Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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Savings effects

TopkittenTopkitten Member Posts: 1,263 Pioneering
I have tried looking this up online and have become thoroughly confused. I have seen 2 upper savings limits (the point at which ESA stops) one of £16,000 and one of £23,000. Which of these is correct? I am also confused by my situation. When my mother died she left me some money which I knew would stop my ESA, so I informed the job center. After doing their jobsworth impression as they wouldn't take my word for it I had to prove I wasn't entitled by showing them a bank statement they finally agreed and told me my ESA would stop. However it didn't, well not completely. One of the extra benefits I get still continues and, when I queried it, I was told that it was correct. So, even though I have been told I don't get benefits any more I am still on income based ESA and in the Support Group but I only get this small extra benefit part of it. The paperwork is confusing but as far as I understand it I still get something because I worked for so many years. My savings are now down to around £23,000 because I have to live off them so the question is important, as is what do I do to get the benefit back once I drop below the upper limit.

There are other things though I don't know or understand. I am 63 so although ESA doesn't entitle me to free prescriptions any more being 63 does, What I don't know though is about the costs for Dental work and Eyesight issues (never bothered with a wig despite being almost bald).

To complicate matters for me is the fact that I have a degenerative condition and am now housebound and, at times, completely stuck in a recliner chair. I have no way, therefore, of taking information to the job canter to prove I need things and I am certainly not prepared to put bank statements through the postal system and, I was told, copies are not acceptable. Around 18 months ago I did receive a letter from them telling me I had to prove me spending amounts over £200 were valid but, due to my lack of mobility and the suffering my condition causes, I couldn't even collate my bank statements let alone break down reasons. I did telephone them and was told to take the statements in to them. When I explained I was housebound the woman mumbled something and put me on hold and then I got cut off. I didn't try again and have heard nothing since except to get 2 letters. The first said I would be taken off ESA altogether and, after I rang and told them I was housebound (argued more like) received a second stating nothing would change. I am now in a sort of limbo and didn't want to do anything else in case it rocked the boat and started more problems.

Any help would be appreciated.

TK
"I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell" - from Wrong side of heaven by Five Finger Death Punch.

Replies

  • wilkowilko Member Posts: 2,289 Disability Gamechanger
    I found this information from a posting from 2014. The savings figure will be different but principal about the same. With the inability to contact the DWP for hep or clarification on the figures tread carefully bound to be more information on the net.

    Infomation from 2014
    If you were actually on income-related ESA, and you have had savings of over 6K, then your ESA should have been reduced.
    If it has not, you have been overpaid.
    If you have had savings of over 16K at any time while being paid income-related ESA, your ESA should have stopped.
    Assuming that you saved from 0-20K over 4 years.
    First year end, you had 5K savings.
    Second year end, you had 10K savings, your ESA will be affected by 16 pounds a month.
    Third year end, you had 15K savings, your ESA will be reduced by 36 pounds.
    Shortly into the fourth year, you stop being entitled to ESA.

    You will have been overpaid by at least 8000 pounds or so (I haven't done the exact numbers).
    You will have failed to tell them about your savings changes, as they said you must on the initial application.
    8000 pounds is considerably over the threshold for criminal prosecution.

    You need to contact them, and offer to pay it all back, due to your oversight.

    Otherwise, they can criminally prosecute you, and then follow on with a confiscation of assets procedure, in which they can do things they normally would not be able to to recover assets - such as selling your only house. 

  • wilkowilko Member Posts: 2,289 Disability Gamechanger

    @Topkitten, just found some more information 

    you’re saving money, the amount you have saved can affect the benefits you can claim.

    If you’re under pension age, the first £6,000 of your savings and investments will not affect any of your benefits. If you are in a residential home, this amount increases to £10,000. 

    Which benefits can be affected?

    The following benefits can be affected depending on your savings:

    • Income Support 
    • Income based Job Seekers Allowance (JSA)
    • Income based Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
    • Universal Credit
    • Housing Benefit 
    • Council tax support

    If you have more than £16,000 in savings, you will not be entitled to any of the above benefits. If you have between £6,000 and £16,000, every £250 is viewed as £1 per week in income. This means your benefits can be reduced. 

    Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Personal Independence Payments (PIP) are not affected by income or savings.


    Hope this helps, happy Easter

  • TopkittenTopkitten Member Posts: 1,263 Pioneering
    Ty. It clarifies the upper limit at least but as for the rest it's about as informative as what I found myself. They only really cover taking things away and none of it takes into account receiving a lump sum after a death in the family and then having to live on it for a few years. Once this daft panic is over maybe I'll be able to clarify things by calling them.

    TK
    "I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell" - from Wrong side of heaven by Five Finger Death Punch.
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