Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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Im really struggling with bedroom tax taking £30 a week out of my ESA

HartnsoulHartnsoul Member Posts: 8 Listener
Im new to this site and was interested to read comments from similar situations that help me to understand my ESA payments. Im really struggling with bedroom tax taking £30 a week out of my ESA and was looking for a full time job to get a decent income but employers don't want to know if Im honest about my health issues. I'm also concerned about coping full time with the time I spend in hospitals but part time I'll be no better off so I can't take it easy to start with. Im unable to afford or physically face packing up and leaving my home of the past 25 years and need to remain near to my elderly father plus theres no 1 bed homes in the area apart from the old folks home so downsizings near impossible. The councils already tried to find me a place and no success. The first year I had DHP towards my rent but the council expected me to get over my permanent condition within the year to return to work.and said I couldnt apply again for further help. Any advice welcome! 


  • Hart86Hart86 Member Posts: 394 Pioneering
    When I saw the title I was going to suggest DHP, annoying they’ve already ruled that out @Hartnsoul! How are you managing at the moment? Tbh though just because they said at the time you couldn’t apply again, doesn’t mean you can’t. It would be up to the decision maker once you apply to accept or decline - I’d try putting an application in anyway! 

    Have you considered getting a lodger? Or having your elderly father move in? Or maybe mutual exchange? There are always people looking to move to a bigger place. 

    Are you in receipt of pip or need a carer at all?
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger

    Unfortunately, DHP's aren't for long term solutions. Do you claim PIP or DLA?

    Are you able to do some work? Permitted work is a possibility and you can earn £131.50 maximum per week on top of your existing benefits without it affecting them. You must also work less than 16 hours per week.

    Do be aware though when doing this, if the work you do contradicts the reasons you're claiming ESA then you can be assessed early and it may go against you when then decision is made.

    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.
  • Hart86Hart86 Member Posts: 394 Pioneering
    Just to add, I wasn’t suggesting it as a long term solution but since she’s not got another plan at the moment it’s worth applying again while she figures out a solution. Doesn’t mean she’ll get it but worth a try! 

    Good to see we’re on the same wavelength with the pip/dla. 👍
    I didn’t think if permitted work though, good call thank you @poppy123456!
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    @Hart86 no worries. I didn't actually see your reply before i posted mine as i see we posted at the same time. Thanks also for the 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.
  • HartnsoulHartnsoul Member Posts: 8 Listener
    Thanks for your support guys, much appreciated. 
    I considered a lodger but on checking with our council re housing benefits, they will deduct £ for £ whatever rent I charge to cover the bedroom tax. This makes it difficult to include an amout towards my electric, gas & water bills, which they will undoubtedly increase plus Id lose my single persons tax allowance. Id need to charge sufficient to clear all the extras plus bedroom tax so its a no deal! Plus I need my peace & quiet and its only a small house full of my stuff I need help to shift and my son stays fairly often but only for daus at a time. His rooms still full of his stuff too! My dad wouldnt cope with the stairs here and he doesnt have room for me at his place. If he is ill and needs help I sleep on his settee but thats not ideal for a permanent option. I know he wont be around forever and I need to sort myself out independently. I did apply for pip but was turned down. The dwp said now theyve added the £16.40 disability allowance I am sufficiently disabled to reapply but another advisor said Im unlikely to be successful as they only see me when fit enough to attend and their tests are designed so theyd say Im fit, which I am at times, and unable to leave the house or in hospital at other times! I do voluntary work as a consultant which I've cut down due to health issues but they help a lot with lifts door to door. It keeps me mentally active and will help to fill the gap in my cv. I was afraid registering as disabled would prevent me from getting paid employment and the agencies have all dropped me so I have a one woman crusade now to find something I can do and earn a decent living from it. I just need an understanding employer and I'll be ok to do some work.
    Also I got dhp in my first year of illness as I was optimistic when I applied that it was a short term situation, not realising I would get worse. I didnt know I could earn anything on esa as housing benefits will always deduct any earnings. I tried to carry on working at first, thats why I gave up when I got worse and applied for dhp. Ive heard that not all councils charge bedroom tax, is that true? 
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    If you do permitted work while claiming ESA there will be no deduction from you housing benefit for the money you earn, providing it's no more than £131.50 per week. It confirms this in the link i posted above please have a read.

    Does the DWP know you do voluntary work? You really need to tell them if they don't. Even though it's not paid work it's still classed as permitted work.

    I'm not sure why you were advised that because you're claiming the disability premium in with your ESA that you're now sufficiently disabled to receive PIP, that's bad advice and not correct. The disability premium you receive is automatically paid to those in the Support Group claiming Income Related ESA.

    To be eligible for PIP it totally depends on how your conditions affect your ability to carry out daily activities based on the PIP descriptors. It's not about a diagnosis, or how disabled you are.

    You can no longer register as disabled because that doesn't exist anymore.

    If you live in a housing association property then all local councils charge bedroom tax if you have a spare room, unless you're over 60. If you privately rent then it doesn't apply. https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/benefits/how_to_deal_with_the_bedroom_tax

    Have you tried to re-apply for another DHP? it's always worth a try.

    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.
  • buzzerbuzzer Member Posts: 107 Pioneering
    edited June 2019
    If you get a family member to move in that should reduce the bedroom tax.
    Perhaps check with shelter about the amount of time your son is at home.

    Try & be kind to one another even if we may have different views. 

  • HartnsoulHartnsoul Member Posts: 8 Listener
    Thanks for your quick responses. 
    Apparently now the pension age has gone up the 'over 60' rule is replaced by 'working age'.
    I can't even get a bus pass, I tried when I couldn't get consent to renew my driving licence on health grounds. They said I need to be registered as disabled. Now Ive just discovered that because I can no linger get consent to renew my driving licence I can apply for a bus pass! I wish all the info was made clear when I first became 'disabled' or whatever I get classed as!

    I encountered the family member issue when my son came home between university terms. I waa honest with the housing benefits about when he was home, ie in summer hols, and it affected my housing & council tax benefit as I lost my single persons discount while he was expected to pay rent and council tax. He was already paying council tax where he was living as a student and didn't want to pay two councils and rent at 2 addresses. Eventually I spoke to my local mp about it who said my son can only have one address, either here or university, so it was easier to just pay the bedroom tax and keep him registered at his student address only. (There was me telling an mp honesty clearly doesnt pay!) The long delays in sorting out my housing benefit change each time he came home and again when he went back to uni got me in serious rent arrears resulting in eviction notices while my consultant was telling me to avoid stress. 

    I also informed the dwp all along about my voluntary work and they seem ok about it. At my dwp assessment I told them I wanted to continue it as it was good on my cv for finding a job although several hospital visits per year meant I had to reduce the frequency of attendance. 

    I didn't think Id get pip as I try to remain independent, I just need taxis to get door to door when Im too ill to walk far or get around on buses. Theres nothing that would qualify me for pip as far as I can see so I never reapplied. I thought the disability element on top of my esa was to cover any extra expenses like that? 
  • kevin52kevin52 Member Posts: 73 Courageous
    Move to Scotland !  Our gove ( The SNP ) Pay For Everyones B Tax In Scotland .
  • HartnsoulHartnsoul Member Posts: 8 Listener
    It's tempting! I don't know how they manage it, no bedroom tax, no prescription charges...
    Unfortunately the last time I visited Scotland I ended up in hospital there but they nearly killed me so Im def not impressed with their NHS! I was lucky with the weather, an unusually long heatwave for Scotland, but unlucky to be spending it sweltering in a hospital cubicle all week with no windows, one fan in the whole dept, and stuck to the bed. Fortunately they discharged me (with sepsis still spreading through me) so I could get vital care elsewhere before it got much worse. I ended up getting driven straight home and back in hospital after further heart failure caused by the sepsis where they treated me thoroughly. Not my best experience of Scotland! It does have its nicer parts though. 
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,007 Disability Gamechanger
    Whilst DHPs didn’t originate as a long term solution the fact is that that is what they’ve now become and the suggestion you can only get 1 for a year us unsustainable. You need to reapply; explain what has changed and challenge any reduced amount or refusal. You may want to get face to face advice on the latter.  
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