Is this a mistake from the DWP? — Scope | Disability forum
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Is this a mistake from the DWP?

Fionatolf
Fionatolf 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
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Comments

  • janer1967
    janer1967 Member Posts: 16,360 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
  • Fionatolf
    Fionatolf Member Posts: 17 Listener
    Thank you so much.
    It can be very confusing.
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 31,191 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.
  • Fionatolf
    Fionatolf 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
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 31,191 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.


  • Ails
    Ails Member Posts: 2,256 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.   :)
  • Fionatolf
    Fionatolf Member Posts: 17 Listener
    Thank you so very much.
    Regards
    Fiona
  • Ails
    Ails Member Posts: 2,256 Disability Gamechanger
    You are welcome @Fionatolf:smile:
    Winner of the Scope New Volunteer Award 2019.   :)
  • Fionatolf
    Fionatolf 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
  • Ails
    Ails Member Posts: 2,256 Disability Gamechanger
    Glad we could help @Fionatolf:smile:
    Winner of the Scope New Volunteer Award 2019.   :)
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 31,191 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.
  • Fionatolf
    Fionatolf 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.
  • Fionatolf
    Fionatolf 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 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 31,191 Disability Gamechanger
    edited February 2020
  • Fionatolf
    Fionatolf 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?

  • Fionatolf
    Fionatolf 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.
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 31,191 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.
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 31,191 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?
  • Fionatolf
    Fionatolf 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.

  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 31,191 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.

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