Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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If my condition improves while on ESA.

NormaBateman1520NormaBateman1520 Member Posts: 5 Listener
Good afternoon all, and thank you for your replies.

Please advise:  I was put on Support Group contributory ESA on assessment in January this year. Prior to that I was on assessment phase ESA  from July 2017.  If I see improvement in my condition ( treatment to start ) and descriptors that apply to Support are those improving such that I would be placed on Work Related Activity Group, would the time on Support Group be included?  I mean, if I had been on WRAG, not Support, for this time, my contributory ESA would have run out early July as the 12 months would have been up, and I would have had to reapply for income related ESA or even U.C. (as UC is in my area).  So, would I need reassessment for work capability, and need a doctors note to access U.C. or income related ESA? That is assuming the time on support group runs concurrently with other ESA types.  If not the case, would I apply for contributory ESA on WRAG and go for the year if this applies still?

Due to my condition being variable, it is hard to tell when improvements are really ongoing; the DWP seem to insist they are told right away so that changes can be made to income - if they reckon I have not told them early enough, would I need to pay the money back? All of it, or that that applies to the support group supplement only?

Please help, as some conditions are not clear cut. Sorry if this seems complex.


  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 7,187 Disability Gamechanger
    All conditions are to some extent variable. Variations do not have to be reported unless clearly permanent. You’ll get contributory ESA for as long as you’re in the SG. IF you have a change which you feel has some permanence then the first thing you do is get face to face advice BEFORE you notify anyone of anything. Right now the rest of it doesn’t need to be thought about. 
  • NormaBateman1520NormaBateman1520 Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Hi Mike
    Thank you for your reply.  To whom would I go for face to face advice?  Much appreciated.
  • RipplesRipples Member Posts: 189 Pioneering
    Hi Mike
    Thank you for your reply.  To whom would I go for face to face advice?  Much appreciated.
    Your best bet is to visit the CAB or a local  benefit adviser.  As Mike says all conditions are variable so don't be too quick to announce a change unless you are sure it is ongoing and will remain so. The DWP are more concerned with drastic  change for example if you were claiming you could only walk 10 metres with a stick and then suddenly you find you can walk unaided for miles then that would be a reportable change.  
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 273 Pioneering
    Hi NormaBateman1520

    Just to add a note about your further questions...
    Regarding the counting of weeks in the work-related activity group (WRAG), the only periods counted are those when you are in the WRAG. So if you spend 6 months in the support group and then go on to the WRAG, you would stop getting contributory ESA at the end of 52 weeks in the WRAG (18 months or so after you were placed in the support group at weeks 14 of the whole claim).

    You wouldn't move from ESA in the support group  to universal credit (UC) unless something changes in your circumstances, like a new member of the household, or a change of address to another area. If one of those happened, theoretically, your support group designation is transferred to the new benefit. In practice, this sometimes doesn't happen and you have to challenge any decision not to carry the component through to universal credit .(The new name for the support group is the "limited capability for work-related activity" group).

    As mikehughescq says, perhaps you don' t need to think unduly about the rest of this at present. Good luck with your treatment.


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