contributions based ESA? i.e. you cannot claim on the basis of contributions received via claiming benefits?

Secondly, i am curious if anyone can shed light on the 'Employment and Support Allowance in youth' which though now abolished, 'prior to April 2012 special rules allowed young people aged under 20 (or aged 20-25 in certain circumstances) to claim contributory ESA even though they had never worked or paid National Insurance' (and from what i'm aware could still continue to claim contributory ESA indefinitely if in the support group??)

I did claim for ESA when under the age of 20, (well my mum did on my behalf when i was 15-16 years old) but my claim did stop temporarily (but not due to working - I went to college to do A-levels). Then  i reclaimed in September 2012 and placed in the support group. I'm wondering if a mistake was made when i claimed again and whether due to my previous claim (when receiving ESA in youth) that i should have qualified to receive contributions based ESA instead of income-based?

I'd appreciate any insight on this.


  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 28,357 Disability Gamechanger

    1/ Claiming carers allowance previously will qualify someone to claim Contributions based ESA ( now called New style) providing they have work and paid NI contributions at some point during their life. Otherwise no, claiming a benefit will no qualify you to claim New style ESA.

    2/ Claiming ESA in youth under the special rules abolished in 2012. You are correct that if placed into the Support Group through this then the CB ESA would be paid for as long as you remained in the group.

    3/ When you reclaimed in 2012 unless you had worked and paid enough NI contributions in the previous 2 tax years then no you wouldn't have been entitled to claim CB ESA at that time. As previously advised claiming a benefit and being paid NI credits towards a pension doesn't qualify you for CB benefits. Your claim for Income related ESA at that time was correct. Hope this helps.
  • BenefitsTrainingCo
    BenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,628 Pioneering
    If you lost your entitlement to ESA in youth, then that would be correct - your new claim would be based on your circumstances when you reclaimed, and looking back at the last 2 complete tax years I would guess you hadn't paid enough/any national insurance.

    So getting income-related ESA sounds right.

    Your contributory ESA in youth stopped because you were receiving full-time education and under 19 (21 hours or more a week is the definition of full-time education for this rule). If the education was less than 21 hours a week, or you were 19 or over when you went back into education, your ESA in youth should not have stopped.

    As Poppy explains, you have to have actually worked and paid NI at some point to get a contributory benefit, now that the ESA in youth rules have been abolished.

    There are pros and cons to getting both types of ESA but for things like free prescriptions (in England anyway) it's useful to be on the income-related form anyway. Where it can be less useful is if you start to live with a working partner, as this could mean it stops.

    Hope this helps to clarify that you are on the right benefit!

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


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