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UC and new style ESA help please!

Perks1989Perks1989 Posts: 2Member Listener
Hi there I am new to this forum but in desperate need of some help and advice!

Back in 2017 I was claiming ESA until Oct of that year when I tried to go back to work (retail) (20 hours plus) so obviously I had to come off ESA. Turns out I couldn't cope (dunno why I thought I could tbh!) so I had to reclaim. My husband works and he has a good job but its never been a problem as I was claiming ESA - Contribution based as I was placed in the support group. (Mental health difficulties, severe anxiety and depression / bpd).
So when I went to reclaim I was told because I'm an area covered by UC that I would have to claim that. Me and my husband set up an account as a household. Immediately I was skeptical because it was quite obvious based on my husbands income we weren't going to get any money from UC. 
Since January its been a massive back and forth because all I want to do is claim New Style ESA which I was told about AFTER I claimed UC. Apparently this is what I need to back on something similar to Contributions based ESA. 
If anything the UC claim seems to be getting in the way and even though I've attended a WCA and sent in evidence and fit notes as they now call them I am still getting nowhere! 
No one is giving me any information in regards to my ESA claim, I have to wait days for a journal response and when I call customer services they just say they'll leave a msg for my case worker! Who then takes another 3 days to respond.
It's really starting to stress me out and affect my health. I'm working 8 hours at the moment to tie me over but with all this stress and the fact I've got my little boy to think about and nursery fees, bills, debt and no money coming in from UC - its all proving too much and I can feel my health slipping! 
I just want to contribute to the family as I was doing before!  

Replies

  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Posts: 2,145Member, Community advisor Chatterbox
    Hello Perks1989

    It sounds like you have been properly messed around by a system that is badly letting people down.

    There is a well-known problem affecting people trying to claim contributory (or what the DWP now calls "new style") employment and support allowance in a universal credit full service area. As i think you have found out the DWP insists that you make a claim to universal credit in order to claim contributory ESA. This does not follow the law and it should be possible to claim contributory ESA without UC. There is a way but it is tricky. You have to download a claim form available here scan it and email it to [email protected] I am concerned in your case that a long time has passed and you may not have actually made a claim to contributory ESA when you first tried. If you think this is the case you should claim again to the email address above and let us know of the outcome. You should also let us know of the outcome of your claim to UC as soon as possible because the time limit for challenging decisions is usually one month.

    Some of my colleagues are working hard to raise this with the DWP to get a better solution (you will see a discussion amongst advisers here). Given the length of time involved and difficulties you have had i would suggest you complain to your MP and the DWP as well as letting us know of the outcome of your claims.

    David
    The Benefits Training Co:
    Will Hadwen
    Lee Kempson
    Mary Shone
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland

  • poppy123456poppy123456 Posts: 432Member Chatterbox
    You may also not be eligible for Contribution based ESA (new style) now either. If you've paid enough NI contributions in the previous 2 tax years then you can claim it again but of course if you haven't then you won't be able to claim this now. As you're not being paid the UC then they will most likely only pay your NI stamp.

    When you finished work back in January it may have been possible to do a rapid reclaim if it was 12 weeks since your ESA ended. Unfortunately you're out of time to be able to do that now. It's a shame you didn't go to your local CAB for advice back then.
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