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Confused about my potential benefit entitlement

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Topkitten
Topkitten Community member Posts: 1,285 Pioneering
I haven't been on here for a while so I hope it's ok to ask a question.

I am very confused about benefits. I used to be on ESA and had a perfectly adequate income but when Mum died she left me some money so I didn't qualify except for a small amount for having worked so long. Now my savings are dropped below the maximum amounts and I need to go back on benefits. However, I am dragging it out because I don't feel ok to apply but my savings are dropping fast. I finally had some help from a group called Peabody but it's all telephone stuff and it's the doing that's the issue for me. Anyway, she advised my applying for Universal Credit and I rang then but they directed me to a woman at Citizens Advice Bureau. She also suggested UC but I still had confidence issues and it to me a few weeks to try it. Last night I tried it but got confused because the Government site recommended ESA and not UC for the disabled. I ran a calculator to check (run by Turn2us and accessible from the Government site) and the benefit turned out much much lower than I had been told.

Not only was there a massive discrepancy from what the ladies had told me (it was about half) and what was suggested wouldn't let me cope with food and bills, let alone anything extra.

What do I do?

"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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Comments

  • Ross_Alumni
    Ross_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,650 Disability Gamechanger
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    Hi there @Topkitten, it's great to see you back on the community, how are you? 

    I can understand why this has caused you confusion, mixed messages coming from the adviser you spoke to and then from the benefits calculator can't be making things any easier to work out. 

    I should point out that benefit calculators aren't necessarily accurate, they are designed to give an estimation of entitlement and don't guarantee it. Likewise the rough estimate given by whoever you spoke to isn't necessarily going to be correct.

    If further advice is something you are seeking, and possibly some help with filling out forms, you could contact your nearest Welfare Rights or look through Advice Local.

    When it comes to filling out forms or making calls, are you in a position at all where you would have the help of a friend or other loved one to do this? I recall you saying in the past that you didn't receive enough support, I'm unsure if that has changed.
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  • janer1967
    janer1967 Community member Posts: 21,964 Disability Gamechanger
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    Welcome back @Topkitten nice to see you 

    The benefits calculator is only as good as the information you input maybe you missed something 

    It's hard for us to say what you are entitled to without knowing all your details 

    New style esa is only available if you have made enough ni contributions in the last 2 tax years 

    Uc maybe what you need to apply for and you may be eligible for the lcwra payment if you are assessed as not able to work 

    How long is it since you go esa and was you in the support group 

    I'm no benefits expert so hopefully others can help 
  • Topkitten
    Topkitten Community member Posts: 1,285 Pioneering
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    Without wanting to go on and on..... my health has deteriorated badly and I still get no help as such. My son does try to see me a little more but doesn't actually do much to help. The advocate I have is practically useless as it isn't finding out help I need more in house encouragement.

    Anyway, Mum died 4 years ago (almost) so I don't know what affect that has as that was when the ESA stopped except for a continuing amount due to NI. Yes, I was in the support group. I haven't tried using a calculator for "new ESA" as yet (assuming one exists). As for re-activating my old ESA claim I would have to send statements I don't have (I use online access) to a place over 60 miles away. In addition my printer died so I cannot print anything or scan anything in.

    It just seems when I try to get something done too many road blocks end up in my way.

    Ty for the replies.
    "I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell" - from Wrong side of heaven by Five Finger Death Punch.
  • woodbine
    woodbine Community member Posts: 12,133 Disability Gamechanger
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    I assume what happened was that you were getting income based ESA as a top up to cont.based, when your savings went over £16,000 the inc.based stopped and you were only getting cont.based currently £114 per week ?

    I would suggest that you contact "welfare rights" they usually make more sense than CAB.

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  • calcotti
    calcotti Community member Posts: 10,010 Disability Gamechanger
    edited August 2021
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    As it appears you still get contribution based ESA you can ring them on 0800 169 0310 and ask to be financially reassessed. They will send you a form to complete and return following which they will recalculate your entitlement.

    However if you rent your home and need help with rent you would have to claim UC which would end your income based ESA entitlement.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • Topkitten
    Topkitten Community member Posts: 1,285 Pioneering
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    Being on ESA used to mean I didn't need to pay rent, has that changed?

    "I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell" - from Wrong side of heaven by Five Finger Death Punch.
  • calcotti
    calcotti Community member Posts: 10,010 Disability Gamechanger
    edited August 2021
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    Topkitten said:
    Being on ESA used to mean I didn't need to pay rent, has that changed?
    You were presumably claiming Housing Benefit and, being on income based ESA, would have got the maximum entitlement. However that Housing Benefit claim presumably stopped, You cannot make a new claim for Housing Benefit because it has been replaced by a Universal Credit - unless you are in supported accommodation. Unless that exception applies, if you want help with rent, you will have to claim Universal Credit.

    Do you get DLA or PIP?
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • Topkitten
    Topkitten Community member Posts: 1,285 Pioneering
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    I get PIP, low rate help high rate mobility. I still don't see a way out that will let me maintain the living level I had on benefits before and I think that's disgusting considering the state of the country and unnecessary panics.
    "I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell" - from Wrong side of heaven by Five Finger Death Punch.
  • calcotti
    calcotti Community member Posts: 10,010 Disability Gamechanger
    edited August 2021
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    Topkitten said:
    ..I still don't see a way out that will let me maintain the living level I had on benefits before ..
    From what you have posted it isn’t clear that that is the case.

    if you claim UC you will get the standard allowance and the housing element plus the LCWRA element (because you are already in the ESA Support Group). In general this would be a slightly higher amount that the old ESA and Housing Benefit.

    Note that if you claim UC your contribution based ESA will still be paid fortnightly but will be taken into account as income when calculating your UC amount.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • Topkitten
    Topkitten Community member Posts: 1,285 Pioneering
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    @calcotti, I was told that the ESA part would stop when I apply for UC and there would be a gap in payments up to a few weeks as ESA is paid in advance and UC the opposite. When I was on ESA before I was receiving around £300 a week and no rent to pay. Under UC it works out £700 a month and is likely to drop by £20 a week in October. I don't drink or do drugs of any kind, my only vice is being a heavy smoker. I won't be able to afford to do so after I apply.
    "I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell" - from Wrong side of heaven by Five Finger Death Punch.
  • calcotti
    calcotti Community member Posts: 10,010 Disability Gamechanger
    edited August 2021
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    Topkitten said:
    @calcotti, I was told that the ESA part would stop when I apply for UC ..
    If you are still receiving contribution based ESA, which I infer from your earlier posts you are, then this will not stop when you claim UC. You would continue to receive your fortnightly payments.
    Topkitten said: When I was on ESA before I was receiving around £300 a week and no rent to pay. 
    I can’t see how you could get ESA of £300/week as a single claimant. 
    Topkitten said:
    Under UC it works out £700 a month and is likely to drop by £20 a week in October. 
    plus the help with housing.

    The amount you actually get will be reduced by the ESA you will still be getting.

    You will also possibly be able to claim Council Tax Reduction Depending on your local authority rules.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • Topkitten
    Topkitten Community member Posts: 1,285 Pioneering
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    I was on DLA with medium rate care not PIP. £It wasn't quite £300 but with SDP and another premium plus NI premium it was higher than almost anyone I ever talked to.
    "I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell" - from Wrong side of heaven by Five Finger Death Punch.
  • calcotti
    calcotti Community member Posts: 10,010 Disability Gamechanger
    edited August 2021
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    Topkitten said:
    I was on DLA with medium rate care not PIP. £It wasn't quite £300 but with SDP and another premium plus NI premium it was higher than almost anyone I ever talked to.
    I muddled my last post, to avoid confusion I’ve taken the incorrect bit out. Because you get standard rate Daily Living PIP your income based ESA would be about £198/week if it includes the SDP (assuming you still qualify). That includes the standard allowance, the Support component, SDP and enhanced Disability Premium. I don’t know what you mean by NI Premium. I can’t see any way to get to ESA of £300/week as a single claimant.

    if you still meet the conditions for SDP (live alone and nobody claims anything for looking after you) and you can delay help with housing for about what you could do is ask to have the ESA reassessed. Once this is done and some income based award is made which will include the SDP you then apply for UC. This would make you entitled to an additional UC amount called the SDP transitional element worth an extra £120/month.


    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • Topkitten
    Topkitten Community member Posts: 1,285 Pioneering
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    Ty @calcotti, but now I am back to the problem I started with. I have no statements and no scanner/printer to take copies if I did. The ESA team say I have to send the papers to a place 60 miles away. I am classed as housebound because I would have to take more medication than I am supposed to and the doctors rate that amount as a seriously dangerous overdose. What I can never get them to understand is that what is a dangerous overdose for others is no problem for me (tried O/D many times in the past). So, if I send paperwork and they lose it (certainly not unknown) I have nothing to prove anything. *sigh*.

    Have to put my thinking cap on I guess.

    Ty for all the help everyone.
    "I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell" - from Wrong side of heaven by Five Finger Death Punch.
  • Topkitten
    Topkitten Community member Posts: 1,285 Pioneering
    edited August 2021
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    [Removed by moderator - unnecessary personal comment] I didn't make a mistake.
    "I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell" - from Wrong side of heaven by Five Finger Death Punch.
  • janer1967
    janer1967 Community member Posts: 21,964 Disability Gamechanger
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    Hi again 

    Have you tried to get an advocate to act on your behalf 

    To get things copied for you

    You could request copies of bank statement from your bank if you explain the situation 

    Try welfare rights to see what they suggest and try find out what documents you need to send 

    It doesn't matter how far away they need to be sent that is what post is for 

    You may have said before but do you have any care in place or contact with social services 
  • Topkitten
    Topkitten Community member Posts: 1,285 Pioneering
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    @janer1967, I already have an advocate who will not visit me and does everything by phone. So far she has done nothing except make calls and that part I could have managed on my own. It's the doing part I have a problem with. Too many things getting on top of me and I simply "bug out" and do nothing, when I can't cope.
    "I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell" - from Wrong side of heaven by Five Finger Death Punch.
  • janer1967
    janer1967 Community member Posts: 21,964 Disability Gamechanger
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    I understand how it makes you feel overwhelmed 

    Try making a list of everything you have to do then set daily goals of what you are going to get done little but often 

    Why won't your advocate visit you? 

    Do one task at a time until that issue is resolved rather than trying to do it all at once 

    Try think positive I know it's hard I was housebound for a year and during claiming my benefits so understand the frustration but there is always a solution just takes time to work it all out 
  • Topkitten
    Topkitten Community member Posts: 1,285 Pioneering
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    I have been house bound for 5 or 6 years now and that won't change ever, so the Covid panics had no more effect than being shut in all the time.

    I know I should do exactly that @janer1967 but even that seems too much effort trying to remember ALL the things going wrong, lol!

    As for numbers...... I have been lax at filing so after a great effort to access my filing cabinet it only goes up to 2013. At that time my ESA assessment was £218 odd and I know it increased during the next 4 years until Mum died and I finally got the money 6 months later (an issue with my sister who handled it). This is why I thought it was about £300 but with DLA on top and Housing Benefit it made my life quite comfortable. Now I can't even figure out what to apply for. So far I have been waiting over 20 minutes to get through to the CAB person or group I spoke to before to try and clarify why the big discrepancy has occurred.
    "I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell" - from Wrong side of heaven by Five Finger Death Punch.
  • janer1967
    janer1967 Community member Posts: 21,964 Disability Gamechanger
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    I suggest you follow the advice from calcotti ring esa explain the situation and ask for your claim to be recalculated now your savings have reduced 

    You will no doubt have to fill in forms and provide documents but cross that first hurdle 
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