Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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Is this a mistake from the DWP?

FionatolfFionatolf Member Posts: 17 Listener
Can anybody advise.
I am claiming ESA contributions based so is my partner. We are in main phase in the support group
We both receive PIP i am on the enhanced for both components. My fiance is on the standard pip for both elements.
With the permitted work rules.
I understand only one of us can do permitted work before its classed as income.
So after discovering this. I ceased my permitted work in March 2019.
Our local authority presented us with a benefits overpayment that was £9,000 which they admitted partial blame for and halved it so I pay five pounds a week back to them.
My partner does permitted work he manages 11 hours and earns £86.
The ESA have added this as income to my claim and although it does not affect my money. Why is it on my claim and not on his.
Why is it used as an income when its permitted work and when I was doing permitted work before him they did not calculate my earnings or use them as income.
Is this a mistake with the DWP? Nobody at the DWP can give me a straight answer.

Also my son is 22. He is a student doing a degree from home.

He lives here and at his girlfriends home on and off.
As he is living here I cant claim the severe disability premium but I dont know how to explain this to him and I dont want him to feel upset I cant be awarded this premium just because he lives here for now.
Is there any literature available for him and what is the criteria for me being awarded the SDP on our claims.
Thank you

I hope someone can help me

Replies

  • janer1967janer1967 Community champion Posts: 7,278 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Fionatolf Hello and welcome to the community, I am a community champion here. I am sorry I am unable to offer any advise I just wanted to welcome you. There are other champions who can advise on your query and I will tag thrm to ensure you get the correct advise. @poppy123456 can you offer your expert advise on tis
  • FionatolfFionatolf Member Posts: 17 Listener
    Thank you so much.
    It can be very confusing.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    edited February 2020
    Thanks @janer1967 for the tag,

    Hi and welcome @Fionatolf

    Your first question, permitted work. Your partner can do the permitted work and it won't affect either of your ESA claims. I'm a little confused about your question though because in one sentence you say it's not affecting your ESA and then in the next sentence you say it's being classed as income. It shouldn't affect either of your claims because it's permitted work earnings. Both of your ESA amounts should be £111.65 per week each.

    The SDP, unfortunately because your son is living with you and you're both claiming Contributions based ESA you won't be entitled to claim the SDP.

    To be entitled to the SDP you must live alone or be classed as living alone (no one over the age of 18 must be living with you) unless the also claim a qualify benefit such as PIP daily living or DLA mid/high rate care. So if your son was claiming a qualifying benefit then you maybe entitled to a small income related top up on your ESA. Hope this helps.
    Community champion and 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.
  • FionatolfFionatolf Member Posts: 17 Listener
    Hi.
    Yes that helps a great deal.
    They are clasing my partners permitted work as income on my ESA cont claim and only disregarding the first 20 pounds he earns.
    If I was doing the permitted work it would not be counted as income as I am the main claimant.
    They are deducting 86 pounds off my weekly allowance so I have just spoken to the DWP who said if my partner stops his permitted work I would be entitled to 177 a week but they deduct 196 which is his ESA and his permitted work earnings which leaves a minus so only pay me 111.50.
    Apparently if my partner stops his permitted work I would receive my full entitlement.
    I have used the benefits calculators and they all come out the same so as my partners disability has got worse he is struggling to do his permitted work so I think he should stop but dont want to loose money.
    Also my housing benefit and council tax benefits.
    I get a small deduction.
    Would this be a full deduction if the permitted work stopped or stay the same because my son lives here to study his degree although he has a student loan and does not work.
    This is becoming very complicated.
    I do apologise.
    I hope you can help us.
    Thank you
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    It's very complicated because you're both claiming Contributions based ESA. It sounds like you are claiming the income related top up on your ESA which means you're claiming this as a couple with your partner named on the claim, which is correct. As he's working and he's not the main claimant then they only disregard £20 of his earnings. Your thoughts on this are exactly correct. It means that you're only claiming the Contributions based amount because of the deductions so he's working for £20 per week, seems pointless working to be honest.

    The deductions for housing benefit will be because he's working not because of your son living with you. As you receive PIP then the non dependent deductions will not apply to you. So your partner not working could increase your housing benefit. Benefit calculators may not be useful here because of the Contributions based ESA your partner is claiming.


    Community champion and 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.
  • AilsAils Community champion Posts: 2,268 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Fionatolf and welcome to the Community.  It is nice to meet you.  I just wanted to welcome you to the forum also.  If there is anything we can help you with further then please just ask.  All the best.  :smile:
    Winner of the Scope New Volunteer Award 2019.   :)
  • FionatolfFionatolf Member Posts: 17 Listener
    Thank you so very much.
    Regards
    Fiona
  • AilsAils Community champion Posts: 2,268 Disability Gamechanger
    You are welcome @Fionatolf:smile:
    Winner of the Scope New Volunteer Award 2019.   :)
  • FionatolfFionatolf Member Posts: 17 Listener
    I have been helped out so much already.
    What has been taking me over a fortnight has been explained in less than an hour.
    Thank you all so very much.
    Kind regards
    Fiona
  • AilsAils Community champion Posts: 2,268 Disability Gamechanger
    Glad we could help @Fionatolf:smile:
    Winner of the Scope New Volunteer Award 2019.   :)
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    @Fionatolf i seen your message on my wall, thank you. I'm glad i was able to help you to understand. DWP are never the best people to ask for any advice like this because they mostly read from a screen and have little knowledge.

    Yes, he should just hand his notice in. If he's unable to work his notice then i'd advise him to speak to his GP to ask for a fit note to give to his employer, rather than having to work his notice.

    Once he's received his final pay then you'll be able to report the changes to DWP and your local council.
    Community champion and 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.
  • FionatolfFionatolf Member Posts: 17 Listener
    Poppy.
    Thank you again.
    I will get him to do this tomorrow as I assume my CB ESA will be adjusted from the £ 112 that I receive currently to the 177.50 which is my total income related amount that was having the permitted work deducted from.
    So with my disability income of 24.10  and support group component 38.55 along with the ESA living expenses which on my claim is £114 a week.
    They will adjust and give me 177.50 a week.
    I hope these figures seem correct to you.
    I do worry they will make another mistake and we will go along not knowing until benefit overpayments get landed on us.
    Thank you again so much.
  • FionatolfFionatolf Member Posts: 17 Listener
    I have just got off the phone to the DWP and they have said.
    If My partner stops his permitted work we will only be entitled to £111.50 a week in ESA a week.
    They deduct his ESA from mine and because contributions based ESA comes out as higher than income based they have to pay contribution based so I wont get 177.50 a week so it seems Joes permitted work is much needed to help us make ends meet despite him having a punctured second prolapsed disc.
    It seems I was wrong to beleive they would pay the 177.50.
    Were only entitled to 111 a week each so although they disregard the first 20 pound from the permitted work it still leaves 82 pounds in wages that he is allowed to earn and keep but its literally crippling him trying to earn it.
    I dont know what to do now.
    Seems they do apply a percentage of rent and council tax to be paid if doing permitted work or not.
    I am very worried because I am being given such conflicting advise.
    Each time I call the DWP they say something different every time.
    If I had acted on this assumption of ESA being increased and found out it is not going to be and my partner had handed in his notice. We would be in serious financial trouble.
    I dont understand why it is so complicated.
    Thank you again.
    Sorry to have to question again. I must get this right. I can not afford another benefit overpayment.
    Thanks so much 
    Fiona 
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    edited February 2020
    deleted.
    Community champion and 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.
  • FionatolfFionatolf Member Posts: 17 Listener
    That makes sense yes.
    Why though are they not allowing the 177.50 and deducting my partners ESA of 111.50 off then making my payments upto 111.50 as well. That is what we are currently awarded which I beleive is correct.
    However it contradicts the 177.50 that is worked out at the start.
    The man I just spoke to was in a hurry but said we would be worse off by 80 plus pounds a week if Joe stopped his permitted work as they deduct 20 off the 102 he earns but we keep the rest even though its taken off my entitlement when working out my claim.
    Can I send you a photo of my recent award breakdown?

  • FionatolfFionatolf Member Posts: 17 Listener
    I sent a copy on your direct wall.
    Can you see where it is confusing me or am I not reading it right.
    Thank you so much.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    Ok, i've seen that on my wall, which i'll delete in a couple of minutes.

    This is what i thought when i first advised you. The way they work it out is very very confusing but i can see what they've done.

    As you are both claiming Contributions based ESA in your own right, what they have done is assessed you for the income related top up and because the Contributions based ESA is classed as income, this means that you are not entitled to any income related top up at all, even if your partner wasn't working.

    The reason you're not entitled to any income related top up is because the contributions based ESA that you're both claiming comes to more than the amount the law says you need to live on, so it reduces the amount of ESA you're entitled to.

    They actually add it, then take it away, it's just another way of confusing people.

    If your partner wasn't claiming contributions based ESA in his own right then you would have even less per week to live off and it would only be £177.50 per week, where as at the moment you are receiving £223.30 per week between you.

    As you are also claiming Contributions based ESA then you won't be able to claim carers allowance because it's classed as an over lapping benefit and can't paid along side Contributions based ESA.

    I hope this helps you to understand it more and i'm sorry for the confusion.
    Community champion and 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
    May i also ask what the £9.000 overpayment was for? was it housing benefit? if so then why was there an overpayment?
    Community champion and 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.
  • FionatolfFionatolf Member Posts: 17 Listener
    Hi Poppy.
    Yes that all makes sense.
    So what is happening to the permitted work.
    If Joe has to stop it. Are we entitled to any more on our ESA as the benefit calculators have provided me with.
    Are we better off with Joe doing the permitted work because as he is imobile at the moment I cant see if we would loose out if he stopped it or if I would be awarded the 177.50 and would Joe receive 111.50 as well or would we both just get the 223.30 a week.
    The permitted work gives us some spare pennies but I stopped mine due to my health deteriorating and am seeking voluntary charity work to occupy my mind. where as Joe is a bit old school and feels he should be working but if I can show him we will manage because my ESA will change as the benefits calculators suggest and the DWP advised earlier but when I called back to double check was told no we would be down by 86 if Joe stopped his permitted work.
    Thanks Poppy so much.
    It is very confusing. We are a bit stuck as we have always worked until we had road traffic accidents.
    I just want to make sure I dont make a wrong decision and we end up struggling.
    Thank you for being so patient. I do suffer a learning difficulty but am gradually understanding.
    It is the permitted work that we dont know if its actually making any difference.
    The benefits calculators all give me a full housing benefit and tax benefit plus an income based ESA on top of our cont based ESA awards.
    Thank you again.
    I am very grateful.

  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    Again it's the way they have worked out the ESA because they assessed you for the income related top up and that's what is confusing you.

    Your partner doing permitted work won't affect your ESA at all because earnings from permitted work are disregarded completely, providing he doesn't earn more than £131.50 per week, which he doesn't. If he does permitted work or not you'll still be entitled to £111.65 per week each. This means that stopping the permitted work will mean you will be £86 per week worse off because he won't receive any wages.

    You can't claim any of the income related top up because you're contributions based ESA comes to more than the income related. If your son wasn't living at home then you would be entitled to claim an extra £50 per week on your ESA.

    Yes, you're right it's so very very confusing. You're very welcome, i have a lot of patience when it comes to helping others with the benefits system.

    The full housing benefit is correct because you won't receive any non dependent deductions because you're claiming PIP.
    Community champion and 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.
  • FionatolfFionatolf Member Posts: 17 Listener
    The 9,000 was due to us both doing permitted work while on the exact same claims as we are but although the DWP allowed us to both earn some extra. Our local authority do not.
    They only allow one person on a joint claim to do permitted work so our housing benefit award was still in place for over a year when they should have been charging us full rent and Council tax so they did the sums and said they overpaid us by 9,000 so I stopped my permitted work. Unfortunately I then also had to be made insolvent.
    This is why I am so very very cautious with everything now and any slight changes I am onto straight away to avoid things like that happening again.
    I hope that is clear for you.
    The goverment do not allow two people to do permitted work if they are a couple.
  • FionatolfFionatolf Member Posts: 17 Listener
    I fully understand now.
    So when my son moves out.what do I have to ask for that would top up our benefits.
    Is this the severe disability component per week for my partner and I or is the 50 from something else.
    You are extremely patient and understanding and extremely knowledgeable.
    I will be showing my friends our conversations to prove there is help out there and people who do care and understand the system.
    I have spoken to Joe. Were going to see how he goes but he has to be off work for the foreseeable future until we get an updated mri scan.
    We all only have one spine.
    It should be looked after with extra care.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    Yes indeed, you can both do permitted work because you're both claiming Contributions based ESA but i can understand why a local council wouldn't allow both, without it affecting your housing benefit.

    Yes when your son moves out you'll need to ask DWP about the SDP BUT you won't be entitled to the full amount because you're both claiming the contributions based ESA, which is more than you would be receiving if you were claiming ESA together as a couple. You will be paid the difference between what you're receiving now and the couples SDP added on, which will mean £50 per week.

    My daughter has a learning disability and i spend a lot of my time trying to explain very simple things to her and i've done this for most of her life, she's 19 now and this is why i have so much patience to explain things to others. Not always easy through text speak but i do get there eventually. Add that together with my benefit knowledge and it works well.

    I have a passion for helping others claim what they're entitled to. Claiming benefits myself for many years because of a disability and i what it feels like to feel confused and worried. Been there and wore the T shirt, so to speak. I did my research to help myself and now others that need it.

    Thanks for you kind words. Good luck to your partner what ever he decides to do but remember, health is far more important than anything else.
    Community champion and 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.
  • FionatolfFionatolf Member Posts: 17 Listener
    We are not awarded full housing benefit or council tax benefits either we get a deduction of 65% on the rent and 25% discount on our council tax.
    This I can only assume is correct as it was investigated after the benefit overpayment was raised.
    I only ever had full housing and tax benefits when I lived alone which I can understand.
    It is only right with our joint ESA claim they charge us some rent and council tax. I would rather pay my way.
    Our future though will change when my son eventually moves out. Thats why I like to know what can change when he does move out so I can be ahead of everything and not fall behind.
    The council however disregard Joes permitted work and use our income as the 170 plus the 111 I am not sure if that is even correct.
    Do you want to catch up on this tomorrow.
    You must have a cut off point Poppy.
    I am ever so grateful.
  • FionatolfFionatolf Member Posts: 17 Listener
    I now understand completely.
    We were advised to do individual claims as it worked out more for us both.
    Wow you are a true inspiration and I am so very grateful for all the advise on every topic we have covered.
    This has made everything clear and I can now relax knowing a load of forms will not be turning up.
    It was absolute chaos being switched to pip from dla. I was not awarded the mobility component I had been receiving for 9 years.
    I stuck it out and eventually won.
    I know how hard it is and the stigma attached still to people on benefits but they are tightening up the rules which is long over due.
    Poppy. Thank you again so much.
    I fully understand now and have read out your replies in an attempt to explain the system to my partner and my son.
    You have made everything easy to understand and the reasons why.
    I am relieved.
    Your daughter is a lucky lady.
    Not many parents go that extra mile anymore. Its such a shame.
    I support my sons decision to further educate himself I just wish he didnt have to rely on a student loan but he is happy studying and will be an asset one day in the work force.
    Many thanks again.
    I have no doubt I will be in touch again about something.
    Please keep up what you are doing.
    You are a wealth of knowledge and I thank you for your advise and patience.
    Kindest regards
    Fiona
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    edited February 2020
    Aww thank you for those lovely kind words, you have really made my day. People like yourself are just one of the reasons why i continue to spend my time here as a community champion advising other people, in this wonderful community.

    I really wouldn't worry too much about the student loan your son has, without the help of a student loan then we wouldn't have half as many students getting the qualifications they do. My eldest daughter is one of them. They need to be earning over a certain amount of income to start to repay it back.

    Your housing benefit, the way they are using the £170 calculation from your ESA is absolutely not correct. They shouldn't be using that because you're not receiving that amount of ESA. My advice is to take your ESA award letter to your local council and tell them that this is not the amount you're receiving, you are receiving £111.65 each per week. Your partner is not added onto your claim, this is just the way it's calculated because they have assessed you for the income related top up but you're not entitled to it because you're both claiming Contributions based. The permitted work is disregarded.

    May i ask if you're renting your home from housing association or privately renting? if it's housing association do you have any spare bedrooms?
    Community champion and 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.
  • FionatolfFionatolf Member Posts: 17 Listener
    Hi poppy.
    No its my local.council who house me.
    I had best inform them about the 111 payments.
    Why the DWP and Councils dont communicate is beyond me.
    They have a benefits section within the council.
    Its crazy.
    Thank you so much.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    DWP share information with local councils and vice versa but you should always report changes just incase. Hope you get it sorted because the deductions in your housing benefit really make no sense. I'm assuming they are aware that you claim PIP?
    Community champion and 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.
  • FionatolfFionatolf Member Posts: 17 Listener
    Yes they are aware of all our benefits and income.
    I just called and they only use two lots of 111 to award us some housing and council tax benefit.
    What still perplexed me is why on the ESA breakdown they use that 177.50 at the top. Then minus my partners ESA and permitted work and still award me cont based ESA.
    If he was not doing permitted work would they minus 111 of his Esa off the 177 of mine from the top of the page because that does leave a difference of 60 ish pounds. It is not laid out very well for me to grasp.
    In one sentence they are saying my entitlement is 177 then lower down they add Joes ESA and permitted work.
    Minus it off my 177 but ignore that totally and award me 111.
    If the permitted work was not on there and was not being earned. The calculation would be different but would their outcome be the same.
    I assume it would be.
    If I was awarded the 177 then Joe could stop doing his permitted work.
    Looks like he will have to struggle on with it.
    Thank you again Poppy.
  • FionatolfFionatolf Member Posts: 17 Listener
    How absolutely perfectly clear now you have made this for us.
    Why they make it so very complicated is beyond me.
    I have several friends all in dire situations with illness and  disabilities.
    They are petrified of starting the benefit process.
    I am going to forward them scopes forum so they can all ask their individual questions.
    One couple dear to me have split up because of a mental breakdown and they feel benefits have a bad stigma attached to them.
    I have explained it does not have to be forever just the duration of recovery.
    I am sure they will find your knowledge a real god send.
    I try to help but when I am struggling with my own entitlement its hard to be positive when helping my friends.
    Your decision to help others is such a commendable thing to do.
    I hope the community sit up and take note of the people you have helped and advised.
    Its a lifeline people are not aware of so I will be promoting scope and the forum on my social media as well as my close friends.
    Thank you Poopy.
    You are all very amazing people.
    I am eternally grateful.
    Kindest regards always.
    Fiona 
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