advice on claiming esa please

Hi everyyone

Please could you help me. I have ppms and receive dla and carers allowance which I’m paid as my husbands carer as he is also disabled. I’m now finding the care he needs too much to cope with on my own as his illness has reached an advanced stage and need to ask for outside help for him. I would like to claim esa instead of carers allowance as it pays far more and I think I should be entitled to it. I’m not sure which way is best to apply, by phone or by getting the forms? My husband has recently moved onto esa from incapacity benefit and receives the contributions type rather than the income type. As I have been his carer since 2008 I am hoping that I too could have the same one as my contributions should have been paid by the dwp during that period of time? Am I correct in thinking this? We did have savings of £16,000 which since last October have now dwindled to just under £1,000 due to funding our sons university education and thar was what we had saved the money for. I’m trying to sort this all out now before my husband loses his battle with his illness and I find that I lose all of our income and only have my dla to exist on. You advice would be appreciated.

Thanks Maryx

I phoned up dwp and asked them to help me with advise that is what they are there for . Hope you get on ok

I recommend you speaking to the CAB. Do not apply for ESA without help from someone who has experience in it. The benefitsandwork website is worth joining if you decide to do it yourself - it’s about £20 for a year’s membership. The form looks straightforward, but it is anything but :frowning: Good luck. Karen x

hi marya,

i have a feeling you can have both!

i was diagnosed last november and all we get at present is ESA. i have claimed for DLA and my wife has claimed for carers allowance as she is my full time carer. they are reviewing my appeal, apparently it’s normal for them to say ‘no’ after at the first time of asking!

i asked them if the ESA would change once i’m on DLA and he said ‘no, they’re totally independant from each other’ so the ESA remains the same.

the advice i was given when filling out forms is, whenever answering questions about life or illness was to think about your worst day’s and talk about those.

i hope that’s some help,



Hi Myra,

I just wanted to comment on the income based/contribution based ESA.

If you have paid enough NI contributions in the last 3 years everyone is entitled to 12 months contribution based ESA. If you are in the support group contribution based continues after 12 months but in the WRAG you would become subject to income rules after 12 months.

To assess if you would get any payment on the income based ESA the DWP look at all the money coming into the household (Not DLA) and compare it to the figure they government deem that you need to live on. This figure for a couple is around £120.00 p/w. (A little higher with disability premiums) A single person on ESA gets around £105.00 p/w . ( this is applied £1 for £1) Thus you would not get full benefit on income based ESA.

My point, somewhat rambling, is that after a year you might not be better off on ESA than on carer’s allowance. I don’t have access to all your information or up to date DWP figures so before you do anything I would ask your local CAB to do a “Better off calculation” to see what is your best option.

If the feel that ESA is the best way forward they will advise you how to fill in the form. (But join Benefits and Work too – the info is very good)


PS If the DWP knew about your erstwhile savings expect some hard questions about how you spent it. They will want to check that its not stuffed under your floorboards or that you didn’t spent it just in order to become eligible for benefit

Thank you all for your advice. Before I had read your replies I had rung the dwp this morning to fill in the esa form over the phone. But there was a technical hitch and the papers are being sent out to me. I’m thanking my lucky stars that this happened as after reading Janes reply I must admit that I think she may be correct and we could end up worse off! Apart from that there is all the stress involved with the application process and interviews. I really don’t need extra stress at the moment as I’m concentrating on my husbands health and can’t afford to be out of action as well! So I have decided to hold hard for the present time. A BIG thankyou from me.