ESA Confusion — Scope | Disability forum
If we become concerned about you or anyone else while using one of our services, we will act in line with our safeguarding policy and procedures. This may involve sharing this information with relevant authorities to ensure we comply with our policies and legal obligations.

Find out how to let us know if you're concerned about another member's safety.

ESA Confusion

Hello to all,
Despite searching everywhere I can for this information, I am still baffled. I'm hoping some kind and knowledgeable person will know the answer.
I am pension age with a 42 year old Aspergers son living with me. As he is a non-dependant the council deduct approx £5.00 off my Council Tax benefit per week. They say he is 'contribution - based ESA'. If he was 'Income-related ESA' they would not make the deduction. He also gets PIP daily living (not enhanced).
On his letter it states his payment is 100% Income-related yet makes reference to 'contribution-based' which is totally confusing.
Please see their exact wording from letter below (not up to date award but same wording). Can anyone tell me if he should be considered as 'contribution-based' (as Council claim) or 'income-related'. Thank you so much.

The Employment and Support Allowance Award

The payment of Employment and Support Allowance payment is based on your National Insurance

Contribution records and any additional amount the law says you need to live on.

Your living expenses £73.10

Limited capacity for work addition

Extra money because you are in the support group £38.55

Which gives a total Income-related amount £111.65

Income and Benefits

No income will be taken off your Employment and Support Allowance

Your Income-related amount is £111.65 so you would have been

entitled to £111.65

However, because you are entitled to contribution-based Employment and

Support Allowance we will pay you £111.65


  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 31,475 Disability Gamechanger
    edited January 2021
    HI and welcome,

    That amount doesn't suggest that it's income related. If it was income related then he would have the Enhanced disability premium of £17.10 added to it.  On the other hand it's not enough for Contributions based either. Contributions based ESA is £113,55 per week. They often have a very strange way of wording ESA letters.

    Does your son have any other income and how long has he been claiming the ESA for? Does he have a partner that lives with him?

    Also with council tax reduction all local councils have their own rules and we wouldn't be able to advise you regarding that.

  • Renee44
    Renee44 Member Posts: 4 Listener

    Thank you Poppy,

    He has no partner. Yes, his current amount is £113.55. That wording was from an older letter but same as current. He also gets PIP – not enhanced. No other income.

    So, it does look as if he’s contribution-based and yet the wording clearly states ‘ ‘your income-related amount is £113.55’ which is 100% of it.

    Having researched my particular council policy – they make the deduction if he’s ‘CB but not if IR.

    Thank you for your help.

  • Renee44
    Renee44 Member Posts: 4 Listener
    Also, he has been claiming ESA approx 2 years.
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 31,475 Disability Gamechanger
    It sounds like he's claiming New style ESA which is a contributions based only benefit. If he was claiming Income Related then his weekly amount would be £17.10 more. If it's the old contirbutions based ESA he's claiming then he should be able to claim an income related top up on his ESA, which would be the extra £17.10 per week.

    To know for sure exactly which one he's claiming then he'll need to ring DWP to ask.
  • Renee44
    Renee44 Member Posts: 4 Listener
    Thanks Poppy. If it's new style ESA, can he now apply to change to wholly income-related ESA?
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 31,475 Disability Gamechanger
    If his claim started after December 2018 then it will definitely be New Style ESA and there's no Income Related top up available when claiming this because it's a contributions based only claim.

    Universal Credit maybe possible as a top up. First thing he needs to do is find out exactly what ESA he's claiming.
  • Alfie2020
    Alfie2020 Member Posts: 4 Listener
    so confusing for everybody,we need solicitors when it comes to filling out the forms,I hope you get sorted regarding ESA,
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 31,475 Disability Gamechanger
    A solicitor very rarely has any benefit knowledge.


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.