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  • FIRST POST
    • Katekitty01
    • By Katekitty01 26th Aug 19, 4:24 PM
    • 4Posts
    • 0Thanks
    Katekitty01
    ESA Support Group and Self-employment
    • #1
    • 26th Aug 19, 4:24 PM
    ESA Support Group and Self-employment 26th Aug 19 at 4:24 PM
    Hi,
    Please forgive me if this has been covered elsewhere, I've had a scan through and can't see any threads from anybody asking the same questions.

    I could really do with some advice and/or signposting.

    I have multiple physical and mental health problems/disorders and disabilities and was in receipt of DLA (both components at higher rates), Incapacity Benefit and Severe Disablement Allowance since 1996 until the benefit changes, since when I have been awarded PIP (enhanced rates of both components) and Contribution-based ESA (in the Support Group). I am 49 years old and my husband, who is 72, used to be my carer full-time and received Carers Allowance until he turned 65 and claimed his State Pension. He also gets the guarantee element of Pension Credit, which isn't a fortune but it does mean we are entitled to Housing Benefit, free dental and eye treatment and full Council Tax Support.

    I spend much of my time, when I'm physically well enough to be up and about, doing various art and craft hobbies which help a little with my mental health problems by keeping my mind distracted which often help to relieve some of the worst symptoms.

    I would like to be able to sell some of the things I make and always used to dream of having my own business but due to the fact that my health prevents me doing my hobbies full-time, obviously I'll never be able to make enough money to feed us and keep a roof over our heads.

    My husband also receives the higher rate of DLA which is used for our Motability car and we have so far avoided being changed to Universal Credit as our circumstances haven't changed, but if they did i understand we would automatically have to claim Universal Credit and would be worse off.

    Is there any way that I can legally sell my creations, either as a sole trader or a limited business without having to lose more than I might make by selling them? I am also subject to a Debt Relief Order, the moratorium period ends in mid-December, so I know that if I were to start a limited company I would have to wait 'til then to do it.

    I'm not a money grabber, or greedy, I'd love e to have been able to work for the last 2 decades and into the future but that's just not been possible and things are unlikely to change (without a miracle!) but at the same time I don't want to leave my husband and myself a lot worse off just because I want to be able to sell things I make.

    Any and all advice or suggestions would be really appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.
Page 1
    • Alice Holt
    • By Alice Holt 26th Aug 19, 6:09 PM
    • 3,382 Posts
    • 3,935 Thanks
    Alice Holt
    • #2
    • 26th Aug 19, 6:09 PM
    • #2
    • 26th Aug 19, 6:09 PM
    First thoughts -
    Look at permitted work under ESA
    https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/sick-or-disabled-people-and-carers/employment-and-support-allowance/while-youre-getting-esa/working-while-getting-esa/
    Note that any permitted work needs to be approved in advance.

    In theory it's possible, but the DWP could decide that your ability to do permitted work contradicts the reasons you were placed in the Support Group (SG). And, of course, a move out of the SG would bring your Contribution Based ESA to an eventual end (it's limited to 52 weeks if in the WRAG).
    So it needs careful thought.

    Any profits earned would reduce the couples rate of Pension Credit you currently receive (as this is means tested).

    I presume your ESA is counted included as household income, in the calculation of the PC you receive?

    As you are receiving PC as a couple, you don't need to worry about UC (as a couple). UC is a working age benefit. If your ESA ceased, the PC you jointly receive should increase to compensate.

    Is there an local charity that could benefit from your work?
    It might be worth exploring this before looking at setting up as a sole trader / ltd company. As you could find both these options expensive and rather daunting (accounting records / legal structure / tax returns / insurance / etc).
    Alice Holt Forest situated some 4 miles south of Farnham forms the most northerly gateway to the South Downs National Park.
    • Katekitty01
    • By Katekitty01 26th Aug 19, 6:40 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Katekitty01
    • #3
    • 26th Aug 19, 6:40 PM
    • #3
    • 26th Aug 19, 6:40 PM
    Thanks Alice,
    There's a lot to think about and consider there.
    I always though that being in the Support Group meant that if I did voluntary work (as in making things for a charity) the DWP would class me as being able to work, even though it would only be making things on a very hit and miss basis, due to how my health was at any given time. So if I did make things and give them to a charity to raise money for them then I'd be placed into the WRAG, is that not right?
    I really am grateful for you taking the time to reply and in such detail too.
    • Alice Holt
    • By Alice Holt 26th Aug 19, 7:27 PM
    • 3,382 Posts
    • 3,935 Thanks
    Alice Holt
    • #4
    • 26th Aug 19, 7:27 PM
    • #4
    • 26th Aug 19, 7:27 PM
    I always though that being in the Support Group meant that if I did voluntary work (as in making things for a charity) the DWP would class me as being able to work, even though it would only be making things on a very hit and miss basis, due to how my health was at any given time. So if I did make things and give them to a charity to raise money for them then I'd be placed into the WRAG, is that not right?
    Originally posted by Katekitty01
    You can do permitted work / permitted volunteering regardless of which group you are in. It doesn't necessarily been that the DWP will assume you are capable of work. It was designed to enable people to try out work to see if they were ready to cope with the world of work.
    There is a different form to complete for permitted volunteering.

    However, I wouldn't see donating craft-made things to a charity as "volunteering" as such. As you said in your first post making such objects helps your mental health. Rather I would view it as a helpful hobby that could be mutually beneficial.
    Alice Holt Forest situated some 4 miles south of Farnham forms the most northerly gateway to the South Downs National Park.
    • Katekitty01
    • By Katekitty01 26th Aug 19, 8:05 PM
    • 4 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Katekitty01
    • #5
    • 26th Aug 19, 8:05 PM
    • #5
    • 26th Aug 19, 8:05 PM
    Yes, both of those points make sense and are good ones
    Thanks for your help
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