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New style esa/uc sg am i being overpaid?

Hi everyone

I'm 47 live on my own and have no dependants.

I have had MH problems since a teenager, I'm bipolar, I managed to maintain fulltime work up till I was 35.
but the last 12 years have been difficult MH wise and ive been in and out of employment, during those times of unemployment I always claimed JSA, I wasn't actually aware that having a MH problem may have been a qualifying factor to receive ESA.

From march 2015 till Feb 2017 I was in employment but got made redundant so again I claimed by then new style
JSA/UC I was receiving 317.00 per month plus 375.00 HB. Unfortunately my MH was seriously declining and I told my JC advisor that I was bipolar and struggling to meet there demands and that I was feeling suicidal and not functioning at all, basically had a melt down in the JC, she said I must immediately apply for ESA new style/UC, so I did in oct 17.

I remained on the same amount of money 317 per month plus HB until march 18 when I received a letter from the DWP that I had been deemed unfit for work and placed in the support group without the need for an assessment.
There was no mention in the letter why I didn't need to have an assessment? or as to how long this would be for?

So when it came to my first payment being made I looked on my online UC journal and was surprised to find I had been paid as followed

375.00 HB ( my rent is 450.00 )
317.82 standard allowance UC
328.32 limited capability to work allowance
total 1021.14

Is this correct? I'm seriously worried I'm being overpaid and that I will have to pay it back! I thought ESA SG was 110.00 PW or something like that so how come they are still paying me UC on top of it? I have looked on gov web sites and searched various forums and cant find anything that says or mentions new style ESA can be topped up with UC? Don't get me wrong I'm not complaining as I just about scrape through every month ( with a little help from my parents ) with this amount, I'm just worried to death that I will get a letter at some point saying they've made a mistake and I owe them x amount of £'s.

Also someone told me that if you are placed in the SG that this qualifies you for extra help with your rent, ie my HB is 375.00 and my rent is 450.00 so a difference of 75.00 does anyone know if this is the case?

Sorry for long post just thought it may help if I gave a bit of background.

Thank you



  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 28,607 Disability Gamechanger
    edited April 2019

    That's the correct amount of UC that you're receiving. Sounds like to me that it's UC limited capability for work related activity you're receiving and not New style ESA. They are similar benefits but just different names, it's confusing.

    If you were receiving new style ESA Support Group this would be £110 per week, paid fortnightly.

    As you're receiving UC then it's paid monthly and the group you're in is limited capability for work related activity (support group equivalent)

    Your housing element, then you should be receiving the 1 bedroom rate for your area and for this you will need to check what that is as all areas are different. You can check that here

  • mookin
    mookin Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Hi Poppy thanks for your reply

    Yes you must be right because that's what it says on my UC journal, its broken down into two components one payment for UC and another for limited capability to work and its paid monthly.

    So its not even new style ESA then its something else, Gosh its true it is so confusing, new style old style this group that group it makes your head spin! I suppose it doesn't really matter what it is in the long run though does it as long as it keeps me afloat for the time being until I'm feeling well enough to get back into work. So at least it looks like they've got the payment correct then, I hope so.

    I've checked my HB and yes its the correct amount for my circumstances/area. I thought someone had told me or ide read it somewhere that being placed in the limited capability to work/SG qualified you for extra help with your rent, ie paying the difference between your HB award and what your actual rent is, maybe it was just wishful thinking lol

    Thank you you've helped put my mind at rest. 

  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 28,607 Disability Gamechanger
    No, LCWRA/SG doesn't qualify you for extra help with your rent. You could ask for a discretionary housing payment from your local council but this will only be paid for a short amount of time. Not everyone is successful when they apply for this and you'll need to fill out a form from your local council.
  • mookin
    mookin Member Posts: 5 Listener
    OK thanks that's answered that question for me.

    Yes I did apply for the discretionary housing payment when I first came out of work in 2017 and was really struggling to find the extra rent. I was awarded the extra payment for 4 months and told it was highly unlikely that it would be awarded for a second time and that for them to even consider it I would have to go on a money management course with them. And then basically told that if I couldn't afford the rent then move! Which is ridiculous because 450.00 a month for a flat (private sector) in my area is extremely cheap and around the same sort of price of what council flats around here cost, I know this because I had a friend that lived down the road in an absolutely lovely council flat and her rent was 440.00 a month and she was subject to the dreaded bedroom tax! So to suggest that I could find somewhere cheaper round here is ludicrous.

    Oh well rant over lol I actually feel extremely grateful for what im receiving at the moment and am also lucky to have fantastic parents who will help me when things become desperate. I know there are people who are in much worse positions then me.

    Again thanks for your help
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 28,607 Disability Gamechanger
    edited May 2019
    You're welcome.

    Moving house isn't always the most ideal solution. Landlords these days don't like benefit tenants and you would most likely find it very difficult to find a landlord that will. Of course it does depend on what area you live in as some areas there's a few that will, with a guarantor but not everyone can find one of those.

    discretionary housing payments are not a long time solution for anyone and it does depend also on your local councils budget. Asking you to attend a money management course is ridiculous and i'd be very offended if they said that to me. It's not easy managing on low income and i'd like to see the person who advised you this to try it for their self some time. They would soon take back what they said.

    If you are struggling with your health have you considered starting a claim for PIP? This is extra money to help those with a disability like yourself. It's not awarded based on a diagnosis, it's how those conditions affect your ability to carry out daily activity based on the PIP descriptors, here.

    You would need evidence to support your claim because they rarely contact anyone. You would also most likely have to attend a face to face assessment, similar to the work capability assessment but with different criteria.

    Here's more information about PIP, which would be worth reading.

    The claim could take several months and it's not guaranteed you'll be awarded but it's worth trying.

  • mookin
    mookin Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Hi Poppy thanks for your lovely reply

    I know it made me feel quite angry at the time to basically suggest that I'm living the high life on 317.00 a month (I was only on UC then) and choosing not to pay my rent is an insult. As most people who have no choice but to have to live on benefits through ill health will now there's times when you have to sit in the cold because there's no money for gas, there's times when you don't eat because there's no money for food and you have no choice but to manage your money carefully in order to survive.

    As I said I'm very lucky I have wonderful parents but they are pensioners now and my sister relies on them heavily for child care and financial support as her marriage split up 4 years ago and shes now a working single parent of three young children. So I hate putting extra pressure on them from me it makes me feel terrible and so guilty.

    I have looked in to PIP online but the thought of one of those awful face to face assessments fills me with fear and dread it must be so humiliating to have to go though, I don't understand why they have to put people through that why is supporting evidence from your GP/psychiatrist/consultant not enough! Its quite cruel.

    Being bipolar affects my life immensely its a debilitating yet curious condition to have and most people cant understand how you can go from being severely depressed, suicidal, paranoid, anxious, panic attacks, becoming mute and anti social, racing negative thoughts, sometimes a voice telling me to kill myself, sometimes aggressive, neglecting yourself, despising yourself not being able to get out of bed for months on end and your whole day is wholly consumed with killing yourself, ending it all just to get relief from those agonising thoughts. I'm only here now because of my dogs without them I most certainly would have ended it all....then you can sometimes gradually, sometimes overnight, feel like your the most excited you've ever been in your life! like you've won 20 million on the lottery lol and your hearts gonna burst out with excitement, laughing at everything, talking to anyone who'll listen for hours on end, throw parties, listen to loud music and dance around the house, become a super star a goddess everyone loves you and you love everyone, paint, decorate ( I once redecorated my whole house during a manic episode ) clean the house, be super organised. Its usually the only way I make friends during a manic episode but unfortunately as soon as they realise the other side of you they soon bow out of your life, cant say I blame them as my highs only last a week at most and they are over just as quick as they start, then its back to hell you go.

    I guess I'm around 80% on the depressive side and 20% on the high although the high/manic episodes aren't always great they can lead you into doing stupid and sometimes reckless things which I wont go into. So I guess that's my quandary when it comes to one of those assessments for PIP or ESA I'm pretty sure I couldn't cope with it on a bad day ide be a jabbering wreck and cry scream and throw up over someone! but if it was a high day ide probably walk in the assessors office beaming tell him/her how wonderful my life and the whole world is talk their head off and maybe even do a little dance for them! because you just cant help yourself when you feel so high lol. so the thought of all that just scares the life out of me and totally puts me off the thought of making a fool of myself.

    I'm so sorry Poppy for the long rambling post as you may of worked out by now in having one of my highs and it felt good to let all that out. I only have my mom, dad and sister to talk to and we don't talk about my MH/bipolar too much because it upsets them.

    So if you've made it this far thanks for listening :)

  • Adrian_Scope
    Adrian_Scope Posts: 8,572

    Scope community team

    Hi @mookin, just wanted to say a quick hello and welcome to the community. :)

    You've received great advice from @poppy123456 and she's right, that is the amount you're entitled to.

    Just to clarify something regarding the extra rent assistance for being in the support group etc, this mainly applies to under 35s. Typically they are only entitled to the shared room rate of housing, rather than a 1 bedroom, but having a disability entitles them to a 1 bedroom place instead. You're already getting the one bedroom rate which is why this doesn't apply to you.

    Thank you for sharing your story. Are you receiving much in the way of professional support?
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  • mookin
    mookin Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Hi @Adrian_Scope thanks for the welcome

    I understood once poppy explained that its not new style ESA I'm receiving that its LCWRA/UC a totally different benefit. I was concerned because all the gov websites were saying ESA is 110.00 a week so I thought I was being overpaid. Now you've both confirmed its correct I feel satisfied it is.

    Thanks for clarifying the rent question.

    Yes I am receiving help I have a psychiatrist who I see every 3 months I am on ariprozale. My psychiatrist has banned me from taking anti depressants because they have triggered some manic episodes so I feel that I'm never gonna get better because its the depressive/suicidal thoughts side of me that are the hardest to cope with. I was put on a waiting list last july for some therapies not sure what, they said it was a 3 month waiting list but its now 8 months later and I'm still waiting.

    I was placed in LCWRA group without having to have an assessment, that was 13 months ago, in the letter they sent me to confirm this they did not state why or for how long, is this the norm? I put no supporting evidence in there and I barely filled the ESA50 form (I think that's what it is) out I was just too ill at the time to care. My GP told me they had wrote to her and she said she would write back to them that's all I know.

    So I'm starting to get worried now because from what I've read most people seem to get reassessed at around 12 to 18 month intervals. I have no supporting evidence on my MH conditions apart from appointment letters which I believe are not accepted. And my GP surgery actually has posters up saying ' DO NOT MAKE APPOINTMENTS WITH YOUR GP FOR ESA/PIP SUPPORTING LETTERS AS THEY WILL NOT DO THEM' so how are you supposed to get supporting evidence?

    Sorry for the long post again as I said in previous post ive never claimed disability benefits before its all new and very confusing and overwhelming....they make you jump through hoops for JSA but this is just something else...its hoops on fire with bells on!!

    I hope you can answer my questions

    Thank you

  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 28,607 Disability Gamechanger
    They don't give any reasons why you were placed into a group for UC or ESA, they just tell you which group. If you want to know the reasons then you can contact UC and ask or request a copy of the assessment report to be sent to you and you'll know by the recommendations in the report. Even though you didn't have a face to face assessment there will still be a report written.

    Timescales, there isn't any of those either because they can re-assess you anytime from 3 months. The form you would have filled in is called the UC50 and not ESA50 because you're claiming UC.

    For your review, when ever that maybe then future appointment dates/times are not classed as evidence. If you've had hospital appointments in the past then the consultant will usually write a letter to your GP and CC a copy to you, if you ask them to do this. If you don't receive copies then it's free to request your medical records from your GP, which you'll receive digital copies of. If you want paper copies then you will be charged for them.

    It's not unusual for GP to refuse to write letters for benefit purposes because they don't really have the time. You were lucky that they contacted your GP the first time because it's rare for them to do this. Don't rely on this happening because it may not next time.

    For the PIP then it's definitely worth having a look. Yes, it's stressful as all benefits like are very stressful to claim but if you don't try you'll never be awarded it.
  • Adrian_Scope
    Adrian_Scope Posts: 8,572

    Scope community team

    Thanks for all the information @poppy123456

    @mookin I hope Poppy has managed to answer all of your questions, but if there's anything else you're unsure of, just let us know. :)
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