Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
If this is your first visit, check out the community guide. You will have to Join us or Sign in before you can post.

New Style ESA

JaniemcJaniemc Member Posts: 7 Listener
Please help! My employment was terminated due to ill health/disability in January 2018. After working full time for 30 years I have no clue with claiming benefits. The process is causing me severe stress, affecting my mental health and the catalogue of errors by DWP, Universal Credit and the Job Centre has been unbelievable. I was set up incorrectly on UC, my sick pay was deducted from the only payment received even though it was not for the qualifying claim period. It also took 6 weeks with absolutely no income to be credited to my account. The claim was then cancelled as new style esa was claimed for. Even though my form was collected on a home visit, I'm bed bound, the form was lost and delayed for 5 weeks. Fit notes sent 3 times before a payment was finally received. I am currently in the assessment period and been 13 weeks since claim. I have returned the medical assessment form. I am on enhanced daily living PIP but been told I won't qualify for disability premiums on Cont New Style ESA? So on income based I could get £188 per week but on New Style £110 per week. All my bills are in arrears with constant phone calls. Please help.. I feel I am being penalised for working previously and in constant tears with no income to survive/food/bills... any advice would be gratefully received Jane


  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger

    New style Contribution based ESA is a benefit for those that have previously worked and paid enough NI in the previous 2 tax years. It is contribution based only and the premiums are not paid on this. Even if you claimed Universal credit the premiums will not be paid. Do you live with a partner?
    Proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice I have given to members here on the community.
  • JaniemcJaniemc Member Posts: 7 Listener
    Hi Poppy, thank you for your reply.. no, I am single but my 19 year old Son lives with me. I feel because I have worked I am penalised not being able to claim the disability premiums. It is a difference of £78 per week. This is a huge difference and feels unfair as I am literally bed bound and spend from 6am to 6pm alone in bed. I was self funding care but can't afford for them to continue as it's been 15 weeks now since my employer terminated my employment. I have had so much conflicting information from different departments I feel I have nowhere to turn. X
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 273 Pioneering
    Hello Janiemc

    I 'm so sorry to read about your experience of claiming benefits and can well appreciate how confusing, not to mention frustrating and stressful this is, especially at the moment in a time of much publicised but little explained welfare reform.

    It seems that you are entitled to new style contributory ESA - because you worked recently - and possibly a universal credit top-up. It's not the fact that you have worked that is resulting in less benefit payments than others in your situation, but it's a matter of geography. 

    I am wondering whether you have been told that you can only have contributory ESA because you have other household income, (an occupational pension?  or maybe DWP-assumed income from savings?) so that there is no entitlement to universal credit? And otherwise, I'm wondering whether you have just been mis-advised by DWP, all the way. You have put in a universal credit claim, so any entitlement to that benefit should be paid. If there's no entitlement in the first month, the claim should be kept open for a total of 6 months, and each month a check should be run for entitlement. The administration has been really poor; if the benefit decisions are also incorrect, then you would have to challenge them by way of a mandatory reconsideration request in your journal.

    At the moment, universal credit, the government's flagship welfare reform benefit, is replacing 6 traditional or "legacy" benefits (I use the term "legacy" because you'll hear it elsewhere. Legacy benefits are all means-tested). This is being done on a gradual roll-out programme across the country, which means that in some areas you can still claim legacy benefits and other places, you cannot.

    The legacy benefits are income-related ESA, income-based JSA, income support, housing benefit, working tax credit and child tax credit. 

    Income-related ESA, income-based JSA, income support, and  housing benefit all include premiums in their calculation. For ESA, there are three premiums, carer premium, enhanced disability premium, and severe disability premium.  

    Universal credit doesn't include any premiums in the calculation. There is some acknowledgement, by way of extra money called a limited capability for work-related activity element) for not being able to work, but none for disability on its own. this means that for a single person with daily living component of  PIP, universal credit can indeed be some £46 per week less than income-related ESA would have been. This is something that Scope and others are campaigning to have changed. 

    (By the way, severe disability premium on income-related ESA is paid if the recipient lives alone or if the only other people in the household are also getting PIP, and no-one is in receipt of carers allowance for them. Unless your 19 year old also has PIP daily living, the severe disability premium would not have been available to you.)

    Meanwhile, I can see that you are stuck with the poorly administered system that exists now. Do reach out here again, if your payments don't get made on time, that is a whole week after the end of each assessment period. We don't undertake casework on the helpline but could try to signpost you appropriately and if, like many people, you live in an area where there's no specialist caseworker help available, due to funding cuts, we would offer a phone appointment with one of our benefits specialists to try to point you in the right direction for securing those payments that are available to you.

    We would be likely also to suggest that your local MP may be able to offer some support in these things. 

    It may help you to do a benefits check on this website, so you can check what you have been told about your wider entitlements. Council Tax Reduction might be an option, for example.

    Best wishes 

    Benefits and Finance Specialist Information Officer
    Scope Helpline
    Tel: 0808 8003333

  • JaniemcJaniemc Member Posts: 7 Listener
    Thank you Gill for your detailed reply.. it is very much appreciated. I would like a telephone appointment with an adviser as the only advice I have had from the job centre/esa/uni credit has been conflicting and confusing. Are you able to arrange this at all? Many Thanks Jane
  • JaniemcJaniemc Member Posts: 7 Listener
    Hi Gill, contacted the Job Centre yet again today and spoke to the Manager. She advised me to restart my Universal Credit claim(they closed it on application of New Style ESA in Feb 2018) and put a note in the journal to backdate to 1st Feb, date of ESA claim. It's been 13 weeks today in the assessment phase, not had a date for the medical assessment as yet. My Son does not claim any benefits. I have no other income now apart from PIP and basic cont new style ESA.  I have no savings left. Is it worth ringing local CAB. Thank you so much for your advice to date Jane x 
  • whistleswhistles Member Posts: 1,590 Disability Gamechanger
    Have you applied for housing benefit? Or are you a full service area, own your property? 

    What you are saying you live on currently is what most of us are sadly living on. If you can call it that.
    Do not follow me, I don't know where I am going.
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 273 Pioneering
    Hi Janiemc
    Good to hear from you.

    I've made enquiries about how best to orchestrate a phone call. 

    Please could you email the Helpline at [email protected] and ask us there to arrange a phone appointment with a benefits adviser, mentioning that we've had this conversation online? Thanks.


  • JaniemcJaniemc Member Posts: 7 Listener
    Gill, Thank you so much for all your help and advice, I will send an email this weekend. Means the World just to be listened too.. days are long stuck in bed for weeks on your own.. thank you.
    Whistles, thank you also for replying. I am in a full service area and do not qualify for housing benefit. I know many are living on next to nothing income, I worked for 30 years, full time as a single parent. Struggled but nothing like this now, alongside dealing with 16 months of being seriously ill. I just think it's unfair that 1 person is awarded £273week(188esa+85pip) and another in identical situation gets  £158week (73esa+85pip). The reason, uni credit in my area 10 months ago, only qualify for new style esa (cont) not eligible for disability premiums/cold weather payment etc. Just think it should be same for all, whatever the amount. If you are disabled/seriously ill should be simplified process, transparent and same for all. This has been horrendous to deal with alongside their errors, no money for weeks, no food, services cut off, care cancelled, mental health greatly impacted, credit register affected, finance's in arrears. Just feel like giving up and I know and empathise there are 1000'some out there in the same boat 😢😭😪 wish all of you the very best xx
  • WaylayWaylay Member Posts: 944 Pioneering
    Why would you not qualify for housing benefit?
  • JaniemcJaniemc Member Posts: 7 Listener
    I lost my father in a horrific accident.. in his will was to pay off my remaining mortgage. I lost my house I paid 20 years mortgage on through divorce and redundancy. I rented then managed to buy it. Then... 😢
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 273 Pioneering
    Hi Janiemc

    Looking forward to hearing from you.


    BTW you can't make a new housing benefit claim if you live in a full service universal credit area. 

    It is making a new claim to a "legacy benefit" that triggers a universal credit claim.  Legacy benefits are all of the six means-tested benefits that you could claim everywhere before UC came into being. Housing benefit is one of the legacy benefits. 

    Best wishes to both


  • JaniemcJaniemc Member Posts: 7 Listener
    Emailed.. once again.. thank you Gill_Scope x
  • WaylayWaylay Member Posts: 944 Pioneering
    @Gill_Scope Yikes. Thanks for correcting me! 
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 273 Pioneering
    Waylay, you're welcome.  It is all very complex at the moment, especially. I find it easier because I deal with it all week...

  • GallilindaGallilinda Member Posts: 1 Listener
    I know that this site is just about Government benefits - but there is another source of help. You said that you self funded your help when you were working but now cannot afford. You may be entitled to help from your local council and can ask for an assessment for care. A social worker carries out the assessment and you may be awarded a budget (they decide how many hours a week you need help) which can either be managed for you or you manage yourself (perhaps with help). Check out Direct Payments and what they can be used for (although councils can be flexible when considering your needs). You can be asked for a contribution towards care costs which takes into account your PIP and ESA payments - but there is a limit on that, set out in LA circulars. The Care Act 2014 tells you more about all of this - plus their is a lot more information on Direct Payments online.
Sign in or join us to comment.