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  • FIRST POST
    • Samuraix1
    • By Samuraix1 5th Aug 18, 6:17 PM
    • 6Posts
    • 1Thanks
    Samuraix1
    Booted off my ESA and told to claim UC
    • #1
    • 5th Aug 18, 6:17 PM
    Booted off my ESA and told to claim UC 5th Aug 18 at 6:17 PM
    Hi people, please be gentle, my first post here and I really do not know what to do for the best.


    In short, last September of 2018, my girlfriend wanted to stay with me for so many days in the week as she wanted to go to Uni, if she were to go there from her home (she lives with her mother and is registered there) she just could not go from her house as she has cerebral palsy and scoliosis so the 2 and a half hour drive would have been to much for her, so me and my mum thought it would be good for her to stay with us for her Uni days and then return home for her free days, of course a odd day or 2 for personal reasons with me at my home.



    So, I receive, did receive Income based ESA and the SDP, I have my own disabilities too and can not work because of them. I get PIP, both are the low rates in each area, my mum receives her state pension as she is 80 and gets Attendance Allowance. My partner gets DLA only, no ESA or UC.


    All was good, the council stated as my mum gets AA, my partner could stay for however long she want's to and I did let the ESA and PIP team know as I stated when my partner is with me she also helps in some of my disability needs. Then 3 weeks ago I received a call from the ESA team stating that I could claim, are entitled to the SDP rate along side my ESA, I was delighted of course.



    However, they phoned again wanting more info about myself, I guess to do with the SDP rate, they asked me, so, who lives with you? I was honest and stated my mum and my girlfriend, but my girlfriend only stays so many days during the week for her course as she just can't manage it if she went from her home as it'll be a 2 and a half hour drive away, where as it is only about 50 minutes from my home, so if myself and my mum said no, she would have missed out on a BIG life opportunity, the woman I spoke to seemed to not care about what I stated and said, sorry, we will stop your ESA, just on a temporary basis until we receive a ESA information form that we will send to you, then send it back. I sent it back and they released my ESA money again for that week. Then I received a SMS text message stating, we are looking at your claim and will make a decision in 2 weeks time, we will text you to let you know the outcome. I thought that was weird, so I phoned them again and asked, you have got the info, what the heck is this decision about? They said, oh, they only want to know the details on your girlfriend only, so I thought that was ok and hung up. The next day I receive another SMS text asking me to call them, which I did, they wanted to know what the dates were that she stayed while at UNI, the dates that she broke up from Uni, I quoted that she broke up on the correct date, that she returned home and is living with her mum again until she goes back to Uni around September 23rd, they said, well, please tell us then when she returns, I stated that I would.




    I asked again, what is this decision about as I am very worried now that my benefits may change, but they still claimed that my benefits were safe, nothing would happen to them and that the ONLY THING that would come out of the decision was that if I, the info that I gave them about my girlfriend was true (it was) that she paid for her own food, that she did not have to pay rent as my mum was getting the full rate of rent paid as she was getting AA and that she did not give me 1 single penny towards anything else, and they I hung up, with so much relief.


    They paid me my back dated SDP rate, BUT I noticed for that Friday that they did not pay me my SDP rate for that week, so I phoned them to ask why? I got a guy who stated that they should have, but the dates got all mixed up and that he just released the payment for that day and told me that the money would be in that day, or by 12 mid night. Next day, Saturday, nothing, I waited until Monday and called ESA again and asked why it had not gone in yet? A woman stated, sorry, you do not get ESA anymore, I asked why? She stated, I can't speak to you about it, again I asked why? Because surely you must send a letter out, her reply, go and claim Universal Credit, I stated that just put me out of my misery PLEASE! but got no answers.



    This time, I was worried, and I mean very worried and nervous, so much that I was physically sick 3 times. I phoned the UC line to try to get a few answers but they did not know nothing, 6 hours later, stuck in a few phone calls to ESA again and UC people I was still going nowhere, so I hung up and sent my MP a phone call saying what happened, even she stated that they should not have lied to your face/voice and that she will try to get me answers.


    Now, I am a nervous wreck, I was told a while ago, if I needed to claim UC when it all goes live in my area that they would transition me over and I'd have nothing to worry about.


    I looked up all the triggers that may have caused this and none of them involved my girlfriend staying for so many days a week to go to Uni and nothing else to do with money, as I do know that if she, for example, paid for my internet and phone bill per month, then that money I would have used, I would have saved it, thus that is a trigger and possibly fraud, however, nothing like this has ever happened since she has been here like that. She can't claim UC as she's a full time student and now I'm threating that if I do have no options but to claim UC they may want her and me to claim as a couple, but, we do not live together as a couple, her purpose here is only! to go to Uni.


    Please help someone, my mind and health is already going downhill with all this worry, do I have a right to appeal the ESA decision? My partner has stated that if in the end they did that because of her that she would move out and live in student accommodation so that things will hopefully be ok.
Page 1
    • Alice Holt
    • By Alice Holt 5th Aug 18, 6:48 PM
    • 2,433 Posts
    • 2,831 Thanks
    Alice Holt
    • #2
    • 5th Aug 18, 6:48 PM
    • #2
    • 5th Aug 18, 6:48 PM
    I'd get some help from your local advice centre / CAB immediately you get an ESA decision letter from the DWP.

    You do have a right to appeal the decision.

    The SDP issue should not have caused your ESA to stop. I'm wondering if the DWP think you and you girlfriend are a couple - so your ESA claim should be a joint claim. (Despite the earlier conversation you had with them about living and financial arrangements).
    Have you had an assessment recently?
    Don't make a claim for UC on the basis of a conversation with a DWP call handler.

    It's possible your girlfriend may be able to get advice from:
    https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/how-we-can-help/helplines/disabled-students-helpline
    Because she is affected by this as well as you.

    Try not to worry to much, get some accredited advice, and please don't claim UC until the situation is clearer and you have had advice.
    Contacting your MP was sensible - I'd chase her up to get an answer from the DWP.
    Your local CAB may be able to phone the DWP with you present to establish what has happened, if you don't get a decision letter (which you can appeal) or a ESA payment.

    Couple of other possibilities -
    Make a complaint (about the lack of information & the impact on your health, and very possibly the incorrect advice to claim UC) -
    https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-work-pensions/about/complaints-procedure
    This won't get an immediate answer, but should ensure a DWP employee (Complaints Resolution Manager) with reasonable discretion gets to look at your case.
    A Subject Access request to get all the information from the DWP:
    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/request-your-personal-information-from-the-department-for-work-and-pensions

    What ESA group are you in? Wrag or Support
    Income-based or contribution-based?
    Last edited by Alice Holt; 05-08-2018 at 7:04 PM.
    Alice Holt Forest situated some 4 miles south of Farnham forms the most northerly gateway to the South Downs National Park.
    • poppy12345
    • By poppy12345 5th Aug 18, 7:05 PM
    • 3,578 Posts
    • 3,441 Thanks
    poppy12345
    • #3
    • 5th Aug 18, 7:05 PM
    • #3
    • 5th Aug 18, 7:05 PM
    DWP thinking you are a couple is my thoughts too. Speak to your local CAB or the likes for advice.
    • Bananas123
    • By Bananas123 5th Aug 18, 10:30 PM
    • 302 Posts
    • 132 Thanks
    Bananas123
    • #4
    • 5th Aug 18, 10:30 PM
    • #4
    • 5th Aug 18, 10:30 PM
    maybe because they are a couple ? he has said a few times they are living together

    My partner has stated that if in the end they did that because of her that she would move out and live in student accommodation so that things will hopefully be ok.
    Originally posted by Samuraix1
    as above; op lives with his partner, who is now considering moving out of the joint household....

    ------------

    you don't really have grounds for an argument ? you have confirmed several times ???.

    it is worked out, because couples need less money relatively speaking on the basis of "teamwork", you can't pick and choose like that... it's law.

    -------------

    maybe ask your girlfriend to "live with you - all of time" ? try and make a go of it from your household ?
    Last edited by Bananas123; 05-08-2018 at 10:33 PM.
    • Samuraix1
    • By Samuraix1 5th Aug 18, 10:34 PM
    • 6 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Samuraix1
    • #5
    • 5th Aug 18, 10:34 PM
    • #5
    • 5th Aug 18, 10:34 PM
    Hi Alice I was in the income related group. Is it right that if they do think we are a living together couple, when we are not, I could, as you advised, gather as much evidence as possible (which will be very easy to get) and make an appeal? I read 1 post that someone got it reinstated as the DWP also thought that her BF and her were a living together couple when they were not.


    I have asked my girlfriend to go to the website that you provided to ask them for additional help also. I'll phone my MP back tomorrow and make a appointment with my local CAB also.
    • Samuraix1
    • By Samuraix1 5th Aug 18, 10:42 PM
    • 6 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Samuraix1
    • #6
    • 5th Aug 18, 10:42 PM
    • #6
    • 5th Aug 18, 10:42 PM
    Hi Bananas, no, there is no teamwork, our money is separate. She only gets DLA, which most of that buys her things that she needs, food for when she is home, personal bits, bills, that has nothing to do with me. My ESA only buys me my food, pays my bills, not hers, only mine. She would not qualify for UC, where she lives is in a prime live area for UC, so no chance of ESA for her either. I'm going to do a home course for the Open University in October, so whatever outcome I can't claim UC at all. Law states that if you are a couple, living together full time/part time and that is the prime reason of living together, as a couple then surely then the law will be the law, no questions asked, as I said she is only! here for Uni, not personal "because we want to live together as a couple" she has her home, I have mine, no-one is getting, saving money from the housing benefit, ESA, DLA or PIP because of it
    • Bananas123
    • By Bananas123 5th Aug 18, 11:04 PM
    • 302 Posts
    • 132 Thanks
    Bananas123
    • #7
    • 5th Aug 18, 11:04 PM
    • #7
    • 5th Aug 18, 11:04 PM
    i am meaning how the gouvernment works it out.


    - it is assumed a "couple" has less demand per head then a single person (on the basis they will be helping each other / only need 1 house to keep warm etc - this is why you get less money).


    "People who are living together in a relationship count as a couple" - https://www.entitledto.co.uk/help/single-couple-benefits

    - your girlfriend has been LIVING with you, as you have stated (over and over) as you did to the DWP.

    your only grounds for an argument would be if she was there a maximum of 2 days a week or something (i don't know the law, but i would guess less then 50% of the time, and she had an alternate residual address)).

    --------------

    SO - as she has been living with you, why not ask her to move in on a 24/7 basis and try make a go of it ?
    • Samuraix1
    • By Samuraix1 5th Aug 18, 11:43 PM
    • 6 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Samuraix1
    • #8
    • 5th Aug 18, 11:43 PM
    • #8
    • 5th Aug 18, 11:43 PM
    Hi Bananas, well, that's not an option to live together, my mum has vascular dementia and my girlfriends mum only has a few years left to live, a disorder of the bowls, she only has 60cm of it left, my partner does not! want to live here and why she always returns home. Myself, living my mum as you can imagine is highly stressful for myself and my girlfriend while she attends Uni. In short we won't and can't leave our mum's yet to get on with it. I can understand why the DWP thinks otherwise, but we are doing nothing wrong. I looked under UC, qualifying to get it and you can't be in study or learning, so, I do not know what to do, but I will appeal.
    • Bananas123
    • By Bananas123 5th Aug 18, 11:52 PM
    • 302 Posts
    • 132 Thanks
    Bananas123
    • #9
    • 5th Aug 18, 11:52 PM
    • #9
    • 5th Aug 18, 11:52 PM
    if she doesn't want to live there, then she shouldn't LIVE THERE as it causes a reduction in your benefits.


    i will leave your thread now.


    regards.
    • Samuraix1
    • By Samuraix1 6th Aug 18, 1:07 AM
    • 6 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Samuraix1
    Bananas, I'd rather have nothing and her being able to attend Uni she's half German and people there are very VERY nasty to people like her, the horrendous things that others have called her would make you sick. I don't really want to stray off topic here, but, it's just wrong what has happened. If we were committing benefit fraud and got found out then people can say we don't deserve it.


    So, looks like I wont now be able to study either, great!!! Well done May.
    • Ames
    • By Ames 6th Aug 18, 1:19 AM
    • 17,616 Posts
    • 31,096 Thanks
    Ames
    Bananas, it's a myth that there are a certain number of nights you can/can't stay over before it affects whether or not you're considered a couple.

    Whether or not a couple is living together as man and wife is quite complicated - it looks at shared finances, whether you both maintain separate households, where your bills are registered.

    It's not clear to me whether or not the OP is living with his girlfriend, I think his references to 'living together' are in reference to a couple of days a week in term time only.

    I'd get advice from CAB or Shelter, they'll be able to advise.

    ETA: Why do you think you won't be able to study? You can study and still claim ESA.
    Last edited by Ames; 06-08-2018 at 1:23 AM.
    Unless I say otherwise 'you' means the general you not you specifically.
    • _shel
    • By _shel 6th Aug 18, 2:18 AM
    • 1,475 Posts
    • 2,580 Thanks
    _shel
    Hi Alice I was in the income related group. Is it right that if they do think we are a living together couple, when we are not, I could, as you advised, gather as much evidence as possible (which will be very easy to get) and make an appeal? I read 1 post that someone got it reinstated as the DWP also thought that her BF and her were a living together couple when they were not.


    I have asked my girlfriend to go to the website that you provided to ask them for additional help also. I'll phone my MP back tomorrow and make a appointment with my local CAB also.
    Originally posted by Samuraix1
    your girlfriend plus living in your home = couple! How are you not a couple!
    • Topcat1982
    • By Topcat1982 6th Aug 18, 5:22 AM
    • 384 Posts
    • 417 Thanks
    Topcat1982
    How many days a week does she attend Uni? Is it a full time course?
    • w06
    • By w06 6th Aug 18, 8:11 AM
    • 751 Posts
    • 1,066 Thanks
    w06
    I think I'm right in saying that the reason that your girlfriend is staying with you and the background to it is irrelevant to your arguement. You're going to need to demonstrate that you're not a couple, I'm not sure whether you'll be able to do that.

    Incidentally as a full time student on PIP or DLA it is possible to claim ESA, similar rules apply to Universal Credit as a student but last time I looked there was a blind loop in the process that was making it very difficult to navigate. In an ESA area it's simple though, i did it, student finance will be taken into account in the claim.
    • kingfisherblue
    • By kingfisherblue 6th Aug 18, 8:22 AM
    • 8,057 Posts
    • 17,453 Thanks
    kingfisherblue
    I can see why the DWP may consider you to be a couple. After all, you refer to her as your girlfriend and she lives in your home for at least part of the week. I assume that she shares your bed, rather than it being a platonic relationship. She lives with you for some of the time because it would be too far for her to travel to university each day, but still has to travel for almost an hour - so surely it would be easier for her to live in halls or student accommodation closer to her place of study, but she chooses to live in your home instead.


    I think that it's going to be difficult to prove that you are not a couple now, as you have given every indication that you are.
    • kingfisherblue
    • By kingfisherblue 6th Aug 18, 8:24 AM
    • 8,057 Posts
    • 17,453 Thanks
    kingfisherblue
    Hi people, please be gentle, my first post here and I really do not know what to do for the best.


    In short, last September of 2018, my girlfriend wanted to stay with me for so many days in the week as she wanted to go to Uni, if she were to go there from her home (she lives with her mother and is registered there) she just could not go from her house as she has cerebral palsy and scoliosis so the 2 and a half hour drive would have been to much for her, so me and my mum thought it would be good for her to stay with us for her Uni days and then return home for her free days, of course a odd day or 2 for personal reasons with me at my home.



    So, I receive, did receive Income based ESA and the SDP, I have my own disabilities too and can not work because of them. I get PIP, both are the low rates in each area, my mum receives her state pension as she is 80 and gets Attendance Allowance. My partner gets DLA only, no ESA or UC.


    All was good, the council stated as my mum gets AA, my partner could stay for however long she want's to and I did let the ESA and PIP team know as I stated when my partner is with me she also helps in some of my disability needs. Then 3 weeks ago I received a call from the ESA team stating that I could claim, are entitled to the SDP rate along side my ESA, I was delighted of course.



    However, they phoned again wanting more info about myself, I guess to do with the SDP rate, they asked me, so, who lives with you? I was honest and stated my mum and my girlfriend, but my girlfriend only stays so many days during the week for her course as she just can't manage it if she went from her home as it'll be a 2 and a half hour drive away, where as it is only about 50 minutes from my home, so if myself and my mum said no, she would have missed out on a BIG life opportunity, the woman I spoke to seemed to not care about what I stated and said, sorry, we will stop your ESA, just on a temporary basis until we receive a ESA information form that we will send to you, then send it back. I sent it back and they released my ESA money again for that week. Then I received a SMS text message stating, we are looking at your claim and will make a decision in 2 weeks time, we will text you to let you know the outcome. I thought that was weird, so I phoned them again and asked, you have got the info, what the heck is this decision about? They said, oh, they only want to know the details on your girlfriend only, so I thought that was ok and hung up. The next day I receive another SMS text asking me to call them, which I did, they wanted to know what the dates were that she stayed while at UNI, the dates that she broke up from Uni, I quoted that she broke up on the correct date, that she returned home and is living with her mum again until she goes back to Uni around September 23rd, they said, well, please tell us then when she returns, I stated that I would.




    I asked again, what is this decision about as I am very worried now that my benefits may change, but they still claimed that my benefits were safe, nothing would happen to them and that the ONLY THING that would come out of the decision was that if I, the info that I gave them about my girlfriend was true (it was) that she paid for her own food, that she did not have to pay rent as my mum was getting the full rate of rent paid as she was getting AA and that she did not give me 1 single penny towards anything else, and they I hung up, with so much relief.


    They paid me my back dated SDP rate, BUT I noticed for that Friday that they did not pay me my SDP rate for that week, so I phoned them to ask why? I got a guy who stated that they should have, but the dates got all mixed up and that he just released the payment for that day and told me that the money would be in that day, or by 12 mid night. Next day, Saturday, nothing, I waited until Monday and called ESA again and asked why it had not gone in yet? A woman stated, sorry, you do not get ESA anymore, I asked why? She stated, I can't speak to you about it, again I asked why? Because surely you must send a letter out, her reply, go and claim Universal Credit, I stated that just put me out of my misery PLEASE! but got no answers.



    This time, I was worried, and I mean very worried and nervous, so much that I was physically sick 3 times. I phoned the UC line to try to get a few answers but they did not know nothing, 6 hours later, stuck in a few phone calls to ESA again and UC people I was still going nowhere, so I hung up and sent my MP a phone call saying what happened, even she stated that they should not have lied to your face/voice and that she will try to get me answers.


    Now, I am a nervous wreck, I was told a while ago, if I needed to claim UC when it all goes live in my area that they would transition me over and I'd have nothing to worry about.


    I looked up all the triggers that may have caused this and none of them involved my girlfriend staying for so many days a week to go to Uni and nothing else to do with money, as I do know that if she, for example, paid for my internet and phone bill per month, then that money I would have used, I would have saved it, thus that is a trigger and possibly fraud, however, nothing like this has ever happened since she has been here like that. She can't claim UC as she's a full time student and now I'm threating that if I do have no options but to claim UC they may want her and me to claim as a couple, but, we do not live together as a couple, her purpose here is only! to go to Uni.


    Please help someone, my mind and health is already going downhill with all this worry, do I have a right to appeal the ESA decision? My partner has stated that if in the end they did that because of her that she would move out and live in student accommodation so that things will hopefully be ok.
    Originally posted by Samuraix1

    Quoted, in case it's deleted.
    • Alice Holt
    • By Alice Holt 6th Aug 18, 5:59 PM
    • 2,433 Posts
    • 2,831 Thanks
    Alice Holt
    Hi Alice I was in the income related group. Is it right that if they do think we are a living together couple, when we are not, I could, as you advised, gather as much evidence as possible (which will be very easy to get) and make an appeal? I read 1 post that someone got it reinstated as the DWP also thought that her BF and her were a living together couple when they were not.
    Originally posted by Samuraix1
    There is some useful information on how the DWP look at Living together as a couple here:

    " the criteria adopted by DWP for this purpose which include the following:
    Living in the same household
    Stability of relationship
    Financial support
    Dependent children
    Public acknowledgement
    Sexual relationship"

    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/658225/dmgch11.pdf

    As you can see it's quite nuanced. Your situation would certainly seem challenge-able at appeal

    I'm still puzzled by the suggestion that you should claim UC.
    Alice Holt Forest situated some 4 miles south of Farnham forms the most northerly gateway to the South Downs National Park.
    • Samuraix1
    • By Samuraix1 6th Aug 18, 10:08 PM
    • 6 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Samuraix1
    To add insult to injury I had a letter this morning stating that my next ESA payment will be paid, as the letter was about my bank account, but still stating that a payment will be made, dated the 4th of this month.


    Whatever happens I will not! claim UC, I'll have to just get on with it...
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