Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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Will I be migrated to UC from ESA? How about new style ESA?

Hi folks.  So I'm very confused about the state of disability benefits.  I'm getting ESA and am in the support group.  I don't get any IR topups because my spouse who lives with me has NRPF.  We've had a daughter so I'll be telling the DWP.  Will this change in circumstances mean I will be put on Universal Credit?  I really don't want to go on UC as it seems horribly restrictive.  Eg, if either me or my other half gets an asset inheritence of any value, I'll have no income aside from PIP.  Or if she begins work it could potentially mean she will have to support me financially as my benefits would be cut through no fault of my own.  This is unjust as I would work if I could just like anyone else on esa.  Would I be able to go onto new style ESA?  Any advice appreciated. Thanks.


  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    HI and welcome,

    Im one of the community champions here on scope and i'm here to help and advise others.

    I have no idea what NRPF is, sorry BUT as you're claiming Contributions based ESA then this isn't part of UC and you will remain on this. There's no need to tell DWP about the birth of your daughter because the ESA is your claim, in your name.

    The only time you will need to apply for UC in the future is if you need to claim for help with your rent, or if you need to claim benefits for your daughter. This is because new claims for tax credits and housing benefit are no longer possible, except for the exception of those who currently claim a severe disability premium in with another benefit.

    Child benefit isn't part of UC and needs to be claimed from HMRC.

    If you did need to claim UC at any point in the future then your CB ESA award will just be transferred to UC and you'll be given the LCWRA element but your ESA amount will be deducted from your UC claim £1 for £1. The ESA itself will continue to be paid. The only time your ESA will stop is if you were found fit for work, or placed into the WRAG once re-assessed, which will mean that you'll be time limited to 365 days.

    Hope this helps put your mind at rest.
    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.
  • johndoejohndoe Member Posts: 2 Listener
    Hi poppy, thank you for your reply.

    NRPF stands for no recourse to public funds (sorry should have mentioned that) - my wife's in the UK on a spouse visa which stipulates she cannot get public funds.  This is why my ESA couldn't be assessed as a couple's rate or for IR entitlement.  I was getting IR ESA before we started living together, but when I told the DWP the decision maker explained I can only get single claimant rate.

    Am I correct in understanding that if in the future I do need to claim UC, my ESA support group entitlement will still be paid as ESA and it will be contribution based (not taking assets/savings/income into account)?  I thought UC was being introduced to do away with ESA.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    No problem. Thanks for that.

    You will need to check for curtain exactly what your ESA claim is because if it's all Income Related then when they do start moving people across to UC then your ESA claim will end and you will be transferred to UC. Your ESA award will be honoured in UC and you'll be placed into the relevant group.

    IF your wife does start working then again you will need to check with DWP what ESA you're claiming because if it is Income Related then even though she's not entitled to public funds, if she works then this will affect any ESA you're entitled to because you are living together and classed as a couple for all means tested benefits. The same as any savings/capital you both have, it will affect the amount of ESA you're entitled to.

    IF you're claim is Contributions based with an Income related top up then the CB based will not be transferred to ESA (£111.65 per week) you will still be transferred to UC for the Income related top up, if you're entitled to it in the future. Also any savings/capital and your wife working in the future will not affect the CB ESA part, if you claim this.

    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.
  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Testing team Posts: 8,008

    Scope community team

    edited January 2020
    Hi @johndoe

    Just to reiterate what Poppy said, the birth of your daughter isn't a change that triggers a switch to UC. However, if you'd like to claim any benefits for her (with the exception of child benefit at £20.70 per week for a first child) you would have to switch to UC to do so.

    As your partner has No Recourse for Public Funds, on Universal Credit you'll receive the single allowance (rather than couple) but as you said, any wages they may earn would affect your entitlement.

    However, if your ESA is contribution-based, this will continue and be converted to New Style ESA alongside UC and then be deducted from your UC.

    If your partner was to start work or claim a large inheritance, your UC (including the child element) may reduce to zero but your NS ESA would continue.
    Community Manager
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