Benefits entitlements

Sorry to ask, but there is a world of experience on here,so here goes.

Im going to be medically discharged 6 Dec and ive been told my ability to work again will be pretty much zero. I had never claimed a penny in my life until i got ms then i was told to apply for PIP which i did and was awarded standard rate for both for 4 years which i was happy with others told me i should have contested it but im ok with that award at the moment.

When im discharged ill receive an army pension and a lump sum as well as PIP, my question is and i feel bad asking but am i entitled to ESA as someone told me i was, ive no idea what it entails how much it is or anything else.

After most of my life being in the Army and being well paid and not being able to work anymore the thought of being retired at 52 scares me,and i know im very lucky to be able to draw on a pension at that age and receive a lump sum is more than most but i just need to know if there is anything else i will be alowed to claim.

Best wishes and thanks in advance for any info.

Iain x


make an appointment with welfare rights or CAB and ask about your entitlement.

they will help with the forms too.

it’s a massive deal retiring early.

good luck

Thanks Carole . I cant believe im really so green when it comes to benefits i may or may not be entitled too. Ive told friends id rather fly under the radar where benefits are concerned , as in if my pension pays my bills then thats good enough for me my friends are saying “Iain youve worked all your life your entitled to claim for this and that” and every little bit helps.

Ill take your advice and ring the CAB and see what they have to say.

Thanks x

do that iain

there’s no shame in claiming for that you are entitled to.

good luck!!

Hello Iain

Yes, you should be able to claim ESA. But (big fat unfair BUT), they reduce your ESA by a proportion of the amount of your pension payments. So once you have been assessed as being in the ‘Support Group’ the weekly payment is £109.65. The amount you get in the ‘Work Group’ is less and the amount you get while waiting to be assessed is less still.

But, the DWP will reduce your ESA according to the amount of pension you receive.

If you receive contribution-based ESA and have a gross pension income of more than £85 a week, the amount of benefit payable will be reduced by half of the excess (the excess being the weekly amount of your pension less £85). I imagine that you would be eligible for ‘contributions based ESA’ because it’s based on your National Insurance contributions for the previous 2 years.

The excess is the difference between £85 and the actual pension income. For example, for a pension income of £100, the excess is £15. The amount of ESA payable is reduced by half of that, which is £7.50.

However, if your pension is £200 per week, the excess would be £200 less £85 = £115, divide this by 2 and your ESA would be reduced by £57.50 and you’d get £109.65 - £57.50 = £52.15 per week.

So it’s all rather complicated, and in part depends on your having been assessed as rightfully being in the Support Group. And they figure this out from your completing a great long form known as the Work Capability Assessment.

It’s actually taken me ages to find this information out about the amount your ESA is reduced by your pension. Never let it be said that the bloody DWP make things easy.

I suggest that you see if you can get some proper advice from the CAB or another welfare rights advisor.



Another thing to bear in mind regarding ESA is that unlike PIP, it is means tested. So alongside your existing PIP claim/the income from your pension, any savings you accumulate will impact your claim for ESA. Payments are lowered on a sliding scale starting at £6k until they are cut off entirely at £16k, as detailed here:

Also, it could just be the assessment centre near me but my past claims for ESA have been absolutely hellish when it came to the assessment stage. Make sure you get help from welfare rights when preparing your claim, and get a home assessment with a friend/family member present if at all possible.

That depends on how old Iain is and how many years of NI entitlement he has accrued. I retired on a local government pension which is above the limit so I do not receive anything financially from my ESA. However, because I only had 24 years NI entitlment, the ESA means that my NI entitlement continues to be incremented so I will qualify for a full pension when I reach retirement age ( assuming they still exist )


This applies only if you are getting income related ESA. I suspect Iain would be entitled to contributions based, because he was employed and will have paid sufficient NI during the previous 2 years.

So if you are on income related ESA, your capital is important, and capped at £16,000. But on contributions based ESA, your capital is ignored. The only income that is taken into account is pensions. This is why Neil doesn’t qualify (pension too high), and why I do (no pension). But my savings or capital are ignored because I get contributions based ESA.

But both of us have our National Insurance paid so we’ll both qualify for a full state pension if we are ever allowed to claim it, should we live that long.


Right, that makes sense.

Ignore my post then!

It’s still useful information for other people who are claiming income related ESA. All information about benefits is helpful. The buggering DWP make things so flipping complicated that whatever information we have, we need to share because it’s so difficult to get to grips with the whole system. This is part of the reason why Iain is flung in at the deep end and is flailing about like a drowning man with MS and no life jacket.


Superb post and information Sue thank you very much one and all for all your input.

Ive done 30 years service will get a decent pension and a years tax free lump sum as a goodbye. The military compensation / medical pension system is as bad for giving you anything as state benefits in civy street . Im being discharged with SPMS i know of a lad who was discharged with the worst of all MND and neither one of us was entitled to AFCS = Armed Forces Compensation Scheme . We both served all over the world and in conflicts but the military says its not down to them, i dont really have a problem with that but i also know an Army clerk who has served 7 years has not seen the outside of his office and claimed PTSD he was paid twenty grand and three hundred a month for life, the world has gone mad.

So to put it in a nutshell military life/ civy street is the same its mad lol.

Once again thanks one and all your all stars.

Love and Wishes Iain x

To be honest Iain, I assumed that from your previous posts. So given that, I made the assumption from the get go that you’d end up spending hours filling in forms and gathering evidence for nothing.

It’s actually worth talking to the CAB to see how if you can get your NI contributions paid anyway. At least then you’d get slightly more state pension eventually.

Enjoy what you can for your enforced early end to working life. And keep in touch with us on here.

You already know that we don’t always take things too seriously, and if you can bear to come late to the conversation, join us in the Brain Fog Thread. I suspect you’d fit in with us. Just don’t worry about what went before, we have.


Sue my memory is so bad these days i cant remember what ever happened in brain fog the last time lol . What i do remember is what a fantastic site this is and a font of endless help and education from people in the same boat who have been there and got the badge . I cant talk highly enough of the people on here who give there help and wisdom from years of experience.

See you in Brain Fog :relaxed:

Love and Best Wishes to everyone.


When I had to stop work I got ESA until I was medically retired I then got pension credit off both types savings and guaranteed now get state pension as well as private pension still get a little pension credit ,iff your partner cares for you and gets carers allowance that will help with pension credit .


Claiming ESA is very important - even if your award post receiving your occupational pension is £0.00 (like mine!), you are still credited with National Insurance contributions that go towards your state pension. If you are 52, it’s an important consideration. Do it, and do not feel embarrassed about claiming.

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Yes,never forget the Ni stamp issue,you need 35 full years to get full pension and lets be honest if that changes its only going to go go one way to match the higher retirement age.

I supported my wife through a tribunal for ESA thinking as the year was up that she was getting the payments that it was just a matter of principle and those stamps to gain but she got put in the support group? so she gets ongoing payments.Some time later i nearly had a heart attack when i read about savings etc worried we will owe most of it back as i am managing to save but i think i eventually worked out(and Sue confirms here i think)that as she was on contribution based the savings are ok!

Iain looks like there is loads of really useful and detailed info on this thread for you make a decision on weather its worth it based on your personal circumstances,but if it works for you,absolutely you should go for it,Why not?

Hello Iain, firstly thank you for serving in the forces for us all. I haven’t been able to work since the age of 35 and whilst I truly do not miss working, boy do I miss my money, I truly do, now at th age of 40, I am Ill health retired, however haven’t even looked into the rigmoral of it, it does seem our government gives with the left and snatch straight back, so I may as wait another 5 years!!