Returning to support group, after daring to earn more than minimum wage — Scope | Disability forum
Find out how to let us know if you're concerned about another member's safety.

Returning to support group, after daring to earn more than minimum wage

feeney Member Posts: 9 Listener
I was in ESA Support Group but saw a job with a charity, home based for 14 hours, that i thought would help my community, and my self worth.  I started the job, told DWP and then realised that as I was earning over minimum wage my benefit would be stopped.  Thinking self worth was worth more i continued the work. Now the funding for the charity is stopping and i am looking at redundancy.  Where do i now stand?


  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 29,707 Disability Gamechanger

    It's not clear whether you're still claiming ESA and doing permitted work or whether you no longer claim ESA because your earnings were higher than permitted work earnings which meant your ESA stopped.

    If it stopped will you be looking for work after your redundancy?

    More information is needed to be able to help you further.
  • feeney
    feeney Member Posts: 9 Listener
    Esa stopped due to earnings being too high, but i would like to be able to claim it again whilst looking for the right job...
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 29,707 Disability Gamechanger
    If you are looking for work then ESA isn't the correct benefit for you. New claims for the old Income related ESA are no longer possible unless you're claiming a severe disability premium in with another benefit.

    If you've paid enough NI Contributions from working in the tax years April 2017 to March 2019 then New style JSA would be the benefit to claim, as you're looking for work.

    If you haven't paid enough NI Contributions then it will be Universal Credit that you'll need to claim but claiming this will depend on your circumstances. As it's a means tested benefit, if you live with a partner then you'll need to claim as a couple. Whether you're entitled to anything will depend on earnings.  If you have savings of more than £6.000 but less than £16.000 then your UC will be reduced. Savings of more than £16.000 and you won't be entitled to claim UC.

    A visit to a local advice agency is advised and they will do a full benefits check for you based on your circumstances.
  • feeney
    feeney Member Posts: 9 Listener
    Is this relevant to the support group that i was in? I would be looking for a few hours only, if any...
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 29,707 Disability Gamechanger
    Your ESA claim has now ended and you will no longer be able to return to the support group because that claim no longer exists. New claims for the old ESA are no longer possible.
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 29,707 Disability Gamechanger
    If you can only do some hours because of a disability then maybe Universal Credit is better for you. If you have a limited capability for work and are working less than 16 hours per week then you'll need to send in sick notes from your GP to start the limited capability for work process off for Universal Credit.

    A visit to your local advice centre is the best thing to do because they will give you the correct advice based on your circumstances. It's difficult to advise without knowing all of your details.
  • LouiseH
    LouiseH Member Posts: 96 Courageous
    Hi @feeney There's a Scope benefits checker which might help if you still need it. I've added the link below

    Hope this helps. 
    Louise Hesketh
    Community Champion
  • BenefitsTrainingCo
    BenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,622 Pioneering
    Do you still get any housing benefit? If you do, and you meet the conditions for a severe disability premium, then it is still possible to make a new claim for the same type of ESA you were on before. Otherwise, as Poppy has explained, you can't return to the same type of ESA you were on before, though it might be possible to claim 'new style' ESA depending on your national insurance record.

    The severe disability premium (SDP) is when you get PIP daily living or DLA middle or higher rate care component, you live alone (or with other adults that don't prevent you getting the premium, such as joint tenants or other people on a qualifying disability benefit), and no one receives carer's allowance or UC carer element for you. If that's the case and you get housing benefit, then it should include an SDP, even if it isn't obvious that it does (it will be part of your HB calculation).

    I know you are looking for work, but even so, it's possible you can still have limited capability for work. In ESA, the permitted work rules would apply (the earnings threshold is currently £131.50 a week, so you can't earn more than that without ESA stopping). In Universal Credit, there is no permitted work threshold, you can work and have limited capability for work but there are issues to do with working because it can sometimes stop you from being assessed (but not if you get PIP/DLA)

    I think probably from what you say contribution-based JSA isn't the right option, as although you can limit the number of hours you are looking for, it may not be flexible enough for your situation. I think it probably would be better overall to go for a benefit where you submit sick notes and have a work capability assessment (eg ESA and/or UC), though it is up to you overall, of course.

    The other issue is that even if you claimed contribution-based JSA or contributory ESA, you might still have to claim Universal Credit as well, for example, if you have rent to pay. 

    I'd suggest that the first thing is to check whether you get housing benefit which includes an SDP, as in this case, you can return to the 'old' system and claim 'old style' ESA once you stop work or reduce your pay to below the permitted work threshold - this means you would not claim Universal Credit for now.

    Anyway as Poppy has already said, it's best to contact a local advice agency because all this is very complicated and it's important to get advice which helps you consider your options. If your work isn't stopping immediately then you've got a bit of time to do this and I'd strongly recommend in-person telephone or face to face advice.

    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • feeney
    feeney Member Posts: 9 Listener
    Thanks for all of the advice Will, Louise and Poppy, much appreciated. 


Complete our feedback form and tell us how we can make the community better.

Do you need advice on your energy costs?

Scope’s Disability Energy Support service is open to any disabled household in England or Wales in which one or more disabled people live. You can get free advice from an expert adviser on managing energy debt, switching tariffs, contacting your supplier and more. Find out more information by visiting our
Disability Energy Support webpage.