ESA muddle

My son was placed on ESA Wrag group, income based. He then found a few hours work so was changed to contributory rate and put on permitted work conditions. Now hes lost that job, Ive written to DWP to inform them hes no longer doing permitted work, however I want to know if he can change back to income related ESA as hes no other money coming in. Hardly a kings ransom.

Also can someone out there tell me, if on ESA contributory WRAG does he have to pay for dental care and prescriptiions as info is so muddled out there?

Since hes no longer working he cannot afford to pay these charges, surely he should automatically be transferred back to income based? Otherwise problems will ensue.



Hi Bren,

Your questions are not covered in any advice booklets I can see so I suggest you telephone:

ACAS 08457 47 47 47 OR EHRC 0800 444 205 DLS 0800 444 205**. Alternatively you can join Benefits and Work; £19.40 per year**

Good luck


Hi Bren,

Here are the NI rules for contributory ESA

The first contribution condition for contributory Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) is that you must have actually paid Class 1 or 2 national insurance contributions in one of the last three tax years before you claim. However, you may be able to satisfy this condition with contributions paid in any tax year, if you haven’t been able to pay contributions recently - for example, because you were getting Carer’s Allowance or Incapacity Benefit, or if you were getting Working Tax Credit with a disability element before you became incapable of work.

The second condition is that you must either have paid or been credited with contributions for the last two tax years before you claim. However, credited contributions will not always count towards this condition.

The contribution conditions for ESA, and when they can be relaxed because of your circumstances, are very complicated. If you have had limited capability for work since you were young, you may not have to satisfy any national insurance contribution conditions at all, and you will get contributory ESA without any NI being paid or credited. If you do not meet the contribution conditions for contributory ESA, you may still qualify for income-related ESA if your income and capital are low enough. (from CAB advice Guide)

I don’t see that your son qualifies for contribution based ESA. He can’t possibly have enough NI contributions after a few weeks part time work. I would challenge it on that basis. The NI rules are very strictly adhered to so I’m not sure what’s happening.

As for the health benefits only income based benefits get them so that’s another reason to get the income based thing sorted out.

Hiya Bren,

You well know my views on whats has happened with your son…is it possible for you to go to CAB or have a home visit from that agency that will come to your home to help with form filling I cant remember the name help someone please.

You need face to face advise with someone who knows the system inside out as your sons situation and yours should recieve special consideration.

Hang in there


Oh bren, more worries for you.

Hope you get some answers and P`s income improves soon.

luv Pollx

It’s probabl DIAL your thinking of Pip


Thats the one thanks.


Thanks everyone, I wasnt sure when they placed him on the contributory ESA as to why, probably because he had just started work then, and managed to get ‘permitted work’ conditions. However, now hes not working and has no other income other than his DLA, Im sure he should be getting income related, because he cannot afford dentistry nor prescriptions, hardly a kings ransom is it.

I cannot speak to the DWP on the phone because my fingers are not dexterous enough to put dates in fast enough, plus I couldnt remember my ‘memorable date’. I kept telling the man who queried my security (seperate department who answer if you dont pass security on phone) that I suffer ms and have problems with my fingers (numb) and memory but they didnt want to know. So now I have to write to them, which I have done, however I do need answers, so may ring welfare rights again - that means 20/30 mins waiting for the phone to be answered. Ever felt like a hamster on a teadmill? Ill let you know if I get answers.