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ESA Support Group to UC

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Benefits & Tax Credits
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  • Thanks for all of your help
  • Spoonie_TurtleSpoonie_Turtle Forumite
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    Regarding the list, I didn't do it at the start of my UC claim (thought about it and clicked through the steps several times but never knew what to say) and my work coach just deleted the task when I first saw her :)
  • Hi guys,

    Thought I would give an update on this for information purposes. I did exactly as advised above and when I went for the initial interview, somebody told my work coach that my ESA does not run out til 2020.

    Agreed and signed a claimant commitment etc, with the agreement to find voluntary work.

    About a week or so later I received a letter from the DWP that my contribution based ESA has stopped, although I have heard nothing about a reassessment.

    I have sent my work coach a couple of messages regarding help with CV and about a few voluntary jobs I have found which require a minimum commitment (to see if this is acceptable) but I've had no reply.

    Next week I will find out how much UC I will receive and am expecting the minimum which is a shame as it gives me no time to sort things out and I can't really justify claiming ESA again given how I currently feel.

    But I will come back and update if there is any interest?

    Thanks again Poppy and Calcotti for your time and advice.
  • calcotticalcotti Forumite
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    What reason have DWP given for stopping contribution based ESA? That doesn’t sound right unless they have made a decision you do not have Limited Capability for Work (which require an assessment) or believe that you have been working for 16 hours or more or earning more than £131.50/week.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Some rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • edited 14 November 2019 at 12:11AM
    alwayssmile123alwayssmile123 Forumite
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    edited 14 November 2019 at 12:11AM
    Hi Calcotti,

    I haven't worked in 4 years and the letter is actually contradictory/confusing. It effectively says:

    We cannot pay you ESA from .... This is because you are required to claim Universal Credit

    We may still credit you with NI contributions whilst claiming ESA

    To continue to receive ESA you may need to attend a work focussed interview with a personal Advisor. You will be notified separately if you need to attend.

    It has been confirmed that you have limited capability for work. The extra money you will get is shown on the ESA award page.

    I'd you disagree with our record of your contributions, please tell us at once. We will check our records and tell you at once,...

    Unless they changed it to income based without writing to me?

    I received another letter telling me that the contributory element of ESA can count as taxable income.

    For the period of %%% to %%% in the tax year 19/20 you received £%%% of which £0.00 was taxable.

    So I guess it did change to income based if £0.00 is taxable :(
  • hucksterhuckster Forumite
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    Give ESA a call and ask them to explain.
    The comments I post are personal opinion. Always refer to official information sources before relying on internet forums. If you have a problem with any organisation, enter into their official complaints process at the earliest opportunity, as sometimes complaints have to be started within a certain time frame.
  • edited 14 November 2019 at 8:59AM
    calcotticalcotti Forumite
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    edited 14 November 2019 at 8:59AM
    About a week or so later I received a letter from the DWP that my contribution based ESA has stopped
    We cannot pay you ESA from .... This is because you are required to claim Universal Credit

    These are not exactly the same thing. Have you had two letters or is it just the wording of your posts?
    So I guess it did change to income based if £0.00 is taxable :(
    If none was taxable that does sound as if none of it was contribution based. Are you sure you were in the Support Group? If you were in the Work Related Group rather than the Support Group then the contribution based part would have run out after 12 months. You would need to be in the Support Group for it to continue longer.

    Bear in mind that if you were to continue getting ESA it would be deducted in full from the UC so whether or not you get ESA will make no difference to your overall income. It will however disrupt your cashflow as without ESA all your income will be monthly rather than fortnightly and there is the initial 5 week wait for UC unless you request an advance (but bear in mind that an advance has to be paid back and therefore reduces your future payments).
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Some rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • edited 14 November 2019 at 11:48PM
    alwayssmile123alwayssmile123 Forumite
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    edited 14 November 2019 at 11:48PM
    Thanks for replies.

    I assumed that I was still on contribution based ESA as the letter I kept said that, but it seems that I was wrong, and the letter I recently received made no mention of it being contribution based (sorry for saying this).

    I am definitely 100% in the support group though (or was until UC). I did take out the advance and cash flow is OK, despite spending most of it on my new place and the pain will come from repaying, but cest la vie.

    I suppose my main concern now is if they tell me I can't accept the voluntary role (due to the 6 month minimum commitment if offered), and I've booked an interview with them next week to discuss.

    Sounds like from above posts, that I will not actually be required to look for work until I'm called in for reassessment? But I don't really want to argue with them and am actually dying to get back into work right now, although I am worried/anxious.

    Main issue now is, this voluntary position is a way in to a sector I actually feel passionate about entering and the organisation is understanding to health conditions. Combined with no recent work history/references it would be a huge shame not just for me, but for the DWP, because I generally struggle to hold down jobs.

    Thanks again for all the advice, especially Calcotti, and sorry for giving so much wrong info which has wasted your time.
  • edited 15 November 2019 at 8:53AM
    calcotticalcotti Forumite
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    edited 15 November 2019 at 8:53AM
    .. sorry for giving so much wrong info which has wasted your time.
    Benefits are very confusing and understanding letters is often challenging even if one knows what they are meant to be saying. No need to apologise.

    Good luck with the volunteering. Unlike ESA which would have restricted your hours of volunteering to less than 16 hours/week there is no such restriction in UC. In UC the only limit is that hours spent volunteering can only count as a maximum of 50% of your work search requirement. In your case you have LCWRA (provided that DWP transfer across your Support Group status correctly) and therefore have no work search requirement anyway. Be aware that depending on the nature of the volunteering and the proposed hours this may prompt a reassessment of you capability for Work sooner than might otherwise have been the case.
    Additional note to clarify ESA entitlement.

    If you were originally on contribution based ESA and have been in Support Group throughout you should still be on contribution based ESA. If you were in the WRAG for more than 365 days then your contribution based ESA would have ended and you would have switched entirely to income based. If you were in the WRAG but for less than 365 days then you would still be entitled to contribution based ESA.

    However, as noted previously, if you getting UC it makes no difference to your overall income, only to the pattern of payment and the type of NI credits you get.Also as noted above any volunteering would be restricted to under 16 hours in any week on ESA.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Some rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • Many thanks Calcotti,

    I was always in the support group (never in WRAG), and clearly thought I was still in contribution based with an income related top up because I don't recall receiving a letter telling me otherwise. But my ESA was stopped (as per the letter stated in above post) and the date did coincide with the start date of my UC claim.

    Received two messages on my UC journal today, one asking to confirm if I had any gaps in employment for the 12 months prior to claiming UC (I answered yes as I haven't worked at all, and if I lived with anyone during that period (which I said no to), and the other one which is more worrying as 1, I'm no longer receiving ESA and 2, because the ESA department are the ones who stopped it:


    Some other benefits can affect how much Universal Credit you get. You can continue to claim these benefits, but we will adjust your Universal Credit payment. Your statement shows you how we do this.

    Our records show that you are getting:
    Employment and Support Allowance

    If you think this is wrong
    If you no longer get this benefit you should contact the office you claimed it from. Tell them you're now getting Universal Credit and to update their records.

    The benefits that affect Universal Credit
    Jobseeker's Allowance
    Employment and Support Allowance
    Carer's Allowance
    Maternity Allowance
    Bereavement Allowance (including Widowed Parent's Allowance)
    Widow's Pension (including Widowed Mother's Allowance)
    State Pension
    Incapacity Benefit
    Severe Disablement Allowance
    Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
    If you are also getting one or more of these benefits as well as the ones we already know about, you must contact the office you claim them from. Tell them you're now getting Universal Credit and to update their records.
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