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Yet another query...!

Kyah_Ridgeback Member Posts: 10 Listener
Hello, I posted the other day about working whilst on ESA. I've had to withdraw from the job as it has a 3 week, full time, paid training period prior to (what would have been) my normal working hours of 12 per week. I have since had another interview. The job is an office based admin role. It will be either 15 or 16 hours per week at £9.00 per hour (salary was not mentioned on the job advert and only divulged at interview). My queries are as follows:
1. What is the difference between permitted work and supported permitted work?
2. Can you work 16 hours per week whilst on ESA or does it have to be less (ie. 15.5 or fewer) 
3. If I were to accept the job at 15 hours per week, at £9.00 per hour that takes me over the £131.50 maximum - are there other benefits I would be eligible for to 'top up' my earnings as I'd obviously be taken off ESA. 
I find it really frustrating. I have bipolor disorder and was on ESA support group for a few years, felt better and went back to work at 26 hours per week so obviously closed my claim. Within 6 months I couldn't cope with the number of hours, had a major relapse and ended up back on ESA. Fought DWP for 18 months and finally got put into the support group. I now feel able to start working a few hours a week but know from previous experience that 20-odd hours is too much to me. I am over qualified to be paid minimum wage so find it really degrading that DWP are essentially saying that's all I'm worth as we have to earn under the £131.50 a week limit which is minimum wage. I don't want to be on benefits my whole life (I've just turned 30) I want to get back into the workplace, build my confidence and get used to working again and then take on more hours and eventually come off benefit. I feel like they're making it so hard. I'm tempted to not bother and just sit on my **** and keep claiming as I'd be no better off going back to work. I fought DWP for 18 months to the day to get into the support group via tribunal. I don't want to take a job that means I have to close my claim to be in the same position as before and not able to cope, have to quit the job and claim benefit again and fight them for what I would be entitled to!
In short, I'd like to know whether if I took a job at 16 hours per week, at £9.00 per hour and had to close my claim for ESA would I be entitled to anything else to help me. I live with my mum so don't need/get any housing/council tax benefit. I mean purely help with income. Thanks for reading and I appreciate any help you may have.
P. S. I've tried to get in touch with CAB but there isn't one in my area to go and make an appointment and when I phone the automated message says they can't help with anything as there are no advisors in my area! Help! 


  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,877 Disability Gamechanger
    edited September 2019

    Permitted work and supported permitted work is the same thing and the same rules apply for the maximum you're allowed to earn each week. It's maximum of 16 hours, which means it has to be less than that and earn no more than £131.50 per week, any weeks you earn more than this and you're not entitled to any ESA.

    The only other option for you would be to claim Universal credit before starting work. Your ESA award will be honoured in UC and you'll receive the extra £336 per month (eventually) i say this because it's not always automatically transferred across. You'll also receive the standard allowance of £317 per month on top of that.

    As you have LCW then you'll also receive the higher work allowance because you don't claim for help with rent and for you this will be £503 per month. This means that you can earn this much money each assessment period before you start to receive any deductions in your UC payments. If you earn more than this then deductions will apply at 63p for every £1 over that amount.

    Of course you still need to be careful while working and claiming LCWRA because the same rules apply for permitted work. If the work you do contradicts the reasons why your claiming it then you can be re-assessed early and it can go against you when you're next re-assessed.

    A visit to your local advice agency maybe a good idea here. Or put all your details into a benefits calculator to see what you could claim under UC but UC is the only other benefit that's possible to claim now.

    Hope this helps.
  • Kyah_Ridgeback
    Kyah_Ridgeback Member Posts: 10 Listener
    I'm sorry I don't know what any of those abbreviations mean as I have had to have nothing to do with universal credit and what my entitlement would or wouldn't be on that. Why, if I am entitled to UC, am I on ESA when UC was rolled out BEFORE my claim started? And what other advice services are there? As I say, there's no CAB provision in my area. Thank you. 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,877 Disability Gamechanger
    LCW is limited capability for work. LCWRA is limited capability for work related activity. (support Group)

    Universal credit has replaced all means tested benefits. The reason why advised this, is because some people who claim UC are better off when they are working. Whether or not you'll be better off, i don't know but here's the calculations of what you will receive if you claimed UC.

    Standard allowance if you're over 25 is £317.82 per month.

    Standard allowance if under 25 is £251.77.

    LCWRA which is support group is £336.20 extra per month. Total amount if under 25 is £587.97 per month.

    If over 25 your total will be £654.02 per month.

    The work allowance as advised will be £503 per month which means you can earn this much money each month without it affecting your monthly payments. If you earn more than this then you will receive deductions in your UC amount. Whether you'll be any better off will totally depend on how much money you earn during the assessment period.

    This link will tell you what else is available for advice in your area.

  • Kyah_Ridgeback
    Kyah_Ridgeback Member Posts: 10 Listener
    Thank you so much. One final question... How long is an assessment period? Thank you.
    Oh and do I just ask to be moved over to UC? Thanks so much you're so helpful ♥ 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,877 Disability Gamechanger
    You're welcome. Before you claim UC then please put your details into a benefits calculator because you need to check that you'll be better off before claiming it. Some are, some aren't. I don't advise you to claim UC until you done this.

    Assessment periods last for 1 calendar month and it will depend on when you claim when your will be. Sometimes with UC it may work out that you'll receive 2 wages during your assessment period, if this happens then you won't receive any UC for that month.

    Claims are made online and you'll need to visit your local job centre for your first appointment.

  • Kyah_Ridgeback
    Kyah_Ridgeback Member Posts: 10 Listener
    And when I won my tribunal to be put into the support group DWP have agreed not to assess me again until 31 May 2021. What would that mean, if anything, for moving over to UC? 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,877 Disability Gamechanger
    That timescale doesn't mean anything at all i'm afraid, even if you remain on ESA. You can still be re-assessed anytime from 3 months. As advised, if you do work then you do need to be careful it doesn't contradict the reasons why you're in the Support Group.
  • Kyah_Ridgeback
    Kyah_Ridgeback Member Posts: 10 Listener
    I'm really sorry - I am being really stupid!
    I have used the benefits calculator you linked to and found I'd be better off on UC rather than ESA anyway, and especially if I took the job (16hrsp/w at £9p/h) as I'd still get some benefit entitlement plus the wages, whereas on ESA I'd lose the benefit completely and just have the wages.
    How would I know what reasons would contradict being in the support group? I was placed into it via tribunal because of regulation 35. I have bipolar disorder and anxiety. My main anxiety is being around new people, large groups of people, strangers etc. Also travelling, answering phone calls from people I don't know etc.
    This job is an admin role, in a small office with only 2 other people, less than a 5 minute drive from my house. It is all based on social media and email with no face to face and very seldom phone calls.
    Is there a way I can find out what DWPs opinion would be PRIOR to taking the job, and if they determined it contradicted the Support Group I just don't accept the job? Or would they then remove me from Support Group even if I didn't take the role, simply because I was thinking about doing so?
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,877 Disability Gamechanger
    edited September 2019
    Reg35 means at the time you had a substantial risk to your health and other peoples if you were found not have limited capability work work related activity. Whether working will go against that i really do not know, i'm afraid.

    They can't remove you from that group without another re-assessment but working could prompt an earlier re-assessment.

    The only way to find out is to get some face to face advice, use that link i posted above to see what's available in your area.

    If you decide not to take the job then nothing will happen.

  • Kyah_Ridgeback
    Kyah_Ridgeback Member Posts: 10 Listener
    I did, and unfortunately there is nothing in my area (other than Age UK!!) for anything to do with benefit or employment. I guess I'll just have to decline this job as well and remain on benefit for fear of being worse off financially for getting a job. Seems absolutely crazy to me, completely counter intuitive and doesn't give much encouragement to get off benefit and back into the workplace! Hey ho - no wonder the country's gone to the dogs! Thanks for you help anyway!
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,877 Disability Gamechanger
    It's extremely difficult to give any advice on whether it would go against you or not because no one on an internet forum knows exactly how your conditions affect you. Sometimes the internet isn't the place for advice and this is one of them. If i advised you to try it and it went against you then that would be awful so i'm afraid i won't give that advice.

    ESA and permitted work is really only there for you to "try" to see if working would suit you. The same as limited capability for work when claiming UC.

    I'm sorry i can't be of any further help. Whatever you decide to do i wish you good luck.


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