Contribution based ESA

Hi all, Hope one of you experts can pls enlighten on this. I have been put in support group with my claim for contribution based ESA and awarded £31 pw, my carer allowance has been reduced to £29 pw, and I am therefore no better off at all. I have an occupational pension so understand my award would be reduced but it doesn’t seem right that I receive nothing for my 36yrs of full NI contributions? I have a few disabled friends who are in support group who migrated in from incapacity benefit and receive an amount on top of their benefit based on their NI contributions whilst working, they have occupational pensions also. Has the assessment changed now ? I’m wondering if I shouldn’t have bothered going through such stress and hassle to claim something which it turns out I’m not entitled to? Thanx for reading x

I have recently applied for contribution based ESA and was placed in the support group. I was medically retired and have a small occupational pension due but really struggled to find the correct information about how this would affect my ESA. I spoke to DWP and they told me the wrong information! In the end I telephoned a disability benefits helpline and they looked it up and rang me back.
I found the following on one of the websites The figure may not be up to date. page 8 of

£108.15 if you are in the support group.
Your contribution-based ESA may be reduced if you have gross income from
an occupational or personal pension of more than £85 a week. For every £1
of pension over £85, you lose 50 pence of benefit.

Other types of income and capital do not affect
contribution-based ESA.
You may get a transitional addition to your contribution-based ESA if you
have been transferred to ESA from another sickness benefit (see Section 12).
Contribution-based ESA is taxable. !!!

You could check it out with the CAB or a disabillity helpline - this information needs to be available so people can make informed decisions. Whoops just fell off my soap box
Helen x

The rules regarding pensions and income with regard to IB and now ESA have changed over the years. It all depends on when you first made your claim. For example when I first claimed IB occupational pensions were disregarded and I got a top up based on my income. Those benefits have been “grandfathered” but they will disappear over time as we won’t get rises until the rates are at parity.

The DWP will not pay carer’s allowance and ESA they will only pay the higher benefit. Sometimes it is difficult to see what is going on because they carry on paying both at a reduced rate. If you stopped claiming carer’s allowance your ESA would go up to the full rate less any deductions for your occupational pension. (so in a roundabout way you are getting £60.00 p/w ESA not £31)

It is frustrating to compare ESA rates with friends who get a higher rate but those higher rates will disappear over the next few years.

Thanks all of you I’m a lot clearer now x

Can I ask what you mean when you say you are in the support group? I am expecting to be sick retired from work sometime this year and will have all this to face, quite frankly it scares me rigid. Jan

unless things havew changed any funds be it pension ,savings, exta homes are calculated within the ESA calculations, i do not receive anything because my hubby an I saved for a rainy day, and boy it is puring now

thats not true for everyone,it depends when you started to claim incapacity benefit i started claiming it in 1992,so my private pension wont affect my ESA ,(if i go in to the support group) when i am transfered to ESA,its called ‘grandfather rights’ it took a long time to find that out too.

There are two groups within ESA. The support group is for people who have a level of disability that means they will never work again. The support group is paid a slightly higher rate of benefit but the main advantage is that ESA is based on National Insurance calculations indefinitely. That means you still get it no matter what other income is coming into the household (occupational pensions are dealt with as explained by Helsy above)

The other group within ESA is the Work Related Activity Group. The premise for this is that in 12 months you may be able to go back to work!!! In the WRAG payment based on your NI contributions is just for 12 months. After that it becomes a means tested benefit (income based) and any money coming into the household is added up (savings, partners income, every £1.00 of pensions )If you have more money per week than the government deem that you need to live on no benefit will be paid.

Before you apply I would advise joining Benefits and Work (£20.00 p/a) they have excellent guides to the claiming process. Don’t be afraid.


Thanks for all the info, I think I have a better understanding now and will definitely join the benefits and work site. I have only been sick from work for five weeks and it will take at least six months to go through the process of sick retirement or incapacity depending on what the works DR decides for me (I hate to think my future finances are out of my control!). Until then I will just keep looking and learning for when I have to go through the maze of state benefit. I have noticed there is a Benefits and Awareness Talk about 20 miles from where I live in july. If nothing else it will get me out of the house :slight_smile: Hope everyone has a good day. Jan