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I don't understand the situation with the backdated I.R. ESA

Hello, can someone please explain how this I.R. ESA back dated issue works please?  I got changed over from Incapacity Benefit in 2012, and was put on to ESA.  I guess this was contrib ESA, and for 1 year only.  I didn't apply for I.R. ESA at that time, because the DWP didn't know about that kind of thing, hence the backdated issue that everyone has now been recently informed about.
When my first year of contrib ESA ended, back in 2013, I did not apply for I.R. ESA then, because at that time, my savings were above 16K.  However, I continued to receive NICS.  I guess these were contrib based?
Fast forward to late 2018, and my savings went below 6K, and so I applied for ESA again, the I.R. version, and I got my benefits money.  (I should have applied when my savings went below 16K instead.  Whoops, my mistake.)
So in 2019, I get the I.R. ESA backdated form, that a lot of people have received, and I put on the form that my savings were between 6K and 16K during most of 2018.  I got the award money.
But a couple of things don't make sense to me:
When I phoned the ESA recently, they told me that I am on contrib ESA.  Surely that's wrong.  Surely I should be on I.R. ESA, because I reapplied for I.R. ESA money in late 2018, when my savings went below 6K.
And the other thing, and this is the bit I really don't understand - how can you get BOTH IR and contrib ESA at the same time?!  Do you really get double the amount - I take it that this is not the case.  So, what happens, roughly, in terms of a weekly payment amount?
Should I ask for my contrib ESA to be back dated, now that I have received back dated I.R. ESA?  Because my ESA start date is at the end of 2018, when I started to receive benefits money again, whereas my new I.R. ESA back dated claim date, which has been successful, is more towards the beginning of 2018.
Sorry for the novel length question!  Thanks a lot if anyone can shed any light on anything above!! :)

Replies

  • poppy123456poppy123456 Posts: 15,065Community champion Disability Gamechanger
    HI,

    Having looked back at your previous threads i see that in 2012 when you transferred from IB to ESA you were in the WRAG. Contributions based ESA is only paid for 365 days unless you're placed into the support group.

    When that 365 days came to an end because you had savings of more than £16,000 then you wouldn't have been entitled to any income related ESA so all your money stopped BUT your claim remained opened for NI credits towards your state pension.

    Fast forward to 2018 and your savings dropped to below £16,000 but when you reported a change of circumstances for a worsening of condition you were placed into the support group. Your payments would have started again but increased to support group rate.

    As you were claiming contributions based when you first claimed ESA in 2012 because your claim remained opened for NI credits you will always remain on Contributions based ESA because this will always come first.

    Yes, it's possible to receive contributions based with an Income related top up but whether you'll receive the income related top up will depend on your circumstances.

    Contributions based ESA support group is £111.65 per week and any savings/capitol you have won't affect the amount you can claim. The income related top ups are the disability premiums and one of them is the Enhanced disability premium which is £16.80 per week BUT any savings of more than £6,000 will affect the amount of income related top up you can claim. For every £250 over £6,000 your income related top reduces by £1. Whether or not you're entitled to any top will depend on your circumstances.

    ESA support group contributions based with the income related top up is £128.45 per week. You do not receive double the amount.

    To answer your question, there's nothing to be backdated because you started receiving money again at the beginning of 2018, which would  have been correct at that time. You're getting confused between Contributions based and Contributions based with an income related top up and it's making you think you should receive double but i'm afraid this isn't correct.

    Hope this helps.
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Posts: 5,842Administrator Scope community team
    Hi @ESABenefitsUK123, I hope @poppy123456's through answer has been able to make things clearer for you. Is there anything else we can do to help? :)
    Chloe
    Online Community Officer
  • ESABenefitsUK123ESABenefitsUK123 Posts: 34Member Listener
    Thanks a lot!
    Just to clarify something please:
    You said:
    "Contributions based ESA support group is £111.65 per week and any savings/capitol you have won't affect the amount you can claim."
    Am I right in thinking then, that contrib ESA support group is *not* means tested?!  I had absolutely no idea!
    Also, regarding the "income related top up" that you mention.  Is this what the back dated ESA I.R. thing is all about - an I.R. top up issue?
    Just one last point please.  When you say:
    "there's nothing to be backdated because you started receiving money again at the beginning of 2018, which would  have been correct at that time."
    Just to clarify, what happened is that my ESA benefits money started up again (after about a 6 year pause) towards the end of 2018, when my savings dipped below 6K, as I applied for I.R. ESA then.  But now the back dated I.R. ESA business has been completed, I then got a back dated award which is from early 2018 to the end of 2018, because it was then - early 2018 - that my savings dipped below 16K.
    Thanks a lot.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Posts: 15,065Community champion Disability Gamechanger
    All contributions based benefits are not means tested but because you were in the WRAG when you first transferred to ESA then it would have only be paid for 1 year. After this is stopped because of your savings. If you had been in the support group at the time then your money wouldn't have stopped.

    Yes, the underpayments is about the IR top up.

    The reason you got the backdated money was because your savings dropped below £6,000 but then you were placed into the support group so your money would have increased again.


  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Posts: 5,842Administrator Scope community team
    Thank you for your advice here @poppy123456. :)
    Chloe
    Online Community Officer
  • ESABenefitsUK123ESABenefitsUK123 Posts: 34Member Listener
    Thanks very much!  Just one last thing please! :)
    My (contrib support group) ESA payment is approx 388 per fortnight.  I think this is broken down in to:
    - the basic ESA "base amount" - I'm not sure if there is a correct term for this.
    - I.R. top up, because my savings are below 6K.
    - Support group "top up".
    - Severe disability premium, because I was awarded basic care for PIP.

    I have some questions please.
    1. Have I got the breakdown above correct?  In other words, have I omitted anything?
    2. Say if I sell my flat, and decide not to buy again, but to attempt to live off the sale of the flat money, by renting somewhere.  What components listed above are means tested?  (I am guessing that just 1 out of the 4 components will be affected, and that is the I.R. top up, and if that is correct, then the other 3 components will be completely unaffected, and they will not be affected, and I will continue to receive them.  Is that right?)

    Thanks a lot for any help!


  • poppy123456poppy123456 Posts: 15,065Community champion Disability Gamechanger
    I've just read back through some of your previous threads and i have a question. When you told DWP about your savings going below £16,000 did your ESA payments re-start back up in the WRAG before you reported the changes? or did you report the changes and then you were placed into the Support Group and then your payments started back up.

    This is a really important question because if your payments started back up while you were in the WRAG then you would have been on Income Related ESA NOT contributions based because of the 365 day rule.


  • ESABenefitsUK123ESABenefitsUK123 Posts: 34Member Listener
    i will try to answer you question as best as i possibly can.
    here is what i remember to be the exact sequence of events.
    1. feb 2018, my savings dipped below 16k.  i did *NOT* tell the dwp about this, in any way shape or form.  this was my mistake.  whoops.
    2. oct 2018, my savings dipped below 6k.  i told the dwp about this.  i can't remember how i did this.  there was some confusion over this.  i may have filled out the wrong form.  (some mix up between IR and contrib forms, i really can't remember??  what i do remember is that i think i picked the IR form??)
    whatever the possible mix up, the dwp started up my esa benefits payments again.  very important note - please note that at this specific point in time, the dwp had *NOT* calculated, via the newly filled out esa50 form, that i was entitled to be switched from wrag to the support group!  that came a little bit later.  so, in other words, at this exact moment in time, i was NOT receiving support group money, only the lower amount.
    3. i think it was about 6 weeks later, sometime in early dec 2018, after these benefits had been coming in for about 6 weeks, when the dwp had a chance to look over my new esa50 form, that they changed me from wrag to the support group.  my benefits then went up a bit.
    4. fast forward to this summer, when i got the i.r. backdated form to fill in.  i filled it in, and in it, i said the following:
    between feb 2018, and oct 2018, my savings were between 6k and 16k.
    they then awarded me about 3k.
    please ask me anything you like for additional confirmation.
    i appreciate your assistance in this matter.
    thanks a lot!

  • ESABenefitsUK123ESABenefitsUK123 Posts: 34Member Listener
    special extra note! when i told the dwp about my change in circumstances, my covering letter mentioned *both* of the following 2 issues:
    - my savings had dipped below 6K
    - *and* that my health had worsened.

    i wonder if that makes a difference?
    thanks for your help.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Posts: 15,065Community champion Disability Gamechanger
    Thanks for that information, it helps me to answer your question about Contributions based and IR.

    As your ESA Contributions based came to an end and your payments started back while you were in the WRAG you were placed on IR. When you were placed into the Support Group you shouldn't have gone back onto Contributions based because your entitlement had ended. You should now be claiming all IR.

    If you had been placed into the support group before your payments started back then it would have been CB with an IR top up.

    I'd advise you to ring ESA to ask again is any part of your ESA Contributions based. It won't make any difference either way at the moment but in the future for savings/capitol purposes then it will make a huge difference.
  • ESABenefitsUK123ESABenefitsUK123 Posts: 34Member Listener
    Thanks very much.  I will contact the ESA on Monday afternoon about this.  In the meantime, am I right in thinking that I am better off with contrib based (support) ESA, than IR (support) ESA?  I find it amazing that there is such a difference, in terms of savings/capitol, with regards to how it affects ESA payments.
    What I mean is this - the health of the person doesn't seem to be taken in to account, only if you happen to be placed in a monetary group that is called "IR" or a monetary group that is called "contrib".
    Unfortunately, I'm now mystified again about important key points regarding ESA.
    Also, I entered all of my details in to the entitledto website, and edited the savings section, to input a theoretically higher amount (100K) than I have, anticipating the sale of my flat, and the website said that my ESA entitlement went down to zero (from 388 a fortnight.)
    Again, I just don't fully understand all of the important ins and outs of this.
    I shall phone the ESA people, and ask them about -
    - What "group" am I in, contrib or IR?
    - And also, why? (in regards to the above).
    - Then I will ask, if my savings go up (eg >16K), which components of the ESA payment will be affected.
    Thanks a lot.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Posts: 15,065Community champion Disability Gamechanger
    You're welcome.

    You will always be better off if part of your claim is CB because savings/capital or other income doesn't affect it. The only thing that affects this is if someone is claiming a works pension and it's more than £85 per week.

    CB and IR has nothing to do with the health of a claimant. CB is based on your NI Contributions. All those that were transferred from Incapacity benefit to ESA were automatically placed onto CB.

    When you ring don't ask which group you're in. Instead please ask if any part of your claim is CB. I have my doubts and i think all of it is IR or at least it should be in your case anyway and that's because you were in the WRAG and your CB entitlement ended and you were assessed for IR.  If all of it is IR then if your savings go over £16k you will lose all of your ESA.

    If part of it is CB then you will keep £111.65 per week and lose the rest.

    The benefit calculator you used can only ever give correct information based on the information you entered. If you entered that all your ESA was IR then that's why it calculated that you would be entitled to no ESA.
  • ESABenefitsUK123ESABenefitsUK123 Posts: 34Member Listener
    Thanks!
    >> If part of it is CB then you will keep £111.65 per week and lose the rest
    Ah, I see.  I wonder if it's possible to have CB-based ESA-related severe disability premium?

  • poppy123456poppy123456 Posts: 15,065Community champion Disability Gamechanger

    Ah, I see.  I wonder if it's possible to have CB-based ESA-related severe disability premium?

    No, that's not possible because the disability premiums, including this one are only paid on Income Related. You will need to be entitled to the IR top up to continue to receive this. Any future savings over £16k will stop all of your IR benefits, as previously advised.
  • ESABenefitsUK123ESABenefitsUK123 Posts: 34Member Listener
    Just one final thing, I promise!
    It's about the backdated ir esa thing.
    I'm looking at the printouts that the dwp have given me.
    It's to do with how they calculated the ir backdated esa amount.
    Each printout page deals with one week, although some appear to be two weeks - I don't know why.
    Anyway, here is one page, date="Feb 2018".  (they are all much alike.)

    Living       = £0 (cont), £73.10  (ir)
    WRAG         = £0 (cont), £29.05  (ir)
    The law says = £0 (cont), £102.15 (ir)
    savings      = £34.00
    we pay you   = £102.15 - £34.00 = £68.15

    Does that seem about right to you?  I don't see where the "ir top up premium" is?  Sorry to be so stupid!  (Does £102.15 seem about right though?)

  • poppy123456poppy123456 Posts: 15,065Community champion Disability Gamechanger
    WRAG amount for you would have been £102 ish yes because your claim started before April 2017.

    You were claiming IR not CB when your payments started back up again, so the income related top up doesn't apply here.

    To claim the disability premium such as the Enhanced disability you would need to be claiming Enhanced daily living PIP or high rate DLA when in the WRAG.

    To claim the severe disability premium at that time you will have needed to be claiming either Daily living PIP or mid/high rate care DLA along with the other criteria but it's not automatically paid. As you applied for that separately it would have been backdated to the date you qualified.
  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Posts: 4,497Administrator Scope community team
    Thank you for all your advice here @poppy123456. I hope that's helped explain everything for you @ESABenefitsUK123?
    Senior Online Community Officer
    Scope
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