Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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Not sure if I’m on contribution or income based

I have been getting ESA since I was 16. But I cannot remember or find it in any letters if I am in the contribution or income related group, but I don’t want to ring the DWP because I’m nervous that asking questions and contacting them will trigger an early move to Universal credits before the migration, which means I will lose a lot of money not having the transitional protection.

i get £250 every two weeks and do not have to attend work related activity, just have a reward review every 2/3 years. 

I have never been able worke so this leads me to think that I MUST be on income related esa, as contribution is based on payments into national insurance, which can’t be any for me if I haven’t ever worked. Is this correct? Thanks.

Also, does anyone know if reward review counts as change of circumstances and or applying for a new benefit (as this is what triggers early migration on UC). 
Thankyou. Very confused but scared to ring DWP to ask and my mum (my carer) keeps telling me not to worry until I receive a letter but I can’t not worry because I have GAD and so I worry extensively about absolutely everything to the point of panic attacks.

Any help would be great. Thankyou 


  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    edited January 2020
    HI and welcome,

    Just so that you know, ringing DWP will most definitely not prompt a move to Universal Credit because that's not the way it works and is not classed as a change of circumstances.

    That amount of money tells me that you are in the Support Group but it could be Contributions based with an income related top up, or all Income Related.

    As i have no idea of your age then if you transferred from Incapacity benefit to ESA then it's possible you could be claiming Contributions based with an income related top up. If you didn't transfer from Incapacity benefit then all your claim will be Income Related.

    Just to also put your mind at rest because you're not claiming a Severe disability premium then claiming UC will not make you worse off each month. As you're in the support group for ESA then if you claimed UC then your ESA award would transfer to UC and you would be placed into the same group, which is LCWRA and this pays more money each month than ESA Support Group Income Related. Lots of people automatically think that they will be worse of when claiming UC but this isn't always the case, some are better off claiming UC.

    Claiming UC if you're over 25 and with LCWRA you would receive £654 per month.

    If you're under 25 then UC with the LCWRA element it's £617.97 per month.

    Claiming ESA Support Group worked out as a monthly payment is £556 per month

    Hope this helps.
    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

    Hi @kel24
    How are you getting on? I hope Poppy's detailed response was helpful to you and you've been able to determine whether you are on income-related or contribution-based ESA.
    Senior Community Partner
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