Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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Can we get pensioner premium with my ESA?

jaggededgejaggededge Member Posts: 15 Listener
Hello

We have recently been given the distressing news that my husbands c- ESA (support group) has stopped  due to him being 66 years and he must apply for either, state pension or pension credit.

Just found out that as a couple with one of us bot being of pension age we cannot get pension credit.

However, I just read somewhere that we could possibly get a pension premium on top of my ESA, I receive c-ESA (support group) and I read that it might be possible to get my husband some kind of pension premium along with my ESA/

We always received our ESA individually. He received his ESA in his name and I received my ESA in my name.
Although the ESA for both of us combined was taken into consideration. I only get £46 per week as my husband was receiving the full amount of £112.21 per week.. Until it stopped Now he is not getting anything due to DWP incompetence of not informing us in time.

Please can you advise as to what we should be getting as when I phoned the DWP they seemed clueless.
Can he get pension premium with my current ESA?

Replies

  • calcotticalcotti Member Posts: 2,159 Pioneering
    edited March 1
    jaggededge said: Now he is not getting anything due to DWP incompetence of not informing us in time.
    His ESA has stopped because it is a working age benefit and his entitlement stopped when he reached pension age. ESA cannot be claimed by someone over 66.

    He is presumably now getting his State Pension (more than the ESA he was previously getting?)

    You describe your ESA as  contribution based ESA but say you were only getting £46/week which doesn’t make sense (unless you have some pension income of your own). C-ESA in the Support Group would be £113.55/week.

    If your ESA is income based this calculation should now include the pensioner premium because your husband is a pensioner. However your husband’s State Pension will be deducted in full from any income based entitlement you may have. Without more information about your circumstances and how much pension he will get it is not possible to say whether there will be any entitlement.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • jaggededgejaggededge Member Posts: 15 Listener
    hello
    Thanks for your quick response.
    We only received the letter yesterday about his c-ESA being stopped. So he doesnt have any pension at the moment.  I get a carers allowance so that is why I only get £46 per week C-ESA support group. Neither of us had received income related ESA, only contribution ESA. We did not want to go on Universal Credit which we would have to do if on IR-ESA.
    Can I  claim extra c-ESA for us both as a couple?
    Or will the DWP give me more ESA and possibly a pensioners premium on top of the £46 pw that i receive?
    That way we may not need to apply for the state pension. 
    I had read on the CAB website that it doesnt matter how old you are to get ESA So that is misleading information.. see below.

    If you’re in the support group, you’ll get an extra £39.20 each week – this is called the 'support component'. This means your basic amount is:

    • £156 each week if you live with a partner
    • £113.55 each week if you don't live with a partner

    It doesn't matter how old you are.


    Thanks  again for your reply. Much appreciated.





  • calcotticalcotti Member Posts: 2,159 Pioneering
    edited March 2
    I get a carers allowance so that is why I only get £46 per week C-ESA support group. 
    That's very unusual. Normally they would pay the c-ESA and suspend the payment of CA.

    To be clear - are you claiming contribution based ESA or new style ESA? If the former you can ask to be reassessed for entitlement to income based ESA as the old ESA is just one benefit comprised of contribution based and income based parts. 

    Currently you both get £113.55. When his ESA stops you will still be getting £113.55 and he will be getting his SP. Do you know how much his pension is/will be? When is his birthday?

    If he doesn't claim his State Pension he will still be treated as if he is getting it. You cannot defer a non means tested benefit in order to increase entitlement to a means tested benefit.
    I had read on the CAB website that it doesnt matter how old you are to get ESA So that is misleading information.. see below.

    If you’re in the support group, you’ll get an extra £39.20 each week – this is called the 'support component'. This means your basic amount is:

    • £156 each week if you live with a partner
    • £113.55 each week if you don't live with a partner

    It doesn't matter how old you are.

    You've read that information out of context. The first bit explains that there are two rates for the standard allowance depending on age then sets out these extra amounts. The "it doesn't matter how old you are" means that these extra amounts are not affected by age. On the page about ESA eligibility it says To claim ESA you must be aged 16 or over and under State Pension age.

    If your ESA is old style contribution based ESA and can be reassessed for income based ESA you would be entitled to standard couple allowance, pensioner premium and carer premium which comes to £302.70/week. Your husband's SP will be deducted from this in full. Whatever is left is your total CA and ESA amount (unless less than £113.55 in which case you will still get £113.55). This assumes you have no other income or savings over £6000.

    Do you claim Housing Benefit? If you are that may complicate matters.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • jaggededgejaggededge Member Posts: 15 Listener
    Hello

    I receive Contribution ESA.  My husband also used to receive contribution based ESA. It was stopped due to his age. We do not want to get Income related ESA as that is now Universal Credit. We dont want UNiversal Credit.
    My husband had his birthday 3 weeks ago, so the letter should have come a month or 2 before this. 

    So are you saying that even if my husband doesnt claim his state pension ,he will be classed as though he is claiming when he is not? This doesn make sense. I read somewhere that pension can be deferred. Also if we were receiving enough money with my ESA, then he may not need to claim this state pension..

    So you are saying that my ESA  will not increase now that my husband's ESA has stopped?
     I thought I would be given the full amount of £113.55 and not the £46 I get at the moment from ESA.
    If we do get the pensioners premium included with my ESA< will that be classed as Universal Credit?



  • jaggededgejaggededge Member Posts: 15 Listener
    Yes we have been getting housing benefit for a few years. I dont see how that would complicate anything. The HK just has to be calculated as to the applicable amount.
    Thanks
  • jaggededgejaggededge Member Posts: 15 Listener
    sorry I meant HB.
  • calcotticalcotti Member Posts: 2,159 Pioneering
    jaggededge said: We do not want to get Income related ESA as that is now Universal Credit. We dont want UNiversal Credit.
    Income based ESA is only replaced by UC for new claims. If you have an old ESA claim you can ask for it to be reassessed for income based top up entitlement at any time. That's why I asked you to confirm if it was contribution based ESA or new style ESA (because they latter can never include an income based top up).
    So are you saying that even if my husband doesnt claim his state pension ,he will be classed as though he is claiming when he is not? 
    He can defer his State Pension. However if he does and you were to ask if you were entitled to income based ESA the calculation would treat him as if he is receiving the State Pension. 
    jaggededge said: So you are saying that my ESA  will not increase now that my husband's ESA has stopped?
     I thought I would be given the full amount of £113.55 and not the £46 I get at the moment from ESA.
    The reason you are only getting £46 is because you are getting Carer's Allowance. It has nothing to do with his income. As I said that is very unusual. Normally I would expect the Carer's Allowance to not be paid and for you to get the full ESA - however the total benefit would be the same.
    You might be entitled to extra ESA if you ask to be reassessed for income based ESA but it will depend on how much SP your husband is entitled to as explained in my earlier reply.
    jaggededge said: If we do get the pensioners premium included with my ESA< will that be classed as Universal Credit?
    The pensioner premium does not exist in UC. It is only applicable if you are being assessed for income based ESA.
    Yes we have been getting housing benefit for a few years. I dont see how that would complicate anything. The HB just has to be calculated as to the applicable amount.
    I suggest you contact your local authority to check whether your HB is continuing. When your husband reached pension age you became a 'Mixed Age Couple' and because you are not claiming a means tested benefit I would expect your Housing Benefit to stop unless you are in exempt accommodation such as Supported Housing. If the HB does stop and you want to continue to receive help with rent you will have to claim Universal Credit.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • jaggededgejaggededge Member Posts: 15 Listener
    thanks for the update.
    I have read in many articles that if we were to claim income related ESA , it would  then become Universal Credit. This is a very sneaky ploy by the government to get people moved on to this hellish and extremely unpopular benefit. Which should never have gone ahead to begin with. 
    I am so worried  about having this happen. To go through the whole ESA claim procedure again is enough to just make me be driven over the edge.

     I phoned the HB today but they only said that they were a call centre and they would make a note of my change of circumstances but would not guarantee that my HB claim would not stop!! This is rridculous  as I am still receiving ESA, and with my husbands ESA stopped that means we get even less money. We were getting HB before so why should that change.? I dont understand all this mixed age couple business, we are just a normal couple, most couples are not exactly the same age, so that is normal. This is just me venting spleen at the system not you for mentioning it. I dont want to claim UC so how can I persuade the HB to continue with our claim as is?
     This is a nightmare for us, especially with the ongoing stress and anxiety with pandemic and lockdown. We are both about to snap, along with many, many others who are suffering. I am sure you are too.

  • calcotticalcotti Member Posts: 2,159 Pioneering
    edited March 2
    I have read in many articles that if we were to claim income related ESA , it would  then become Universal Credit.
    No one can make a new claim for income based ESA because it has been replaced by UC.
    As already explained, if someone is already receiving contribution based ESA (not new style ESA) they can ask to be reassessed to see if they have any income based ESA entitlement. That is because Contribution based and income based ESA are two aspect size of one benefit. Such a reassessment is not a new claim and therefore does not prompt any need to claim UC.
    jaggededge said: I phoned the HB today but they only said that they were a call centre and they would make a note of my change of circumstances but would not guarantee that my HB claim would not stop!! This is rridculous  as I am still receiving ESA, and with my husbands ESA stopped that means we get even less money. We were getting HB before so why should that change.? I dont understand all this mixed age couple business, we are just a normal couple, most couples are not exactly the same age, so that is normal. 
    A ‘mixed age couple’ is a couple where one is pension age and one is working age. The government revised the law about who could claim means tested pension age benefits. Previously a couple with one pensioner could claim pension age benefits but now, in most cases, they cannot - but the rules are complex. 

    You keep mentioning that your husband’s ESA has stopped but you need also to take into account that he will be getting his State Pension. Until you know how much that is you do not know how much difference it will make. If he gets the full SP it is considerably more than the ESA he was getting. Has he made the claim for SP?

    Housing Benefit is governed by two different sets of regulations, one for working age claimants and one for pension age claimants, which is why becoming a mixed age couple can now result in the end of Housing Benefit. I have only mentioned the HB because it is important for you to know what is happening. Absurdly, if the HB stops and you have to claim UC for help with rent the UC itself will stop when you become pension age and you will have to claim HB again.

    if you do have to claim UC you would not have any entitlement to income based ESA but your CA/contribution based ESA would continue.

    However it is not possible to work out what entitlement you may have to income based ESA, UC or ongoing HB until it is known what your husband’s SP is.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • jaggededgejaggededge Member Posts: 15 Listener
    Thanks again for your advice. 
    So to sum up we need to know what my husbands entitlement to SP is and how much it will be.
    We could ask for a new assessment of entitlement to IR ESA. Or we could just leave things as they are with my conrribution ESA and CA. ) I cant stand contacting DWP for any reason. I have found them to be incompetent and have made so many errors in the past and have made things for us so complicated.
    We will not receive a pensioners premium automatically on top of my C-ESA unless I ask for a reassessemnt of the ESA.

    By the way, I am  the claimant for HB so dont know if that helps. When my ESA was stopped a couple of years ago, my HB was suspended, but when I explained to them that we have not started work but still receive benefits (same as before) they then reinstated my HB. 

    Just to mention I received a letter last year Jan 2020 from DWp stating that my esa would increase from 18 February 2021 I would be receiving £121.90 pw. So I am going to see if there is the new increased amount in my account, otherwise I may have to phone the DWp to ask about that letter and the proposed increase.
    I dont want to but may have to. 
    I do know what the government have decided what mixed age couple means. So no need to explain, I just hate labels and pigeon holing. 
    You have been very helpful. Which is much appreciated.
    Thanks for your patience.


  • calcotticalcotti Member Posts: 2,159 Pioneering
    edited March 3
    jaggededge said: Just to mention I received a letter last year Jan 2020 from DWp stating that my esa would increase from 18 February 2021 I would be receiving £121.90 pw. 
    That sounds as if ESA may have done an income based reassessment including the pensioner premium - although I can't see how they have arrived at that figure. Was there a calculation attached to that letter explaining how the amount was arrived at?

    If you are shown as getting income based ESA then the HB will continue.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • Ross_ScopeRoss_Scope Posts: 4,114

    Scope community team

    Hi @jaggededge

    I hope you are well and the advice on this thread has helped you. 

    It seems to be a fairly stressful time for you and I hope the support of the community will help you through.

    In addition to the replies from the super users on this thread, Advice local is a good outlet for benefit support, and you can always give our helpline a call to talk things through.

    Furthermore, I was concerned to read your comment:
    "am so worried  about having this happen. To go through the whole ESA claim procedure again is enough to just make me be driven over the edge."

    As stressful as that can be, in that eventuality I hope you have support to help you through, please take note of the resources provided above, and consider services like Mind if you need mental health support.
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  • jaggededgejaggededge Member Posts: 15 Listener
    Hello

    The letter from last Jan 2020 did not explain why I would be getting the increased amount of ESA. I have not had any letters this year from ESA or CA for that matter. Do no explanations no communication no nothing.

    So you reckon that the increased amount is the IR-ESA and the pensioners premium which I got today.
    I didnt really want to be on IR ESA as I felt that we have more freedom on C-ESA. I would have preferred to be kept on C-ESA, and not have to change.

    Thanks again for your help.
    I appreciate it.
  • jaggededgejaggededge Member Posts: 15 Listener
    Dear Ross 
    Thanks so much for your concern.
    The pandemic and the lockdowns as well as my life generally has made things really difficult for my mental well being. However, I do not need mental health support. As there is nothing they can do to help with the lockdown and the pandemic and my stressful and unhappy life situation.
    But thanks anyway.
  • calcotticalcotti Member Posts: 2,159 Pioneering
    May be the ESA calculation looks like this: 
    Couple personal allowance £116.80
    Support Component £39.20
    Pensioner Premium £109.20
    Carer premium £37.50
    Maximum ESA = £302.70
    Deduct CA £67.25
    Deduct husband's ESA £113.55 
    ESA payable = £121.90

    That is of course nonsense because the pensioner premium is only included because husband reaches pension age at which point he cannot be receiving ESA. 

    His SP is likely to be higher than £113.55 (depending on his NI record) which will reduce the ESA payable amount. 

    (I still do not understand why DWP are paying you CA if you have entitlement to contribution based ESA.)
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • Ross_ScopeRoss_Scope Posts: 4,114

    Scope community team

    Dear Ross 
    Thanks so much for your concern.
    The pandemic and the lockdowns as well as my life generally has made things really difficult for my mental well being. However, I do not need mental health support. As there is nothing they can do to help with the lockdown and the pandemic and my stressful and unhappy life situation.
    But thanks anyway.
    Yes the pandemic has been a huge strain on people's well being, hopefully it will be over soon. I appreciate that you don't feel the need to seek support, however if you change your mind you should speak with your GP :) 
    Online Community Coordinator

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  • jaggededgejaggededge Member Posts: 15 Listener
    Your calculations could be correct. I wont know until the DWP send me a letter with their calculations.
    The only reason I can  think of for my still getting the CA is that I had made the claim for CA before I made a claim for ESA. Thats the only reason I can think of. I am glad that I have been able to keep my CA, as whenever the DWp have assessed me 3 times in the past and stopped my ESA for 3 months at one point then I was still bale to get my CA. I have never had to be assessed for CA, only ESA. I had to appeal 3 times to be able to keep my ESA. I am dreading being assessed again. I think it might seriously damage my health if it happens again. 
    Since I have received the |£121.90 ESA today this makes the shortfall from my husbands ESA only £38 instead of £113.55 per week, which we could handle so he might not need to apply for state pension if the DWp continue to give me this amount each week.
    But then you say that even if husband wasnt going to claim SP the DWp would calculate his state pension amount from my ESA and Ca, and HB. eve though he is not receiving it?
    Apologies if am going round in circles.
    Severely stressed and anxious at the moment.

  • calcotticalcotti Member Posts: 2,159 Pioneering
    edited March 3
    Your calculations could be correct. I wont know until the DWP send me a letter with their calculations.
    I was referring to how they might have arrived at the figure that advised you a year ago - did that letter include a calculation?
    if it is calculated as I think then it is clearly wrong because it takes into account the ESA your husband no longer gets. Has he enquired what his SP entitlement is?
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • calcotticalcotti Member Posts: 2,159 Pioneering
    edited March 3
    If your husband is entitled to the standard pension of £175.20 the calculation would be as follows

    Couple personal allowance £116.80
    Support Component £39.20
    Pensioner Premium £109.20
    Carer premium £37.50
    Maximum ESA = £302.70
    Deduct CA £67.25
    Deduct husband's SP £175.20
    ESA payable = £60.25

    The ESA figure will be more if the pension is less or the ESA will be less if the SP is more.

    Unless the SP is more than £189.15 there there is income based ESA payable and would expect the HB to continue and therefore no need to claim UC.


    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • jaggededgejaggededge Member Posts: 15 Listener
    We dont know what my husbands SP is going to be, we havent applied for it yet. Still waiting for the application form to see if we want to fill it out.
    As I mentioned before there was no explanation or calculation of how the DWP calculated the new amount of ESA of £121.90. in the letter sent last year. So if the DWP are making errors again with the new amount of ESA, then I dont know what to do. They should know their job. I dont know their job so I cant do it for them. I dont understand why they cant just make things simple. Why complicate things? This is all they seem to want to do is complicate everything.
  • calcotticalcotti Member Posts: 2,159 Pioneering
    We dont know what my husbands SP is going to be, we havent applied for it yet. Still waiting for the application form to see if we want to fill it out.
    I can't see any reason why your husband would be reluctant to claim his State Pension. He has reached pension age and is entitled to it based on his national Insurance history.
    He can claim online. The new State Pension: How to claim - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • jaggededgejaggededge Member Posts: 15 Listener
    Thanks we know he can claim online, we  would prefer paper application.
    His NI history hasnt been that good anyway due to ill health. Just NI credits from his ESA and before the ESA, he was getting SDA NI credits. So thiose probably do count towards the NI contributions.
    We just dont like filling in intrusive forms all the time thats all. And if we feel we are getting enough to live on at the moment then we dont  absolutely feel the need to apply. Its just that simple.
    Thanks for all your help.
    Appreciate it.

  • calcotticalcotti Member Posts: 2,159 Pioneering
    edited March 4
    jaggededge said: His NI history hasnt been that good anyway due to ill health. Just NI credits from his ESA and before the ESA, he was getting SDA NI credits. So thiose probably do count towards the NI contributions.
    Yes credits count towards State Pension, that is their primary purpose.
    jaggededge said: We just dont like filling in intrusive forms all the time thats all. And if we feel we are getting enough to live on at the moment then we dont  absolutely feel the need to apply. Its just that simple.
    The State Pension claim form isn't too intrusive because it isn't a means tested benefit. You can see the form here BR1NSP (publishing.service.gov.uk)

    As advised, the rules say that if he doesn't claim SP he should still be treated as if he is receiving it. A claimant is expected to claim all non means-tested available to them rather than deprive themselves of income available to them to increase the amount of means-tested benefit they receive.

    The main thing to note is that overall your income is almost certainly going to be higher than before as long as your HB is able to continue which it can if you are receiving some income based ESA, as seems likely.

    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • jaggededgejaggededge Member Posts: 15 Listener
    Hello
    Just looked at the state pension form online. i cannot believe how intrusive it is. It doesnt even give the option for a couple living together. Just married or civil partnership. Then they demand to see birth certificate, and marriage certificate as there is not option not to be married. 
    Since my husband has been on ESA for years there should not be any need to see his birth certificate.They know how old he is, he got a letter stating that he should apply for state pension.
    Then they ask questions that I have never seen on any benefits form before. Such as his fathers full  name and mothers full name and mothers name before marriage!!!!! Address where you were born!. Who can know what address they were born?
    Asking for this information is ridiculous. Why on earth would they need to know any of this? This  is beyond me. What the hell has his dead parents got to do with anything?
    I doubt very much if we can fill out this form. It is unreasonable and unjustified. There is no good reason why these questions need to be answered.


  • calcotticalcotti Member Posts: 2,159 Pioneering
    Must admit I didn't actually look at the form. When my wife claimed a few years ago it was a short phone call and we certainly didn't send any documents to them. 
    I can now also see that although that's the form that came up when I looked online it is clearly out of date because some of the information in it is incorrect. Perhaps the form you get will be different.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • jaggededgejaggededge Member Posts: 15 Listener
    I hope so. I wish we could have just claimed over the phone as your wife did, it sounds a lot easier , So your wife didnt need to send her birth certificate or marriage certificate to them? Also on the form it says it needs to be the original, unless we go to all the trouble of asking our doctor to sign a photocopy. I do hope we dont have to do any of this.
  • calcotticalcotti Member Posts: 2,159 Pioneering
    edited March 4
    I hope so. I wish we could have just claimed over the phone as your wife did, it sounds a lot easier , So your wife didnt need to send her birth certificate or marriage certificate to them? Also on the form it says it needs to be the original, unless we go to all the trouble of asking our doctor to sign a photocopy. I do hope we don't have to do any of this.
    Are they refusing to take claims by phone now? The advantage of phone claims is that it's possible to get clarification of what the question actually means. On the face of it, if the form is as it I found then if you are not married or in a civil partnership he would be single for claim purposes. These questions might relate to rules about inheriting state pension from a husband or civil partner - rules which would not apply to people just living together.
    It's a few years ago but we don't remember sending any documents off - but then our memories are not always reliable!
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • Ross_ScopeRoss_Scope Posts: 4,114

    Scope community team

    Hi @jaggededge

    I just wanted to check in to see how everything is at the moment? How have you been getting on?
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    Talk to our chatbot and give us feedback on the community.
  • jaggededgejaggededge Member Posts: 15 Listener
    Hello

    Still a bit confused by the whole process. Everything seems so complicated when it could easily be made simple.
    Thanks for asking though.
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