Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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Income related ESA has been reduced due to my parents helping me pay my rent - help!!!

Hi guys,

I had to go through a random spot check from the DWP relating to my ESA, and as the guy went through my bank statements, he picked up on a chunk of money from my parents (£220 each month). He asked if it was a regular payment, and I was honest and said yes, and that it covers the extra rent amount that my housing benefit doesn't.

I have since received a letter from the ESA department reducing my benefit by £60 per week - completely negating the amount coming in from my parents, and I will now be unable to cover the rent.

What do I do?! Obviously my parents aren't happy continuing to financially help me if its not going to make a difference (my dad is now retired so they are far from wealthy) - and I am literally going to be unable to meet my rent costs.

I know I will need to call and change my circumstances to tell them that my parents will no longer be able to give me a regular amount of money due to him retiring, but it will then still leave me in a position where I am over £200 short each month for rent.

Is there a way to get around this? The person visiting told me it would have been fine if I was given one off 'gifts' or irregular 'gifts' but because it was coming into my account each month it counts as income.

I should also add I am totally baffled when in theory I could earn more then £60 without it affecting my benefits - yet im being penalised because my parents are toping up for my rent rather then getting it via work. This whole system makes no sense.

All advice and help on this would be massively appreciated!!

Many thanks,


  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger

    Yes, gifts such as money are not classed as income BUT if the money is received regularly into your bank account then it could be classed as income and this is what's happened here. What you should have done was ask your parents to pay your landlord directly and then it wouldn't have been classed as income because it wouldn't have entered your bank. They could still do this and then you won't receive any reduction in your ESA.

    That's rather a large shortfall of rent you have there. Are you under 35 without a DLA or PIP award so can only claim for the share rate of local housing allowance? It's possible you could claim for a discretionary housing payment to help with the shortfall of rent but it's not guaranteed that you'll get this and if you do, it's only paid for a short period of time and then you have to reapply. See link. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/claiming-discretionary-housing-payments/claiming-discretionary-housing-payments

    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 @lottiekins. This must be really worrying. I'd recommend looking into a DHP like Poppy suggested and get in touch with ESA to let them know you won't be receiving the money any more.
    If you can answer the questions regarding PIP and whether you're under 35 we could get a better understanding of your situation. 
    Senior Community Partner
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