Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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ESA backpayment split into under 5ks, does it still count as "over 5k"? Does it count to HB?

Hello everyone in my scared googling I came across this forum and was wondering if anyone would know and could put my mind at ease.

I was owed over a large sum in severe disability that should have been payed to me and was told this morning as it's over £5,000, the 1 year of it not counting as savings didn't apply and it lasted the length of my claim - this was great news, especially with things how they are right now.

Two things I'm worried about:
First: the internet and people on the phone before have told me that it doesn't count as savings for any means tested benefit (including housing benefit), however the lady on the phone I talked to just now really put the fear in me saying only ESA didn't count it, but housing would. Googling found me this post https://community.scope.org.uk/discussion/53022/esa-lump-sum-of-arrears-been-received-do-i-have-to-declare-it-to-housing-benefit which seemed reassuring, linking to legislation I don't really understand but seems to support it http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2018/932/made is this the case?

Second thing: That seemed to be the only issue, but then I read the last post here https://community.scope.org.uk/discussion/55374/esa-backpay-re-contribution-to-income-doesnt-affect-council-tax-housing-benefit saying that "I have been told by somebody working in law, that although they are supposed to ignore payments over £5k for the lifetime of your claim, if they split the bigger amount owed, into smaller amounts of £5k or less, then you have the normal 365 days to use the money." Is this true? Mine was split into multiple payments of just over £4,000 that all came into my account together and was not told on the phone I'm owed X amount of £4k, but that I was owed the lump sum and possibly it would be made it smaller payments all together .If this is true could I argue foul play and they take it back and issue it as the full amount? I'm unsure if the lady I spoke to who said it was except for the duration of the claim was aware of how it was issued, but surely it would be on the system...

I'm waiting for a call back from the department that deals with backpayments but the ESA lady I spoke to really put the fear into me telling me yes it will count to housing benefit and was very reluctant to even request that department call me back as she was convinced she knew it all, even though she told me twice it only counted exempt for a year twice, even with the note on the system before changing her tune a bit.

Really hoping both aren't true, or this really isn't fair and the level of anxiety it's causing is unreal.

Thank you for any insight, hopefully someone will know for sure on one of both and hope you're all keeping safe! 

Replies

  • wilkowilko Member Posts: 2,355 Disability Gamechanger
    hello, my advice is contact your council who provide your housing benefits and ask enquire what their rules are regarding back payments, savings or additional income. What I do know is that having additional income while claiming or receiving ESA income related the additional income can remove that part of the benefit so you will only be getting Contributtry ESA. I was in a similar situation as do I claim my private pension, having talked to the housing benefits office who suggested talking with DWP reference ESA who after doing the sums informed me I would lose all my income based ESA and thus all housing and council tax benefits about £8000 per this year plus having then to pay the rent and council tax myself. After doing the sums I would be £120 a month short. Speak first to housing benefits office then DWP , most importantly do your sums several times .
  • hellohello44hellohello44 Member Posts: 4 Listener
    Thanks for your reply Wilko - luckily they got back to me pretty fast and put my worries at ease, but I still asked them to send it in writing. Seems I'm fine until they can put me onto universal credit, but who knows when that will be - then it's timed again. 
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    Unless a change of circumstances prompts a move to UC then it could be 2023 and possibly later than that now before you're invited to apply.
    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.
  • hellohello44hellohello44 Member Posts: 4 Listener
    That's reassuring, thank you - it seems severe disability is the only thing that can stop the change for now. Avoiding that for as long as I can.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    If you claim SDP then you're excluded from claiming UC until January 2021. After that time, some changes of circumstances will prompt a move across.
    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.
  • hellohello44hellohello44 Member Posts: 4 Listener
    Oh no, my 'until end of claim' could count for little then as as changing to UC would make the year counter start up. Thanks for letting me know, the lady on the phone said it wouldn't be for years and years likely at the earliest but now I'll look more.
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