Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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ESA help

Sod’s law letters came today and have to wait until Monday to call - but just checking in on here first as it’s got me in a right mental mess. 

Received two letters today - one dated 6th Feb and the other 10th. The one dated the 6th states my ESA will be £197.60 per week from April 6th 2020, premiums included. 

The one dated the 10th Feb states the following:

From Dec 12th 2019 it will be £174.87 a week (what I currently get)

From 27th Feb it will be £109.02 (reason “change of money coming in) Not true, nothing changed. 

From 12th March it will be £110.81

From 19th March it will be £128.45

From 9th April it will be £130.65.

”This is because a change in the rates of SS benefits” and they have used tax years ending 2014/2015 to assess my claim? Baffled at the tax dates. 

But then last page of 10th Feb letter it states I’ll get £194.30 a week and amounts will apply from 11th April 2019 to 16th October 2019. 

As you can imagine, I’m very very confused and it’s set me off. Even more so arrived today and cannot call till Monday. £220ish seems to be missing.

I know it’s all relative to me but can anyone with experience she’s some light? 10th Feb letter makes zero sense.

Replies

  • poppy123456poppy123456 Community champion Posts: 18,496 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi and welcome,

    DWP have a very strange way of wording all of the ESA letters and they confuse most people.

    I'll start with the amount you receive now. I'm assuming it's a single person claim and you're also receiving the Severe disability premium (SDP) in with the amount?

    However, the amount you're receiving now, is not the correct amount because for a single person in the Support Group with the SDP included then it should be £194.30 per week. As you're receiving £174.87 then you must be having some deductions taken off, is that correct?

    I'm also assuming that part of your ESA is Contributions based and they've used tax years 2014/2015 for this.

    27th Feb they have said £109.02, this is not support group rate because CB is £111.65 per week. Without the premiums.

    The date from the 12th March which states £110.81 again, i have no idea what that is because as above, it's not support group rate either.

    19th March £128.45 per week, is support group with the Enhanced disability premium added but no SDP.

    9th April £130.65 this will be because of the yearly increase but this doesn't include the SDP.

    Last but not least is the date from 11th April to 16th October £194.30 which is the support group rate with SDP and is the correct amount, if no deductions are being made.

    My thoughts are this, do you live with dependent children that you're currently claiming tax credits/child benefit for? if so then does this end on 19th March possibly because they are either ending full time non advanced education or they are reaching 20 years of age and tax credits is ending? If so then that's why your rate will be lower from this date because you won't be entitled to the SDP.

    That's my thoughts but of course you'll need to ring them Monday to find out for sure what's going on.
    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Community champion Posts: 18,496 Disability Gamechanger
    To add onto that above. Is your PIP/DLA award ending on 19th Match 2020 because it's a fixed term award or maybe you're in the process of a review for your PIP and you're waiting for a decision and your current award is due to end on this date? If so then this will be why your ESA will be reduced from this date. Once a decision's been made if you're awarded again and have the daily living award then your rate will include the SDP from this date.
    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
  • jimdave19832jimdave19832 Member Posts: 10 Listener
    Hi @poppy123456,

    Yes I have small deduction a week from my budgeting fund loan. 

    Yes it’s a single person claim, with both SDP and the other disability premium at £16.80. 

    States on my letters it’s income related also.

    I live alone and have done for years now with no children.  Literally no circumstances have changed. 

    Just frustrating I cannot call till Monday! 
  • jimdave19832jimdave19832 Member Posts: 10 Listener
    To add onto that above. Is your PIP/DLA award ending on 19th Match 2020 because it's a fixed term award or maybe you're in the process of a review for your PIP and you're waiting for a decision and your current award is due to end on this date? If so then this will be why your ESA will be reduced from this date. Once a decision's been made if you're awarded again and have the daily living award then your rate will include the SDP from this date.

    Funny you say that - I sent my PIP renewal off beginning of Jan! 
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Community champion Posts: 18,496 Disability Gamechanger
    To add onto that above. Is your PIP/DLA award ending on 19th Match 2020 because it's a fixed term award or maybe you're in the process of a review for your PIP and you're waiting for a decision and your current award is due to end on this date? If so then this will be why your ESA will be reduced from this date. Once a decision's been made if you're awarded again and have the daily living award then your rate will include the SDP from this date.

    Funny you say that - I sent my PIP renewal off beginning of Jan! 

    Thanks for that, then this will be why your SDP will end on 19th March if no decision is made on your PIP by that date. As you have only recently sent the form back, i'm assuming you were awarded your current award by a Tribunal, which is why you were late returning the form.

    If no decision is made by that date and your SDP ends if you're awarded again with the daily living then your SDP will be backdated to the date it stopped. Same for your PIP.

    The other amounts will be because of the deductions you have. Once you've almost paid back the loan the amount of deductions for the last payment could potentially be less than usual because naturally it will almost be paid.

    Hope this helps.
    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Community champion Posts: 18,496 Disability Gamechanger
    Looking at all your dates again, since you mentioned your PIP renewal. I assume that it ends before 19th March which will explain the reduction from 12th March because no SDP is added and you're still paying back the loan on that date. From 19th March the loan will be paid in full and your amount will be support group with the enhanced premium but no SDP because of the PIP ending. Makes sense to me now i look at it again after you said about your PIP.
    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
  • jimdave19832jimdave19832 Member Posts: 10 Listener
    To add onto that above. Is your PIP/DLA award ending on 19th Match 2020 because it's a fixed term award or maybe you're in the process of a review for your PIP and you're waiting for a decision and your current award is due to end on this date? If so then this will be why your ESA will be reduced from this date. Once a decision's been made if you're awarded again and have the daily living award then your rate will include the SDP from this date.

    Funny you say that - I sent my PIP renewal off beginning of Jan! 

    Thanks for that, then this will be why your SDP will end on 19th March if no decision is made on your PIP by that date. As you have only recently sent the form back, i'm assuming you were awarded your current award by a Tribunal, which is why you were late returning the form.

    If no decision is made by that date and your SDP ends if you're awarded again with the daily living then your SDP will be backdated to the date it stopped. Same for your PIP.

    The other amounts will be because of the deductions you have. Once you've almost paid back the loan the amount of deductions for the last payment could potentially be less than usual because naturally it will almost be paid.

    Hope this helps.
    Thanks Poppy. 

    Forms were late due to them misplacing them. Twice. So extended deadline for my renewal till mid December - forgot to say sent back in Dec, had text start of jan to say received) 

    So literally just wait until gone through my renewal and made a decision?

    Baffled why DWP couldn’t just tell me this instead of writing a very confusing letter! 
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Community champion Posts: 18,496 Disability Gamechanger
    You're welcome.

    Letters from DWP are very often so confusing, sometimes it impossible to figure out the answer. The most confusing part here was because your PIP end date and repaying the loan back, which is almost coming to an end.

    Expect a face to face assessment for your PIP because most people have them, even for reviews. Waiting times for this depend on backlog in your area. As your PIP is close to ending then a decision may not be made by that date, just so you're aware and you can budget accordingly. If you are under 35 then any housing benefit you're claiming may also be affected because of your age.

    Good luck with the PIP.
    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
  • jimdave19832jimdave19832 Member Posts: 10 Listener
    You're welcome.

    Letters from DWP are very often so confusing, sometimes it impossible to figure out the answer. The most confusing part here was because your PIP end date and repaying the loan back, which is almost coming to an end.

    Expect a face to face assessment for your PIP because most people have them, even for reviews. Waiting times for this depend on backlog in your area. As your PIP is close to ending then a decision may not be made by that date, just so you're aware and you can budget accordingly. If you are under 35 then any housing benefit you're claiming may also be affected because of your age.

    Good luck with the PIP.
    Thanks Poppy.

    So to summarise, I still get paid pip (minus £65 a week premium) until I’ve been assessed again? Yes I’m 32 so housing will definitely be effected.

    Not the weekend I had envisaged! 
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Community champion Posts: 18,496 Disability Gamechanger
    You're welcome.

    No, that's not exactly correct. If a decision on your PIP isn't made by the end date of your award your PIP will end because there won't be an award in place for it to continue.

    Your SDP will also end on the date your PIP ends.

    Your housing benefit will also be slightly less if your PIP ends. If you're renting privately then put your postcode into this link to see what you'll be entitled to for the shared rate of LHA for your area. https://lha-direct.voa.gov.uk/

    You can ask for a discretionary housing payment to help pay the shortfall in your rent, if the worst happens. There's no guarantees that you will receive it and if you do then it's only paid for a short period of time, then you'll need to apply again. See link for details of this.





    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
  • jimdave19832jimdave19832 Member Posts: 10 Listener
    You're welcome.

    No, that's not exactly correct. If a decision on your PIP isn't made by the end date of your award your PIP will end because there won't be an award in place for it to continue.

    Your SDP will also end on the date your PIP ends.

    Your housing benefit will also be slightly less if your PIP ends. If you're renting privately then put your postcode into this link to see what you'll be entitled to for the shared rate of LHA for your area. https://lha-direct.voa.gov.uk/

    You can ask for a discretionary housing payment to help pay the shortfall in your rent, if the worst happens. There's no guarantees that you will receive it and if you do then it's only paid for a short period of time, then you'll need to apply again. See link for details of this.





    Hi Poppy

    Found my original award letter and my PIP "ends" Feb 26th. Argh. Really hoping for a miracle now as worked out I will be £151 short in housing, £270ish short a month in ESA and loss of £328 a month from PIP. Leaves me with a loss of around £750 per month. 

    Assuming PIP renewal finally gets seem and assuming gives the all clear, will this be backdated?

    I am really at my wits end now as I just simply cannot live on that loss. 
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Community champion Posts: 18,496 Disability Gamechanger
    Oh dear, it's unlikely that a decision will not be made by that date because that's just 8 working days from Monday. There's no timescales for any decision or for waiting times for assessments, assuming that one will be needed because most people have them. Paper based assessments are rare.

    I'd advise you to ring the health assessment providers on Monday and ask what the status of your claim is and they'll tell you if a face to face assessment is needed or not.

    ESA is paid in arrears so you'll receive the SDP up until first week of March.  Housing benefit is also paid in arrears so there's a little time added on for you but not much.

    Once your housing benefit is reduced i'd advise you to apply for the DHP as advised in a comment above BUT please get help with filling out the form because they are complex. In the form tell them that your housing benefit has been reduced because you're waiting for a PIP review decision and your PIP has ended in the meantime and you need some help with paying the shortfall for your rent. It may take a couple of weeks at least for a decision on this so you'll need to contact your landlord in the meantime.

    Once a decisions been made on your PIP, if you're successfully awarded the daily living then all your benefits will be reinstated and backdated to the date they stopped.

    Hope this helps. Good luck.
    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
  • jimdave19832jimdave19832 Member Posts: 10 Listener
    Oh dear, it's unlikely that a decision will not be made by that date because that's just 8 working days from Monday. There's no timescales for any decision or for waiting times for assessments, assuming that one will be needed because most people have them. Paper based assessments are rare.

    I'd advise you to ring the health assessment providers on Monday and ask what the status of your claim is and they'll tell you if a face to face assessment is needed or not.

    ESA is paid in arrears so you'll receive the SDP up until first week of March.  Housing benefit is also paid in arrears so there's a little time added on for you but not much.

    Once your housing benefit is reduced i'd advise you to apply for the DHP as advised in a comment above BUT please get help with filling out the form because they are complex. In the form tell them that your housing benefit has been reduced because you're waiting for a PIP review decision and your PIP has ended in the meantime and you need some help with paying the shortfall for your rent. It may take a couple of weeks at least for a decision on this so you'll need to contact your landlord in the meantime.

    Once a decisions been made on your PIP, if you're successfully awarded the daily living then all your benefits will be reinstated and backdated to the date they stopped.

    Hope this helps. Good luck.
    Thanks Poppy.

    When you say call the health assessment providers is that just the normal PIP line or is there another one? 

    Frustrates me as they ALWAYS send stuff to me on a Saturday and makes me extremely anxious as I have to wait 2 days before I can speak to anyone! Renewal was meant to be back in October but having them lose it and then Royal Mail losing the other, it's taken this long. Very frustrating
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Community champion Posts: 18,496 Disability Gamechanger
    edited February 15
    It won’t be PIP/DWP you need to ring, it will be who ever does the assessment in your area. Once DWP receive your forms they are sent to the health assessment providers. 

    Renewal forms are supposed to be sent 6 months before the award ends. If you received the form in October then that was rather late.
    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
  • jimdave19832jimdave19832 Member Posts: 10 Listener
    It won’t be PIP/DWP you need to ring, it will be who ever does the assessment in your area. Once DWP receive your forms they are sent to the health assessment providers. 

    Renewal forms are supposed to be sent 6 months before the award ends. If you received the form in October then that was rather late.
    Gotcha. I literally cannot remember what provider did my PIP but I do know a lady came to my home. Is there any way I can find out who services my area? 

    I really appreciate the help
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Community champion Posts: 18,496 Disability Gamechanger
    You're welcome.

    It will depend where in the country you're located. Independent assessment services is one, see link.

    Capita is the other.


    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
  • jimdave19832jimdave19832 Member Posts: 10 Listener
    Update.

    Basically PIP ends Feb 26th and no sign of my renewal assessment. Rang up the guys who conduct them and told "We have no date to give you, you just have to wait"

    Which is fantastic giving I am going to be £750pm out of pocket. Will contact council to see if they can help. Worked out can pay my rent but leaves me with pretty much nothing.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Community champion Posts: 18,496 Disability Gamechanger
    I'm sorry to hear that this will cause financial hardship. Please ring your local council and ask them to send you the DHP form and hopefully if this is given then it will help a little but there's no guarantee that you'll receive it. Make sure you tell them why you're asking for it.
    Community champion and proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice i have given to members here on the community.
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