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.

Seperation

Hello everyone I am looking for some advice please.
I am currently on contributions based esa I have been for years due to health problems. My Husband's wage is above the threshold for me to receive any money.
We were going to seperate about 6 months ago and a friend of mine contacted the benefit people, they said I would need to go onto universal credit. 
They explained the visits to job centre etc. I just cant do this. I have trouble leaving my house meeting new people etc etc.
So my Husband and I tried to make it work again. It simply is not. 
I  just dont know what to do. I dont understand if I am already on ESA contributions why they just cant keep me on ESA so I can miss out the job center stuff. 
I feel completely trapped. 
My Husband earns his money but there isnt enough to pay Bill's. He never gives me anything. I am just at a loss and dont know what to do. There are debt letters every day and people coming to the door making my anxiety worse.
Any suggestions would help.
Please do not comment if you have something nasty to say.
Thank u.

Replies

  • david235david235 Member Posts: 170 Pioneering
    If you are on contributions based ESA then you retain that on separation - it is a personal entitlement, @tina1888 . You also retain any PIP or DLA.

    If you need to claim any additional money including help towards rent, then you will likely have to claim Universal Credit. If you are in the ESA Support Group already then you will have LCWRA from the beginning of any UC claim and will not be subjected to Work Related Activity. I can't remember whether membership of the UC Support Group exempts you from a one-off Work-focused Interview - but LCWRA certainly exempts you from any ongoing requirement to attend WfIs.


    I send my best wishes and am sorry to hear you are in such a difficult and vulnerable situation. If possible, I urge you to reach out to one of the debt charities such as Step Change or Citizen's Advice - it should be possible to do this by phone or perhaps even by e-mail. They should be able to help you plan your finances as a single person as well as sorting out what debt liabilities you have after separation and working to get the creditors off your back.


    You perhaps also need urgent advice about housing, especially if you are facing homelessness. As you are married, you potentially have rights of occupation under section 30 of the Family Law Act 1996 if you are not named as a joint owner of any owned house or a joint tenant of any rented house. If you and your husband own (including on a mortgage) rather than rent then I urge you to take legal advice immediately on the position, as the Family Law Act 1996 right only applies if registered with the Land Registry, also you may be entitled to a share of any equity in the house. These are comples matters - but you need to know that your position is weaker if you do not act before you move out.

    If you are facing homelessness, I urge you to contact the council now and take any housing advice that is on offer from organisations such as Shelter.


    Every best wish.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    tina1888 said:
    Hello everyone I am looking for some advice please.
    I am currently on contributions based esa I have been for years due to health problems. My Husband's wage is above the threshold for me to receive any money.

    Hi,

    Which group are you for ESA? If it's the Support Group then Contributions based ESA isn't affected by a partners earnings/saving or capital and you should still be receiving £111.65 per week.
    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.
  • tina1888tina1888 Member Posts: 85 Courageous
    Ii get contributions based ESA I dont get a penny from them. I am on pip due to several health issues. I fill in the forms go to the medical but I've never had anything, since I got married. Before I was married I got payments then it stopped.
  • tina1888tina1888 Member Posts: 85 Courageous
    They say that they pay money towards my NI payments, but I've never had anything other than that since approx 2013.
  • david235david235 Member Posts: 170 Pioneering
    The first step is to establish what your ESA entitlement is, @tina1888 . As you are not receiving anything other than NI credits, you are not in the Support Group and/or your only entitlement is Income Related. Contributions Based ESA is only paid for one year unless you are in the Support Group. Income Related ESA entitlement would be assessed against your joint income and assets whilst you were living with your husband as his wife.

    It might be possible to put up a change of circumstances case to move to the Support Group if you are not already in it, though you would really need to explore this possibility with a local advice provider.


    If you are entitled to Contributions Based ESA and are moved to the Support Group then you will get the £111.65 per week on top of your PIP that @poppy123456 mentioned. You would also have LCWRA established for any Universal Credit claim you made, in which case the most you would be expected to attend is a single Work focused Interview. Perhaps @poppy123456 or someone more familiar with UC than I will know if there is any way for a UC claimant who has established LCWRA on ESA to be exempted from that one-off WfI in any way. It might be possible to have the WfI in a telephone call as a reasonable adjustment, if that helps.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    I agree that because you're not receiving any money then you must be in the WRAG and the only thing you'll receive is NI credits towards your state pension.

    If you did continue with the separation with your partner and either of you moved out then it maybe possible to be assessed for the Income related ESA but because all areas are now a full UC area i'm not sure if this is possible.

    My main question here, is will you need to claim for help with the rent? If you do then you will need to claim Universal Credit because no new claims for housing benefit are possible.

    If you claimed UC then you'll receive the standard allowance of £317 per month, if you're over 25, under 25 and it's £251 per month. Your ESA award will be honoured in UC and you'll be placed into the relevant group which is Limited capability for work and this will give you an extra £126 per month. Then you'll receive your rent for a 1 bedroom rate.

    When you first claim UC then you will need to visit the job centre for your first appointment as everyone does. After this then it will depend on your work coach what your commitments will be. Some will allow phone interviews for work focused interviews.

    If you receive PIP/DLA this isn't affected.

    You maybe better off visiting a local advice agency near you for face to face advice.
    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.
  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Testing team Posts: 7,968

    Scope community team

    Thanks for all your help here @david235 and @poppy123456. @tina1888, I hope they've been able to answer your question but if there's anything you're still unsure of please don't hesitate to ask. :)
    david235 said:

    Perhaps @poppy123456 or someone more familiar with UC than I will know if there is any way for a UC claimant who has established LCWRA on ESA to be exempted from that one-off WfI in any way. It might be possible to have the WfI in a telephone call as a reasonable adjustment, if that helps.
    Those on UC are expected to have an initial appointment (which isn't a WFI), to collect their PSN and provide any evidence such as tenancy agreement or proof of ID if they've been unable to verify online. In some situations reasonable adjustments can be made and they've been known to attend the claimants address to collect evidence and issue PSNs etc. 
    Senior Community Partner
    Scope
  • tina1888tina1888 Member Posts: 85 Courageous
    Hello everyone
    I didnt know how to ad a photo of the last letter I got from esa so I'm going to type it as it is on letter.
    I looked letter out trying to find out what group I'm in but I'm no further forward 

    Your claim for employment and support allowance 
    A change in employment and support allowance rate payable. 

    We have looked at your claim again following a recent change.
    We cannot pay you ESA from 1 aug 17.
    You are not getting anymore income related esa.
    We will credit you with NI contributions while claiming esa.

    Now I dont understand this pre 2014 before marriage I got ESA payment after marriage it stopped. 
    I dont really understand benefits I just took it, it was because I was married I no longer got the benefit. 

    I go to ESA medical whenever they ask me. I am on full pip. So I cant see if it's the wrag group or support group.
    Pre 2014 I never went to many medicals once every 5 years. 
    Since 2014 its changed to ever 12/18  months.
    My health is worse now than it has ever been.
    I have another medical next month and I'm very confused. 
    In the light of this further info can you advise? Sorry I wasn't able to share photo
    Thanx
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    Your claim is Income Related which is why it stopped when you started to live with your partner because Income Related is means tested and your partner working will have meant you wouldn't have been entitled to receive any money.

    I see back in 2017 they started to pay you just your NI credits only towards your state pension. If they are still paying you this and your ESA claim is still open then once your separate from your partner and either of you move out you will be able to start receiving your payments again, as you did previously.

    If your claim hasn't remained opened then you will have to claim Universal Credit.

    To find out for sure then you'll need to ring ESA and ask them if your claim is still "live" and they will tell you.

    If you need further advice once you done this please do come back.
    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.
  • tina1888tina1888 Member Posts: 85 Courageous
    It was in 2014 after we were married they did this. This is just my latest letter.
    From this can you establish what group I'm in?
  • tina1888tina1888 Member Posts: 85 Courageous
    I think it must be open because like I said since 2014 I've been going at least once every 12/18 months for medical.  Before this it was very rarely I went for medical. 
    I just am so confused because I thought they stopped paying just because I got married.  I was still ill with various disabilities. So if you can still get this benefit while married I'm confused as to why they would have stopped mine.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    No, it doesn't give me any clues for what group you may have been in. As you were claiming all Income Related then it could have been either group. The only thing that will tell me what group you were is if you can remember how much you were receiving, this will give me an idea.

    It says they can't pay you anything from August 2017 and not 2014.

    You'll still need to ring to see if your claim is still open. If you haven't received any letters since this then it could be that your claim has closed. Being on NI credits only you would have still needed to be re-assessed when needed because the same rules apply even when you're not receiving any money but i'm only guessing here. They will tell you for sure if your claim is open or closed.
    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.
  • tina1888tina1888 Member Posts: 85 Courageous
    Much appreciated I will give them a call thank you
  • david235david235 Member Posts: 170 Pioneering
    I agree with @poppy123456 (as usual - her answers are often more accurate than mine) - this is one of those situations where you need to ring DWP and talk through the timeline to try to figure out what has happened.

    The first issue to try to understand is when DWP are treating you as single and when they are treating you as "living together as husband and wife". It is possible to be treated as single if you have separated and are still living under the same roof, but DWP would want clear evidence that you had separated your financial affairs at minimum in this scenario.

    There is also a timeline overlaid onto this of assessments (whether you were Work-Related Activity Group or Support Group) and also other issues to do with what benefits you were claiming.


    It might help to use the technique I was taught at university for solving contractual problems - take a piece of paper and put down a timeline of all the events. Drawing the information together in this way helps to show how the situation has changed over time.
  • tina1888tina1888 Member Posts: 85 Courageous
    Much appreciated thank you
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    @david235 thanks! Years of personal experience and research has given me the knowledge.

    Yes, i agree it's possible to be treated as single if you're still living together but it's definitely not an easy or straight forward process. Very complicated and definitely not for an internet forum. If this route is taken then face to face advice is needed.

    @tina1888 you're welcome.
    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.
  • tina1888tina1888 Member Posts: 85 Courageous
    @poppy123456 hi poppy called this morning they said I'm in support group. Said they are paying  national insurance for me that's it.
  • tina1888tina1888 Member Posts: 85 Courageous
    @poppy123456 he said he cant understand why I'm not getting any payment I've been in support  group since 2014. I have to wait for a call from benefit people it can take up to 3 days. Can you please give me any advice because I am clueless.  Thank u
  • tina1888tina1888 Member Posts: 85 Courageous
    @david235 I spoke to them today they said I was in support group. He said I was getting ni contributions.  He said I wasnt getting any money because my Husband worked. I said well I had been advised that it should not matter if my Husband worked if I was in support group I should be getting £111 a week. He seemed to agree. Then said the benefit people would call me within 3 days
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    You have been advised incorrectly. Not everyone in the support group is claiming Contributions based. Lots of people in the support group are claiming all Income Related. Seems highly likely that you were claiming Income Related, which is why you're only receiving NI credits towards your state pension because Income Related is means tested and your partner working has affected the amount you can claim.

    If you separate from your partner and either one of you moves out you need to contact DWP and your ESA payments will be reinstated.
    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.
  • tina1888tina1888 Member Posts: 85 Courageous
    Thank u again for your help. 
Sign in or join us to comment.