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ESA Lump sum of arrears been received. Do I have to declare it to Housing Benefit?

OllyCatOllyCat Posts: 8Member Listener
As title says, I was sent a letter by the DWP asking me to complete a form they'd enclosed as they had been told to contact everyone on contribution based ESA to see if they had been assigned correctly at the time of the incapacity switch to ESA.. I'd seen it on the news and thought nothing of it as such as didn't think it applied to me.

Filled in form, sent it off and next thing I know a few weeks later I get a letter back saying we've underpaid you over 20k since Feb 2013 to date and have paid the arrears into your bank and you're now on ESA (IR) Support Group. 

Problem is I also get Housing benefit. .altho according to this legislation http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2018/932/made  which came in to force in Sept this year, benefits arrears are disregarded for income based benefits including Housing benefit no matter how much they are and even if they take you over the 16k savings threshold, which mine clearly does..  I just can't find anyone anywhere who can confirm if this is the case and tell me if I still have to let the HB people know I've had a lump sum benefit arrears payment. 

CAB were no help and took a week to actually be able to speak to someone as am agoraphobic and could call in.. DWP guy I spoke to, initially because I wanted to check they were sure I was due this money, told me to not bother telling HB as most of the staff don't have a clue about this  as the legislation saying it is disregarded for benefit you already claim because it is an arrears payment  is only a few months old so hasn't filtered down to all 'advisor's' and they could/will stop my HB .  Did try to phone HB people today cos I felt I should tell them but, as it was Monday it was typically harder to get thru and I gave up.

It's stressing me no end.. if my HB is stopped I'll have to use the lump sum to pay my rent which is fair enough but, will then have to reclaim HB in a couple of years when it runs out. which in itself is stressful for me too .Talk about adding stresses to an already stressed and anxious person..

Bottom line is, do i actually have to let them know my 'savings' have increased so much or is the DWP guy and the legislation doc correct in saying it isn't savings, it's arrears of benefit I should have been paid and I don't have to declare it. I know HB know I've been changed over to ESA IR as I got a letter off them today but nothing had changed with regards to the HB amount I receive.  I don't know if they were also informed of the arrears payment

TIA for any help guys. ..  apologies for long waffle..




Replies

  • poppy123456poppy123456 Posts: 4,869Member, Community champion Brian Blessed
    The money is disregarded for all means tested benefits.
  • OllyCatOllyCat Posts: 8Member Listener
    Thanks poppy but do I still have to tell them I received it as it is a lump sum, then they have to record it but mark it as disregarded?  or do I have to only tell them about  changes to 'savings' which this isn't but will obviously be going into savings accounts?   It's that bit I am trying to work out. 

    The Council letters specifically say you have to let them know of any changes and this is, even tho it should then be disregarded by them.

    The DWP guy I spoke to said that a lot of HB people are not aware of this yet as it is new legislation that came in to force in Sept 2018 as per the link I put in my message.

    Bottom line I don't want to be stressing about whether I should or shouldn't tell them [I have anxiety related illness] but also don't want the stress if I tell them and they say we're stopping the HB then I have to appeal and tell them it's not regarded as savings.  Sorry if I am rambling on but it is really stressing me out. I need someone perhaps who is qualified who can confirm that I don't have to tell them or that I do.
  • RozanARozanA Posts: 1Member Listener
    I would tell them , they will prob already know as it’s all linked up these days but just to cover your back if they don’t no 
  • OllyCatOllyCat Posts: 8Member Listener
    edited December 4
    Thanks @Rozana1 I was thinking that too but, the DWP guy scared me when he said most of them may not know yet as it takes a good while for new stuff to be learnt by all so could get one who didn't know could react as if it was savings and, as it is over 16k, stop my HB,  but I also don't want to get in to trouble if I should have told them and didn't.

    It's freaking me out tbh..  yeah if they stop my HB then I use the lump sum to pay my rent for a few years until it's gone then I have to reapply for HB... all of which is added anxiety I could do without.

  • poppy123456poppy123456 Posts: 4,869Member, Community champion Brian Blessed
    To save all anxiety just ring and tell them about the backdated money you've received that way you won't have anything to worry about. There's a lot of people that have had huge amounts back dated so there will be others feeling exactly the same as you. Just try to relax and enjoy the money.


  • OllyCatOllyCat Posts: 8Member Listener
    edited December 4
    "try to relax"

    Easy said than done @poppy123456 if your illness is severe anxiety related.. would have thought a disability forum would understand that   ;)

    I googled a lot to try and find out what to do for definite, not only for myself but for all of those feeling exactly the same about it that are worried sick, and frankly there's not a lot, if any, expert help out there and the CAB were less than useless.

    Sometimes a bit of a lump sum is more trouble than it's worth.  yeah I know that sounds daft but would have been better if I had received the money weekly over all those years like I should have done according to the DWP..
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Posts: 4,869Member, Community champion Brian Blessed
    I know all about anxiety issues as i suffer with them myself and so does my daughter.

    All you need to do as advised, is ring your local council just to be on the safe said but it won't affect your housing benefit or CTR. There's no further advice to give you other than this.
  • OllyCatOllyCat Posts: 8Member Listener
  • OllyCatOllyCat Posts: 8Member Listener
    Update, I finally got thru to HB and told them I'd been paid huge lump sum of arrears due to an official error by the DWP. They logged it on my records and confirmed it is disregarded as capital/savings as per the original advice I got from the DWP because they act as agents for them on the HB side and if DWP says it's disregarded they follow suit..

    Just in case anyone else is worried.

    Need to go lay down now as adrenalin rush form the anxiety of it all has exhausted me.. eek!
  • kojak7kojak7 Posts: 9Member Listener
    Hi can anyone tell me how you know if your under paid ESA 
    i have seen people getting 5k back payment my brother has been on ESA since it began 
    and before that I think it was called incapacity benefit ?
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Posts: 4,869Member, Community champion Brian Blessed
    kojak7 said:
    Hi can anyone tell me how you know if your under paid ESA 
    i have seen people getting 5k back payment my brother has been on ESA since it began 
    and before that I think it was called incapacity benefit ?
    DWP are in the process of contacting everyone that moved across to ESA and you'll eventually be sent a letter with an ESA3 form to fill in. There's most likely a huge backlog because there's 1000's of claims to go through. You'll be contacted eventually and there's no need to contact them.
  • kojak7kojak7 Posts: 9Member Listener
    Ok thanks for the feedback 👍🏼
  • OllyCatOllyCat Posts: 8Member Listener
    @kojak7 The guy at the DWP told me they'd been tasked to contact everyone before Christmas this year. They are working around the clock near enough. Obviously you have to return the form they send you and then it takes about 2-3 weeks to hear back from them.

    If your brother was moved over from incapacity to the Contribution based ESA it could be he is one of those affected. That was what had happened to me and they should have placed us all in the Income Related ESA . I was placed in the  Contribution based ESA [support group] from the beginning. Not sure if people placed in the working groups qualify. It also seems to be related to DLA/PIP and if you get medium to high component for care I think ,as they then add some extra for Severe Disability Payments [SDP] which is what most of the arrears relate to I believe.

    I'm still getting DLA for now which was a 'for life' award and am still on the list for them to contact re moving everyone over to PIP and their reassessment for that in place of the DLA. , another joyous thing to wait for.. eek!  if they say no then I lose the DLA and also the 'new' SDP stuff from the ESA too.. what fun.. !
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Posts: 4,869Member, Community champion Brian Blessed
    For those affected by the IB to ESA move then once the form has been returned it can take 12 weeks to hear back from DWP with a decision and not 2-3 weeks.
  • kojak7kojak7 Posts: 9Member Listener
    My brother has been on DLA and incapacity benefit/ESA since he was 16 he is now 37 
    i don’t know if he will be once of the ones affected that’s why I was asking he has not received any form from ESA telling him to fill it in as yet so I’m thinking he may not be affected but you never know with the DWP 
  • CockneyRebelCockneyRebel Posts: 4,135Member, Community champion Brian Blessed
    There is no way we could advise whether your brother might be elegible, it is simply a matter of waiting
    Be all you can be, make  every day count. Namaste
  • OllyCatOllyCat Posts: 8Member Listener
    edited December 5
    For those affected by the IB to ESA move then once the form has been returned it can take 12 weeks to hear back from DWP with a decision and not 2-3 weeks.
    I am sure they can take some time however, I heard back about 3 weeks after I'd sent my form in which was one they sent to me out of the blue, not one I asked for.  So it can be slow or quick..

    DWP guy did tell me they've been tasked to contact all the potential affected people by Xmas.
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