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Permitted work and appeal

Hi everyone- this is my first post. I am on ESA and due to have an appeal - not linked with proving disability, but because the DWP suddenly decided that my previously allowed expenses were suddenly not allowed. It makes no sense and I have my accountant, local councillors, my MP and my doctors  all agreeing that it is ridiculous (I am self employed and work around 3-4 hours per week as and when I can leave the house). Their unfair calculations pushes me over the permitted work limit of £131.50pw by £20 pw. I am contesting it, but my question is- what if I lose my appeal? I get severe disability premium, so I cannot apply for Universal Credit. I don't do enough hours to get working tax credit. And I can't get Job Seekers as I am so severely disabled. I get the top rates of PIP and was in the support group. You'd think they would have better things to do than to hound me (us). I do what is asked of me and then they change the rules without telling me. Anyway, if I do not succeed with the appeal, what do I do then? I have had no ESA since the start of August, and they won't give me any in the interim as they say I am earning more than £131.50 pw. What should I do? Also if I do not win, they may try and backdate it to April 2019 and make me pay back the ESA I received from April-August.  I've also just been told that the appeal will take A YEAR to happen. I can't survive like this for a year when I can barely leave the house. My Dad died 2 days ago and I really don't think I can take much more. Thanks for any advice.
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Comments

  • hdeakin
    hdeakin Member Posts: 126 Pioneering
    Hi @lemonbade, I am so sorry to hear about the situation you are in. I send my deepest condolences about your Dad too. I hope someone on here can help you or give you some advice. Have you tried speaking to the CAB or disability rights UK? I wish I could help more. I have my fingers crossed for you. Best wishes, Hannah 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,924 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi,

    I'm sorry to hear your sad news.

    Unfortunately, waiting times for Tribunals are huge and yes it could be in excess of 1 year before your hearing date. To answer your question, if you lose then yes they could make you repay your ESA from April to August.

    Your only options are either stop working and go back onto ESA or continue working without the ESA. JSA won't be an option at all because your earnings will be too high to claim it because permitted work doesn't exist on JSA.

    Are you getting some help from a local advice agency near you, like welfare right?
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,924 Disability Gamechanger
    edited October 2019
    I note that you're self employed, this means that you could actually claim working tax credits because even though you're only working 3-4 hours per week, you're earning more than than the NMW if you were working at least 16 hours per week. See this link. https://revenuebenefits.org.uk/tax-credits/guidance/how-do-tax-credits-work/self-employed/

    Are you claiming housing benefit? If so has this decreased as well as your ESA stopping?

  • lemonbade
    lemonbade Member Posts: 22 Listener
    Thanks for your reply poppy. I am now getting some housing benefit, but my severe disability premium has vanished in their calculations in order to get it. Plus my council tax bill as doubled, as I'm no longer on ESA, but instead "self-employed". My city council have a blanket rule that states that if you are self-employed you therefore earn £268 pw. Obviously, I don't earn that- as I've been told I earn £155! So I am being treated like I earn a lot more than I do. My problem is that ESA say I am working 3-4 hours per week and I can't then say I'm doing more than 16- unless they count the preparation/planning hours I do which are not paid in themselves. 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,924 Disability Gamechanger
    If the SDP has gone from your housing benefit claim then this means you're no longer claiming it because your ESA has stopped. This means that you can't claim working tax credits BUT you can claim Universal Credit because of course you're no longer claiming any SDP.

    If you claim UC then because it's been more than 1 month since your ESA stopped then you'll need to provide fit notes from your GP to claim limited capability for work. How much UC you'll be entitled to will totally depend on your circumstances. However, because you don't have LCW then there will be no work allowance, which means you'll be subject to the 63% deductions with your earnings, which will reduce your UC monthly amount.

    Council tax reduction, i'm afraid all local councils have their own rules for this and i won't be able to give any advice.
  • lemonbade
    lemonbade Member Posts: 22 Listener
    Apparently I am still getting SDP- it appears in print on my housing benefit letter, and the working tax credit people were happy for me to claim and were satisfied that I receive it. So although I don't receive the SDP in money in real life, I do on paper if that makes any sense?! :smile:
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,924 Disability Gamechanger
    Yes, that makes perfect sense because you don't actually receive the money with housing benefit as such, it just increases your entitlement to housing benefit if you work.

    Oh, i see you're claiming tax credits, sorry i read it as you weren't claiming it because you thought you weren't working enough of hours to receive it, are you still receiving tax credits? If so then i'm unsure what your question is.
  • lemonbade
    lemonbade Member Posts: 22 Listener
    It’s complicated. I was told by ESA whilst waiting for the appeal I could claim tax credits. So I tried this and then decided not to claim as it would counter the hours I have told ESA that I do (less than 16). Citizens Advice agreed it would complicate everything and yet again cause more trouble. So I decided not to claim, didn’t send in the paperwork they asked for and let the 28 days expire. THEN I received a WTC payment which I’ve been trying to get them to take back ever since. They have stopped my claim so I won’t receive any more money from them. But I am still trying to give them the money back they sent me in error. I didn’t ask to claim WTC and they should never have pushed the claim through without the documents they asked me for. So, I’m not claiming WTC. I get some housing benefit and council tax bill has doubled. No ESA. So that’s where I am! 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,924 Disability Gamechanger
    The hours don't count for tax credit when you're self employed it's the money you earn that counts, which is why you were allowed to claim it. As you're earning £155 per week and only working 3-4 hours this is more than national minimum wage x 16. I think you've been given bad advice by your local CAB not to claim tax credits. Please read the link i posted above.

    If you still decide not to claim the tax credits than unfortunately your only other options are to carry on working and claim what you're already claiming or stop working and go back onto ESA.

    As advised, local councils have their own rules for council tax reduction so i can't advise on that.
  • lemonbade
    lemonbade Member Posts: 22 Listener
    Thanks for your help with this. When I first phoned WTC they said that I had to be in receipt of SDP to claim, and I also had to be working for 16 hours or more. I explained that I did very few contact hours but my prep hours towards that work probably did come to 16 but that I’d need to work it out. They were very specific that I’d need to be doing 16+ hours. D’you think this was wrong? 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,924 Disability Gamechanger
    No problem.

    You are self employed so that doesn't apply to you, based on the money you earn that's more than NMW x16 hours. You were also awarded the tax credits but chose to end the claim, i'm not sure why you did that.
  • lemonbade
    lemonbade Member Posts: 22 Listener
    Well to get Esa I have to say I’m doing less than 16 and to get WTC they insisted I had to be doing more than 16, and I didn’t want to muddy waters and create more problems by claiming both. I’ll phone WTC on Monday and check that out, shall I? 
  • lemonbade
    lemonbade Member Posts: 22 Listener
    https://www.turn2us.org.uk/Benefit-guides/Self-employment-and-benefits/Can-I-get-self-employed-tax-credits
    Please check out the link and scroll down. It still says self employed disabled people getting SDP must be working 16 hours. 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,924 Disability Gamechanger
    You're not understanding it, the money you earn will qualify you for WTC which is why they accepted your claim in the first place and received a payment from them. Self employed people are different to those that work for an employer.

    At the moment you're not claiming ESA because you were earning more than the permitted work allowed each week, which is why it stopped. As you're not claiming ESA then WTC is what you need to claim because you're claiming SDP in with your housing benefit calculation. I still don't understand why you canceled your WTC claim when they accepted it and paid you a monthly payment.
  • lemonbade
    lemonbade Member Posts: 22 Listener
    Because it meant that to one I was saying I did under 16 and to the other over 16. Citizens Advice said this- you can’t claim to be doing both so stick with ESA whilst waiting for the appeal. 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,924 Disability Gamechanger
    I'm sorry but i disagree because they are both different benefit with different criteria. For the ESA permitted work you were working less than 16 hours but earning more than the maximum amount allowed.
  • lemonbade
    lemonbade Member Posts: 22 Listener
    I’ll phone WTC on Monday. Please could you write me a clear question that I can ask them so they can give me a clear answer?
    i really appreciate your advice on this! It’s all so complicated. 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,924 Disability Gamechanger
    You're welcome. I'm sorry but i don't understand what you mean by "could you write me a clear question that I can ask them so they can give me a clear answer?"
  • lemonbade
    lemonbade Member Posts: 22 Listener
    As you say, I’m still not getting it! It’s too complicated for my little brain! Hence coming on here 🙃 So I want to phone WTC or ESA and find out what I’m allowed to do and hear it from the horses mouth. So I need a succinct question to ask them. Don’t worry, I’ll think of something. 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,924 Disability Gamechanger
    edited October 2019
    You don't need to ring ESA/DWP because you're no longer claiming this because you're waiting for the Tribunal hearing which could be in excess of 1 year. DWP are most certainly not the people to ring to ask for any advice.

    You need to ring HMRC and claim working tax credits and tell them that you're self employed and that you're claiming SDP, just like you did when you claimed it previously.
  • lemonbade
    lemonbade Member Posts: 22 Listener
    I just don't want to get into any trouble for saying conflicting things re. the 16 hours. Why would ESA/DWP not be helpful in this instance? Also my ESA is on hold- paused, waiting for the appeal. So I if in the meantime were to work 16 hours, or earn over £131.50 and I then won my appeal, I would not be able to get ESA backdated as I would have broken the rules.
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,924 Disability Gamechanger
    When ringing DWP the adviser on the phone mostly read from a screen and they are seriously not the best people to ring for any advice regarding benefits. I can't tell you the amount of stories i've read where they've been given the worst advice i've ever heard.

    You seem to be contradicting yourself here because you said you were earning £155 per week, which is more than £20 per week over the maximum amount allowed to earn for permitted work and now you're saying you're reluctant to claim tax credits because you'll be saying you're earning more than £131.50 per week but you do anyway.

    You came to ask for advice on what you could claim and i have given you that advice.
  • lemonbade
    lemonbade Member Posts: 22 Listener
    After my self-employed expenses I earn very little. The VEP section of ESA decided to disallow loads of standard expenses that the Inland Revenue/my  accountant say are fine. That's how the permitted level of £131.50pw was pushed over. After expenses I don't even earn £131.50 after expenses. Hence my appeal. Thanks for your advice. 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,924 Disability Gamechanger
    No problem. What is classed as expenses for tax purposes could very well be different to what DWP class as expenses for permitted work.

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