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Which ESA do I need, and will I move from tax credits to UC?

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Which ESA do I need, and will I move from tax credits to UC?

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Benefits & Tax Credits
5 replies 791 views
FroglingFrogling Forumite
1.2K posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Benefits & Tax Credits
I'm looking for some advice on ESA as, despite having read up on it on the website, it's as clear as mud to me.

I've been working part-time for the last few years, and had planned to go full-time once my youngest started school last September. However, 18 months ago I developed pneumonia and as a result of that, I now have a long-term illness. I have been off work for almost 6 months, so my SSP will soon come to an end, although my employer is holding my job open for me until November.

I was working 14 hours per week, and my average weekly salary was £134. My husband has cut his hours at work down to 25 hours a week, as I need extra help and care. We have three children, and currently claim tax credits. I have checked my NI records online, and they show as full year credits for the last few years, and for 2018-2019 as £29.92 from paid employment and 52 weeks NI credits.

What I wanted to ask is, which ESA do I apply for, and will it trigger a move from tax credits onto Universal Credit? I'm struggling to understand from reading about it on the government website - new-style, contributions argh! I have contacted CAB, and they have arranged to come out to my home at the start of June to discuss ESA, PIP and finances with me, but I'd like to get some idea of what I need to do in the meantime.

Apologies for the rambling post, I thought it best to include some details about my situation. I would appreciate any help and advice given, I'm hoping that gaining an understanding of these things will stop me worrying so much about everything.


  • SystemSystem
    177.7K posts
    10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    OK so Contributions Based is based on your NI contributions. Providing you've got enough you can claim this for either 6 or 12 months, I forget which. It does not take into account your other half's income. If you haven't enough contributions or the contributions based ESA period ends then you go onto income based which does take your partners income into account.
  • poppy12345poppy12345 Forumite
    9.3K posts
    Fifth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    It's New Style ESA you need to apply for as all areas are now a full UC area. The years that apply are March 2016 to April 2018 for NI credits.

    This is paid for 365 days unless placed into the Support Group then it's paid for as long as you remain in the group. Your husband working will not affect this.

    You'll need fit/sick notes from your GP and your SSP1 from your employer to be able to claim this. You can claim it 3 months before your SSP ends but payments won't start until it ends. Payments are £73.10 per week.

    It won't trigger a move to UC unless you need to claim for help with housing benefit.
  • calcotticalcotti Forumite
    8K posts
    Tenth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    When you apply for new style ESA DWP May tell you that you should apply for UC. Be clear that you do not want to do this, any claim forUC will end your tax credits.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Some rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • Alice_HoltAlice_Holt Forumite
    3.8K posts
    1,000 Posts Fourth Anniversary Name Dropper

    "When you ring the helpline, you may be talking to someone that does not have sufficient training to understand that New Style ESA exists. They may tell you that you need to claim Universal Credit (even if you are not eligible to claim UC!)

    If you are unfortunate enough to encounter a call handler that fell asleep during the New Style ESA part of their training, politely insist that it is New Style ESA you wish to claim and that you do not need or wish to start a claim for Universal Credit by itself. The call handler may try to give you the ESA helpline number, this will be incorrect as you cannot claim for the old version of Contribution based ESA in a full service Universal Credit area. Again, you will need to politely explain this to the call handler and insist that you talk to a manager. Please, please be persistent.

    Many claimants are wrongly being advised they can only claim Universal Credit and in some instances this is leaving the individuals financially worse off. We cannot stress enough, how important it is to ensure that you claim for the right benefit and don’t assume that the call handler must be correct if they tell you that there is no such thing as ESA in a Universal Credit Full Service Area. "
    Alice Holt Forest situated some 4 miles south of Farnham forms the most northerly gateway to the South Downs National Park.
  • FroglingFrogling Forumite
    1.2K posts
    Thanks to everyone who took the time to reply. I'm going to assume that my NI credits count as being enough, It's a huge relief to see that we won't have to transfer onto Universal Credit. My employer has promised me that my SSP1 form will arrive this week, so I shall ring up to apply once it gets here.
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