Hi, I'm jackthelad! Why would the ESA deduct money? — Scope | Disability forum
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Hi, I'm jackthelad! Why would the ESA deduct money?

jackthelad
jackthelad Member Posts: 10 Listener
strange correspondence from esa and worrying three letters this week from esa telling me they are to deduct money from my esa no reason given just the amounts  i have found it imppossible to get to speak to the dwp to get a explaination i suffer from dementia and experincing bad panic attacks not helped  by this strange  correspondence 
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Comments

  • Cher_Inactive
    Cher_Inactive Posts: 4,400 Scope online community team
    edited June 2021
    Hello @jackthelad and welcome to our community.

    I'm sorry you're going through this without any seeming reason.  According to Citizens Advice, ESA could be stopped or reduced because of any of the following:
    • you don’t have limited capability for work - this means difficulty working because you’re sick or disabled
    • you’ve been getting ESA for 1 year – this only applies if you’ve been getting new style or contribution-based ESA
    • they’ve recalculated your ESA – this means they’ve changed how much you get after your circumstances changed
    • they’ve suspended your ESA
    • they’re taking back an advance payment or an overpayment
    • they’ve given you a sanction
    However, to ascertain exactly what is going on it would be best to speak with the DWP's benefits enquiry line direct on telephone number: 0800 169 0310.  You say you've found it impossible to get to speak with someone from the DWP - did you try this number?

    I can imagine this is causing a lot of stress and you mention that you have dementia and have been experiencing panic attacks.  Do you think you have enough support to deal with these things i.e. from loved ones, a GP or care team? And, have you been managing okay in your daily life? 

    I appreciate ESA and benefits can be confusing to get to grips with, so if you still have any questions after contacting the DWP please let us know.  Also - I've moved your thread to our ESA category and amended the title to help others better anticipate what it's about :)  Best wishes and please let us know how you get on.
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  • jackthelad
    jackthelad Member Posts: 10 Listener
    08001690310 i have spent  guess over 24hours this last week without  getting near speaking to anyone i have been on esa i guess   now since it replaced  the old incapacity benift my last formal interview medical was 5 6 years ago when my esa was increased other than that i have rarely until now had any communication with them
  • woodbine
    woodbine Member, Community Co-Production Group Posts: 7,720 Disability Gamechanger
    @jackthelad welcome to scope, the best time to contact the DWP is at 9a.m when they open and aren't too busy.
    Be extra nice to new members.
  • jackthelad
    jackthelad Member Posts: 10 Listener
    thank you every one for your advice sadly no further on what ever number i attempt to call to get a explaination  i just dont seem to be able to speak to a fellow human
  • Pammie
    Pammie Member Posts: 18 Courageous
    You have to keep trying.  Ring as early as you can and just hang on until they answer.  It can take ages i know, but there’s no other way.  Are you in the support group ? I ask because the rate of esa is higher for support group claimants and if the DWP have received info that you may no longer be eligible for this group, then your money will reduce and you will be called for work focused interview. 
  • MarkM88
    MarkM88 Member Posts: 3,130 Connected
    woodbine said:
    @jackthelad welcome to scope, the best time to contact the DWP is at 9a.m when they open and aren't too busy.
    I believe it’s 8am. Not sure when that has been since. 
  • jackthelad
    jackthelad Member Posts: 10 Listener
    in a new correspondence they seem to mention a overayment of incapacity bennift from 2003 and  housing benifit from 2003
  • MarkM88
    MarkM88 Member Posts: 3,130 Connected
    in a new correspondence they seem to mention a overayment of incapacity bennift from 2003 and  housing benifit from 2003
    That could explain the deductions then. 
  • jackthelad
    jackthelad Member Posts: 10 Listener
    but they cant or  wont show me any dates or amounts they have  shown a figure of 25000plus repayable
  • MarkM88
    MarkM88 Member Posts: 3,130 Connected
    but they cant or  wont show me any dates or amounts they have  shown a figure of 25000plus repayable
    Your going to need to do as suggested and give them a call. 
  • jackthelad
    jackthelad Member Posts: 10 Listener
    i am more than happy to call them  if i could get a human to speak to  instead of automated messages which frequently cut off
  • Emilyb81
    Emilyb81 Member Posts: 528 Pioneering
    edited June 2021
    Just want to say for some reason it says they open 8am til 6pm online but when I've called before it was open 9 til 5pm so it's confusing! 
    Also I was on hold for nearly 2 hours to get through before and on Friday I was on hold for just over an hour to get ti speak to someone I'd say best time to call is early morning because when I've tried after 3pm it always takes ages on hold and I have given up and hung up many times because I absolutely hate phonecalls and I'm anxious the whole time I'm holding so I work myself up until I hang up! But it is true you get through eventually just have to literally hold on as long as it takes! I also thought if I was already on hold when they closed at 5pm I would still be answered eventually before they go home... But one time I got put on hold just after 4pm and was still on hold and 5.45pm and I gave up so not sure how it all works if people are already in the queue... Good luck with sorting this all out @jackthelad it seems nothing to do with benefits etc is ever easy or stress free but you are definitely not alone! :smile: 
  • Emilyb81
    Emilyb81 Member Posts: 528 Pioneering
    @jackthelad just a heads up I just tried calling esa number above to see open times cos worried I might of been wrong and a man answered in 3 minutes? So if u call now u may be OK?.... 
  • Emilyb81
    Emilyb81 Member Posts: 528 Pioneering
    Can't believe someone is answering on a Sunday lol I was expecting an automated message saying they are closed and when to call back? But he answered and I panicked and hung up ??‍♀️??‍♀️? they must be trying to clear backlog or something! Take care and stay safe peeps! 
  • Pammie
    Pammie Member Posts: 18 Courageous
    Are you sure you’ve read the letters right and that they are asking you to repay this money - not telling you that they owe you the money ?  I’m only asking because at the moment the DWP are clearing a backlog of historic ESA claimants who have been underpaid benefit since 2003 and the amounts for repayment in some cases have been as high as £30,000.  £25000 seems an awful lot of debt to have amassed over such a long period of time without them picking up on it before now.  You need a clear explanation of what’s going on and if it turns out you do owe them the money, then you need to get proper advice from a benefits adviser as to what to do next.  
  • MarkM88
    MarkM88 Member Posts: 3,130 Connected
    They do open at 8am during the week as I’ve had to get in touch a few times the last few weeks and always get through early. 
  • Emilyb81
    Emilyb81 Member Posts: 528 Pioneering
    That's why I was checking I believe I am calling a different place that's saying open 8 til 6pm online but when I've called they aren't open til 9am that's why I was calling just now to see what time it says? And they picked up so I never found out! But yes I'm sorry I am talking about the wrong dwp department I think :smile:?
  • jackthelad
    jackthelad Member Posts: 10 Listener
    Pammie said:
    Are you sure you’ve read the letters right and that they are asking you to repay this money - not telling you that they owe you the money ?  I’m only asking because at the moment the DWP are clearing a backlog of historic ESA claimants who have been underpaid benefit since 2003 and the amounts for repayment in some cases have been as high as £30,000.  £25000 seems an awful lot of debt to have amassed over such a long period of time without them picking up on it before now.  You need a clear explanation of what’s going on and if it turns out you do owe them the money, then you need to get proper advice from a benefits adviser as to what to do next.  thanks yes it deffinatly says i owe them what they dont say is what do i owe them money for though in aanother letter they have suggested its to do with housing benift from 2003 and incapacity benift yet they seem very vague

  • Pammie
    Pammie Member Posts: 18 Courageous
    If it says that it’s you who owes them, then you definitely need to ring them ASAP and get full clarification of exactly which benefit has been overpaid and how it happened, how much is owed and how they expect you to repay.  You also need to find out why the overpayment wasn’t spotted before now, as £25000 is a LOT.  It doesn’t sound as though they are treating it as benefit fraud otherwise they would have asked you to attend the Jobcentre and interviewed you under caution, so it sounds as though the overpayment was either their fault, or based on incorrect information you had given them in all innocence.  It does sound odd though because you say that you had an assessment a few years ago after which your ESA was increased and yet when they were doing the recalculation they still didn’t pick up on the fact that you were already being overpaid.  This doesn’t sound right. Also, letters from DWP regarding overpayments are not usually vague.  They are usually direct and to the point, stating which benefit has been overpaid, how the overpayment came about, how much you owe and how they would like you to pay it back - they have to be specific because the timescale for repaying the benefit is calculated from the date they sent you the letter notifying you of the issue.  There are complicated rules about which benefits are, and are not repayable if DWP are at fault and not the claimant, but the default position is that they will try to recover all overpayments unless there is little chance of cost effective recovery, in which case they may waive it.  If they do insist on repayment, your only course of appeal is to try to prove that it was not an overpayment, and you were, in fact, entitled to the payments.  DWP cannot put you into financial hardship so any repayment plan needs to be negotiated to reach a mutually agreed amount each week deducted from any existing benefit. 
  • jackthelad
    jackthelad Member Posts: 10 Listener
    thanks  i hopefuly can get this sorted tomorrow  if i can have a proper conversation with someone instead of them only able to give me half answers especially  to matters going back 20years 

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