Forum

ESA running out - what now?

I’ve just received a very worrying phone call from the DWP, which informed me that my ESA (which is contribution based) is going to stop in April as I will have received it for a year. I was vaguely aware of these new rules but I hadn’t read into them much as I didn’t want to worry unnecessarily before I had to.

The woman told me I wouldn’t be able to claim income-related benefit as my husband works, and my only other options would be to claim tax credits or sign on at the job centre! Can this be right? I am staggered that I am going to be cut off like this, when I am virtually housebound and totally unable to work. I was put in the WRAG group (wrongly I believe, but I was too tired after a pension appeal to fight it) - is this why my money is stopping? Would I continue to receive the equivalent of incapacity benefit if I was put in the support group instead?

Sorry for my ignorance, I know I should have been more aware of this, but I avoid reading about stuff that stresses me out and was hoping this would go away!

I think you only have so many days after a decision to appeal, i think it might be too late to appeal now,the only way to know is to ring and ask them.

Oh dear I’m so sorry but I fear that many more people re going to be in your position as these new rules take force.

The situation is that if you are in the WRAG contribution based ESA is only paid for 12months. After that time you don’t stop being eligible for ESA but transfer onto means tested ESA. For many people this will mean an end to payments if they have a working partner, private pension or savings. The government decides on a sum that you need to live on – if you have more than that amount of money coming into the household they will not pay means tested benefits. This includes Income Support.
Signing on at the job centre seems a ridiculous thing to say to you. If you have been deemed unfit for work how could you sign on for JSA and say that you were available for work?
Tax credits might be a goer- it depends how much your husband earns. Try the tax credit helpline 0345 300 3900

If you are in the support group the twelve month rule does not apply and you continue getting contribution based ESA. Getting into the support group at this stage is tricky. You have 28 days from the date of your decision letter to appeal. If this is passed I think you need to have a NEW condition and can then reaply. I don’t suppose this means having something other than MS but lets say you develop a new symptom which would put you into the support group you can have another go but if you are presenting the same info as you gave originally it won’t be aloud.

I missed the appeal deadline for my ESA but have written a letter explaining that my MS has progressed. They have said they will assess me with new evidence from my GP / neurologist. It is worth a try sending a letter in. I also have the support from my advisor at the jobcenter who doesn’t think I should have been put in the WRAG to start with. I had not understood the original letter telling me which group I had been placed in and my advisor was very suprised that they had put me into the WRAG knowing I had 2 small children.

Best of luck

Isobel x

I missed the appeal deadline for my ESA but have written a letter explaining that my MS has progressed. They have said they will assess me with new evidence from my GP / neurologist. It is worth a try sending a letter in. I also have the support from my advisor at the jobcenter who doesn’t think I should have been put in the WRAG to start with. I had not understood the original letter telling me which group I had been placed in and my advisor was very suprised that they had put me into the WRAG knowing I had 2 small children.

Best of luck

Isobel x

Hi, I’m so sorry to hear this, I myself am going through this, I was put in the WRAG, but I appealed straight away, because you do only get so much time,if you go into the support group I’ve been told by my adviser that you wont be taken off it, or means tested, it’s BL**DY wrong that we are having to fight like this, but that’s what we have to do, I’ve sent an email to Nick Glegg regarding this, still waiting for a reply, but I wont give up, why don’t you try to do something now, give them a ring back at DWP, explain you’re situation, and who know’s, it’s worth a try, good luck, Jean x

Thankyou all for your replies.

I’ve just had a very frustrating telephone conversation with what I can only assume, from the way she kept droning the same phrases in an unsympathetic monotone, was a DWP droid!

After some time she eventually grasped that I wanted my claim to be looked at again as my health has worsened (how odd that this should happen to someone with an incurable, progressive disease!) and that I feel I am in the wrong group. She at first wanted me to write to ‘them’ and tell ‘them’ that my health is worse, preferably along with a letter from my Dr confirming this. As I had rung the ESA number I was a bit confused why she couldn’t do this and why she was separate from the ‘them’ who could, but she eventually agreed to email ‘them’ to request my claim be looked at again.

Phew this is so stressful and unfair. I’ve now got the ‘hug’ strongly (tends to come on when I get upset) and feel exhausted. It’s so wrong that we have to be put through all of this at the same time as dealing with this awful illness.

Please don’t rely on some nameless person sending an email – however will you know that it has been done?

I think you need to seek help with this situation because I don’t think “looking at your claim again” is what you want. You want to reapply with evidence that your condition has seriously deteriorated but I’m not sure how to go about this. I have looked up reapplications but all the info I can find is for people who failed to get ESA first time round and want to try again. You did get ESA but now feel that you are bad enough to be in the support group. If your claim is looked at again they will only look at what you presented last time – you want to present new evidence and this might mean filling in a new form but I’m not sure.

CAB or Welfare Rights will be able to help. I’m not trying to add to your stress but there will be a proper process and somehow I don’t think an internal email cuts the mustard.

Meantime you need letters from your MS Nurse, GP and Consultant who can say that your condition has seriously deteriorated since the date of your previous application.

Jane

Thanks Jane. What you are saying makes sense. I will go about getting evidence together to send in and do so whether I hear from them or not. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen a neurologist or MS nurse (there isn’t one in my area anymore) in the last year! I am waiting for a neuro appointment so will hopefully soon be able to get a letter then. I did say to the DWP robot that I wanted to reapply, claim again whatever, and she kept repeating that I had an open claim in payment so couldn’t make another application - she really struggled to see what I meant.

I wish I had fought harder against the initial WRAG decision, but it seemed too much stress at the time. With hindsight I realise I put all my faith in the system being fair and believed they couldn’t possibly stuff a genuinely ill person in this way - how naive I was.

I am surprised you have not had another ESA50 form to fill out?

I spent over a year waiting to go to tribunal to be put in the support group, which I won. I then found out that while waiting I had been reassessed and was placed in the wrag again.

I then put in a late appeal seven months after the decision sending evidence and was then put back in the support group in November.

Friday I recieved another ESA50 to complete??

Do they think I have now got better after all this fighting?

I too am contribution based, although I live with someone he is not working and claims carers allowance for me…I do have a bit of savings, but that will not last long with my rent at £800 p.m plus all the other household expenses.

I was going to ring my jobcentre plus today to see what they are playing at, but will do it tomorrow now.

jax

I am surprised you have not had another ESA50 form to fill out?

I spent over a year waiting to go to tribunal to be put in the support group, which I won. I then found out that while waiting I had been reassessed and was placed in the wrag again.

I then put in a late appeal seven months after the decision sending evidence and was then put back in the support group in November.

Friday I recieved another ESA50 to complete??

Do they think I have now got better after all this fighting?

I too am contribution based, although I live with someone he is not working and claims carers allowance for me…I do have a bit of savings, but that will not last long with my rent at £800 p.m plus all the other household expenses.

I was going to ring my jobcentre plus today to see what they are playing at, but will do it tomorrow now.

jax

Jax, that sounds so stressful and frustrating for you! What the hell are they playing at messing people with MS about like this?!

Incredibly, I got a phone call at 8.30 this morning from someone who received the email sent yesterday! The woman said that I am due another medical in Sept and not before - I explained to her that my ESA is due to end in April so this is no good to me, and I have a progressive condition which has worsened since my last medical (around a year ago). I stressed to her that I am IN THE WRONG GROUP as I am too ill to work.

She eventually agreed to send me a form to appeal the decision to put me in the WRAG - no mention of it being too late to appeal so fingers crossed.

I can imagine there will be a lot of people with MS in the same situation as me, put in the WRAG and then faced with having their ESA stopped in April. I wish the MS Society could do something about this on our behalf.

I was put into the WRAG and appealed. I was awaiting my tribunal when i sent some more information from my MS nurse in. The decision was reversed before the tribunal and i was put in the support group. I am on contribution based ESA and because i have a pension (retired nurse from NHS) i actually don’t get any money from the DWP and ESA. It is means tested once in the support group on contribution based. :frowning:

Hi Lollo.

I have a pension too (retired DWP) but I still receive ESA contribution based - it’s reduced because of my pension but not a lot, I suppose it depends how much pension you receive. I assume it will be the same if I do change to the support group, ie reduced by a bit but still receiving some ESA and pension together?

To update: I have asked my doctor to write a letter stating that my condition has worsened, and apparently I have to send this with a completed appeal form - even though I am not appealing the original decision (I realise it is too late to do so) but asking them to reassess me as I am now more ill than I was.

The whole process of arguing that I am getting worse and my condition is progressing is in itself very depressing and feels strange, because I usually try to do the exact opposite and pretend it’s not happening.

I also recieve a small pension from a Bank I worked for 20 years ago. If it is less than £85 a week it does not affect the amount you recieve in ESA

jax

My NHS pension is enhanced as if i had retired at 60, i’m 37. So, fortunately for me, It is more than the allowed amount so don’t get any money However they do pay my NI contribution so i should get a full state pension (if there is one when i get to that age!!!)

I got the same call on Wed and it is horrible. My chance to appeal ran out aswell… this is because I hadno idea there was more then one group to ESA and was not made aware by anyone at the jobcentre :@

So I am going to try and appeal again anyway and say I should of been made aware of all this and helped alot more as they said there is no other benefit I can go on.

I am off you to C.A,B tomorrow to help me with my written letter to them as I find writting really hard and wording things never goes well for me…

You have to ask yourself what group do you belong in? Support group is for people who have a Severe health condition or severely disabled.

Work act is for people that are unable for work at this time, but with support can prepare for the future… I think these people are having a laugh and think MS is curable or something… makes my blood boil!