Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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What's there to lose?

mrbomrbo Member Posts: 8 Listener
Hi....I'm a newbie here so please be gentle...

I am trying to get some ACCURATE information on how my ESA and Housing Benefit will be affected if I get married.

Currently I receive full Housing Benefit as a Council Tenant and Income Related ESA with severe disability enhancements and am in the Support Group as its unlikely that I will ever be able to work again due to my conditions. (I also get PIPS but gather that would be unaffected)

My understanding is that if I marry and my wife is working, then I would automatically be placed back on contributory ESA. I'm reading as a result, I would lose all my ESA disability enhancements which aren't available on CB ESA and would only qualify at best for basic CB ESA. On the plus side (if there is one) I'm reading that my wife to be salary would have no further impact on CB ESA irrespective of her earnings level.

Are these assumptions/things I am reading correct?? Basically I'm trying to assertain the impact on my benefits by being married.

Is there a scenario where the level of her income would result in me losing all ESA benefit??

How would my Housing Benefit be affected?

Further, should my wife to be, not work and thus not have any income would being married alone put me on to CB ESA and thus lose my disability enhancements or would I remain as I am on IR ESA and full Housting Benefit?

Any input and guidance on the above would be very much appreciated.

Thanks in advance 

Replies

  • Ami2301Ami2301 Community Co-Production Group Posts: 7,476 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @mrbo welcome to the community! I am unsure however our community members will be in contact with you soon to advise :)
    Disability Gamechanger - 2019
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi,

    Firstly you need to check whic ESA you're receiving, if it's all Income Related then it will depend how much your partner earns. If they work more than 24 hours per week you won't be entitled to any income related ESA at all and you'll just receive your NI credits towards your state pension. If it's less than 24 hours per week then it will depend on their income.

    If it's all Income related then you can't be put on contributions based.

    If you're receiving Contributions based with an income related top up then you'll just lose the income related top up, which is the premiums. Contributions based ESA is £111.65 per week. Your partner working/savings/capital won't affect this. To find out which one you're claiming then you can either check a latest award letter or ring ESA and ask.

    Housing benefit, this will depend on household income and for this you should use a benefits calculator.

    Your council tax reduction will also be affected because you'll lose the single person discount.

    If your partner wasn't working then they could be added to your ESA and you'll receive it as a couple. Again for this you should use a benefits calculator. Hope this helps.


    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.
  • mrbomrbo Member Posts: 8 Listener
    Hi Poppy 
    Thank you for your reply. It would seem that things aren't as clear cut as I imagined (as if they would be!) and your answer raises a few additional questions.

    When I originally applied for ESA I was informed that I would be put on CB ESA. Some months later after receiving a PIPS award I was informed that I may qualify for severe disability payments, which was the case.To my knowledge at no time was I informed that the basis of my ESA had changed from CB to IR. So the other day when I spoke to my local council about housing benefit and then subsequently the DWP, I was surprised to be told by both that I was on IR ESA. In fact I mentioned to the DWP that all letters from DWP advising of increases in payment stated 'The payment of Emplyment and Support Allowance is based on your National Insurance Contributions records and any additional amount the law says you need to live on'

    None of their letters specifically makes it clear what type of ESA I am actually on, so I will write to them to clarify (on official matters I find telephone calls are never reliable and are often denied....did I mention I'm very cynical?)

    When you mentioning losing the income related top up, what do you mean by 'premiums'....my severe disability payments?

    It will be interesting to see what the DWP reply is as I was verbally told I would go back to Contribution Based ESA, which you say can't happen.

    Thanks for your imput and reminder of council tax....I'll try and let you know what happens.





  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    Did you work and pay NI contributions in the 2 years before your ESA claim started? If you did then it's likely that you are claiming CB with an income related top up (both premiums will be the income related top up)

    When i said you can't go back onto CB ESA this is only possible if part of your ESA is CB. If it's all income related then it's impossible to claim CB.

    As for writing to them, this isn't the most reliable thing because they may not reply to you. My advice would be to ring them, ask the question and then ask them to send you proof that part of your ESA is CB.
    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.
  • GeoarkGeoark Member, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,373 Disability Gamechanger
    I have always found @poppy123456 advice to be sound, plus I would not be able to begin to answer your question.

    What I can say is that if your future wife is working once you are married you can contact the tax office and arrange for £1,250 of your personal tax allowance to be transferred to your wife as you don't work. You can find out more at https://www.gov.uk/marriage-allowance It is not a lot in the grand scheme of things, but every little can help.

    As an individual I stood alone.
    As a member of a group I did things.
    As part of a community I helped to create change!

  • mrbomrbo Member Posts: 8 Listener
    edited May 2019
    Hi Poppy....thanks again for your reply. Yes, I paid self employed NI in with my tax for the last 20 years or so. I will have to see what they reply as I haven't queried them on the exact specifics of my ESA....they just recently told me that it's IR, so I'll have to await their answer.
    Excuse my ignorance but what do you mean by 'premiums'???.... it's just that I've never heard or come across the term in relation to ESA
    Maybe I'll do as you say and phone them firstly, it's just that when it comes to important decisions people have a habit whether deliberate or not of giving incorrect answers and then denying the answer or advice given. As I say....life has left me somewhat cynical.
    I'm just trying to make the best decision I can with regards benefits and work, but feel I can only do that with the relevant complete information.

    Anyway thanks again, I'll update when I have a specific reply.
  • mrbomrbo Member Posts: 8 Listener
    HI Geoark....thanks for your imput....interesting point!
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    The premiums are the severe disability premium (£65.85 per week) and the Enhanced disability premium (£16.80 per week) They are both part of Income Related. Explained here in this link.  https://www.gov.uk/disability-premiums-income-support/what-youll-get

    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.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    As a community champion here on scope i wouldn't give anyone any advice unless i was absolutely sure it's correct.
    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.
  • mrbomrbo Member Posts: 8 Listener
    edited May 2019
    Hi Poppy
    Ah....I thought that maybe what you meant but thought I'd ask to make sure....thanks
    Yes I was informed that if I was put on CB ESA which they said is what would happen, I would lose those enhancements, but I just read that a partners income does not affect CB ESA, whereas it does on IR ESA. So assumably if I can go back on onto contribution based ESA I would as a maximum only lose my premiums but no more, irrespective of what my partner earnt?? Is that correct?

    Please don't misunderstand me, my comment about the trust worthy element of people's reply in this case was directed at what DWP may tell me verbally rather than any statement you have made. I just wanted to make that clear.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    You can only go back onto CB ESA if part of your current claim is CB. If it's all Income related then you could potentially lose all of it.

    If part of your claim is CB then savings/capital and your partner working will not affect this. CB ESA Support Group is £111.85 per week and is payable for as long as you remain in the Support Group. The premiums you receive (£85.65 per week) would be lost. Hope this helps.
    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.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    Please note that it's the 2 years prior to your ESA claim that counts for NI contributions (not tax) and not the 20 years. So if you didn't pay the correct amount of NI contributions in the previous 2 years prior to your ESA claim then it's highly likely that you will be claiming just Income related.

    DWP have a very strange way of wording these letters and a lot of people struggle to understand them. You could also take your ESA award letter to an advice agency near you for face to face advice.
    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.
  • mrbomrbo Member Posts: 8 Listener
    Yes thank you Poppy....that's sort of how I thought it worked. So CB ESA is theoretically better if you have a working partner as you will not lose any more than £320/350 odd a month as a result....ie the premiums. Whereas with IR if your partner were on good money you could effectively lose the lot. This I believe answers the crux of the matter, the point I was trying to get to/understand, namely under what ESA it is potentially worth a partner working if at all.
    I just hope they don't deny that I was ever on CB ESA or say that I am completely on IR as the potential difference in circumstances is substantial! !....I'll have to wait till Tuesday to phone them and I'll let you know what they say.
    Thanks again for your help and patience
  • mrbomrbo Member Posts: 8 Listener
    Just to clarify what i meant, under the self employed tax system for a number of years now, they've made you pay your NI in full as part of your tax return rather than pay a basic stamp each month and then pay the balance with your tax thus theoretically you should never be behind if you did your return correctly..the point being my NI was up to date for several years before the claim and the guy who dealt with the original claim recommended at the time that I ought to claim on CB basis as I qualified.
    I'll take on board your advice about local agencies once I get a reply....thanks
    Ps...I'm intrigued, what's the reference to Brian Blessed under your user name??
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    All ESA decision letters say this, which ever one you claim... the payment of ESA is based on your NI contribution records and any additional amount the law says you need to live on. That's what is says on mine.

    On the first page of my award letter it also says this..... This assessment is based on how much the law says you need to live on. You have not been paid or credited with enough NI contributions for them to be used in this assessment. This means all my ESA is Income related. If you have all of your award letter it will tell you exactly what you're claiming somewhere in there.

    When you first claim ESA they will always your if you're eligible for Contributions based first, if you're not then it's income related.

    Quite a minefield to get your head around really... as is always the case with benefits. Please check your award letter carefully.
    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.
  • mrbomrbo Member Posts: 8 Listener
    I have to admit that whilst I have a file on all my ESA letters on change of payments, I don't recall having ever seen an award letter as such. I do however have a letter telling me that the contributory element of ESA can count as Taxable Income and quoting how much of my Total Allowance is Taxable. As the taxable amount is virtually all of the total allowance paid, I can only assume that most if not all of my ESA is made up of the Contributory ESA and not income related.....time will confirm.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    It's impossible for all of your ESA to be contributions based because the premiums are income related not contributions based. Contributions based ESA is £111.85 per week. Anything over that and it's Income related or Contributions based with an income related top up. The letters with breakdowns of how much you receive should tell you somewhere in there if part of your ESA is contributions based...they are not award letters as such.
    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.
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