Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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Appeal won esa and uc can't decide if I can go back,on esa

Hi I really need help. I have been claiming esa since 2015 and we reassessed feb 2019 and found fit for work. I appealed and won my case a couple of weeks ago. I was doing permitted work with varible income average 5-8 hours a week. During the appeal period I claimed universal credit from day 1 but was told to either say I worked under 16 hours and be asked to look for work of 16 hours which i was not fit to do. Or say i worked 16 hours which they knew i did not and be classed as earning minimum wage 16 hours as a minimum regardless of what i actually earnt. I did the later and was then told I wasn't able to be awarded anything and 4 months later my claim closed and I was paid nothing. Now I have won my appeal esa say they can't pay me unless uc tell them i can go back to esa. and universal credit is saying esa has no contact and know nothing of an appeal and won't back pay me and I have no claim. Please help can I go back on esa. I was promised when I signed up to esa if I wasn't awarded anything I  could reclaim esa if my appeal won. I am a out to go into debt and have no income and no back,payment from a year. Despite 4 phone calls I am told they will look into it within 48 hours but don't have any answers. Esa are happy for me to go back if uc says I can. Any advise is much appreciated. Thank you

Replies

  • poppy123456poppy123456 Community champion Posts: 19,377 Disability Gamechanger
    HI and welcome,

    Unfortunately, because you claimed UC you won't be able to go back onto ESA. Your entitlement for ESA would have ended on the day you claimed UC.

    You say your claim for UC ended after 4 months but you weren't working 16 hours per week, is that correct? When your claim for UC ended what were you doing for money since your claim for UC ended? If you were working, how many hours per week were you working?

    May i ask what you were awarded by the Tribunal?

    Do you claim PIP or DLA?
    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.
  • daredevildinksdaredevildinks Member Posts: 13 Listener
    Hi I was awarded esa with no review for 2 years.  I was never paid any universal credit. I worked 5 to 8 hours a week but had to say I worked 16 hours or they would make me apply for work I could not do. I have had no money for a year survived on my saving but now have nothing.
  • daredevildinksdaredevildinks Member Posts: 13 Listener
    Esa and uc cannot tell me as I was awarded no money weather I can go back to esa. Esa are happy for me to do this is uc approve it. Us have no idea what to do with me and what I am entitled to as back pay for benefit going forward. I spent 4 hours going back and forth to get answers and now still none for them
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Community champion Posts: 19,377 Disability Gamechanger
    As you claimed UC then i don't know how it's possible to claim ESA again because your claim ended. I'm going to tag someone who maybe able to advise you further with this. @Alice_Holt could you help here please? Thank you in advance.
    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.
  • daredevildinksdaredevildinks Member Posts: 13 Listener
    Thank you. There question was I claimed it but wasn't awarded it.
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Community champion Posts: 19,377 Disability Gamechanger
    Did you go for your first appointment at your job centre and did you receive any money each month from UC?
    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.
  • daredevildinksdaredevildinks Member Posts: 13 Listener
    I went to appointments for universal credit so they could see my self employed accounts and make a decision on if they could pay me. I then received no money and they closed the account 4 months later. Universal credit have never paid me anything

  • Alice_HoltAlice_Holt Member Posts: 46 Courageous
    Thanks to poppy for tagging me.
    I'm afraid I'm not sure of the answer, I think that once on UC it is very difficult (if impossible) to return to ESA and legacy payments.

    What group did the tribunal place you in - WRAG or SG?
    Are you working at the moment - and what are you monthly cashflows?

    My understanding is the minimum income floor (MIF) should not be applied if you have been assessed as not fit for work. Here is some info on this:
    https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/universal-credit/on-universal-credit/how-the-minimum-income-floor-works-if-youre-self-employed/

    "The minimum income floor will only apply to you if you're in the 'all-work-related requirements group -"

    The ESA tribunal decision should flow across to UC  - so you should be retrospectively treated as having LCW
    from the time you claimed UC (If the tribunal placed you in the WRAG).  

    This is where you need ESA to talk to UC and confirm with them that at the time you claimed UC the tribunal decision meant you had LCW.  Give UC a copy  of your tribunal decision and of any ESA letter showing back payments as a result of the ESA tribunal decision. 

    Put in a mandatory reconsideration of the decision to apply the MIF - it was wrong because you had LCW.
    Your UC should have been calculated on your actual monthly self-employed cashflows not the MIF.

    If you have been claiming ESA before April 2017, then you have a continuous record of being in the LCW and should be awarded the additional £126 element in your UC calculation.
     https://www.turn2us.org.uk/Benefit-guides/Universal-Credit/Additional-Elements-of-Universal-Credit

    I suggest you get your MP involved as this is quite complicated and the UC staff are (in general) badly trained.

    I'm sorry this is not straightforward and hope I have explained things reasonably.


  • Alice_HoltAlice_Holt Member Posts: 46 Courageous
    edited March 17
    So, my understanding is that:
    a) You stay on UC (and will need to re-open your claim);
    b) The MIF is not applied to any period of your UC claim - instead actual earnings are used;
    c) The additional LCW (or LCWRA) element applies to the total period of the UC claim.

    This is because:
    i)   MIF is not applied if you have LCW;
    ii)  The tribunal decision meant you had ESA LCW at the time you applied for UC. UC (once advised by ESA) should recognise this and your UC claim should accept you are not fit for work;   
    "[The additional element] can be added on straight away, ... if you were entitled to one of the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) components immediately prior to your Universal Credit claim."    From the turn to us link. 
    The Tribunal decision relates to the date of the ESA decision date which is  before you claimed UC - so you were entitled to a ESA component when you claimed (by virtue of the tribunal decision).

    Be aware that UC may decide to ask you to go to another WCA @poppy123456 may have mentioned this.

    Your local advice agency / welfare rights org may be able to help you - and possibly give you some references / legislation to quote at the DWP.  Sorry, atm I can't find them on the internet.

  • daredevildinksdaredevildinks Member Posts: 13 Listener
    Hi thank you so much for the info. My issue is on esa they worked out my earnings averaged over a year which became about £50 a week . However universal credit are saying they work it monthly so some months I would be over in there rules permitted amount. I.e. some summer months I could earn £600 but earn  nothing for September and January. Varied self employed work. I understood by winning an appeal my rights should remain the same for the past year but understand the rules might change for today but not the past years history. I would have altered my work pattern for example by e last year if I had known the rules were different. My main issue at the moment is I have spoken to uc helpline who have no idea what to do so have sent an email to a caseworker who has 48 hours to contact me.  Esa are happy to process my claim but universal credit isn't answering there emails and the helpline can't access them either. I need a result urgently. If I have no answers by midday Thursday I will contact my MP. 

  • daredevildinksdaredevildinks Member Posts: 13 Listener
    Ok I understand this but I worked the past year based on esa model of a year so I'd uc review it I really lose out some months as the rules are different. Are they allowed to do this?

  • daredevildinksdaredevildinks Member Posts: 13 Listener
    By the way thank you so much for your help your an Angel 

  • daredevildinksdaredevildinks Member Posts: 13 Listener
    Hi wanted to do an update. had to ring again after 48 hours and today i have had a message on my old universal credit which sends me to a document dated today to say they have closed my claim 18/3/19 which was the same day i took it out last year. It says it is because of my level of income. Do you think this means i will be put back on esa? trying to get hold of esa but its late in the day and not sure i will get anwsered in time. I know i will need to call tomorrow but another sleepless night isnt going to help! support much appreciated thank you

  • poppy123456poppy123456 Community champion Posts: 19,377 Disability Gamechanger
    edited March 19
    It sounds like your claim for UC was active. If this is correct then it's very unlikely you will be able to go back onto ESA. The reason why your UC claim closed was because you were subject the the MIF at the time you claimed and therefore your UC was reduced to zero. 

    I agree with Alice here that you should re open your UC claim and the decision made by the Tribunal for your ESA should apply in UC, whatever that decision was. This will then mean that the MIF will not apply because you will have LCW.
    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.
  • daredevildinksdaredevildinks Member Posts: 13 Listener
    my universal credit was closed last August and now they are saying it was closed in march. will they then back date payments? the issue is in the may and june period i earnt over the allowance however on ESA this was allowed as they worked it out over a year. So confused! Will ring both services and see if someone can give me an answer i cant use the journal to contact anyone.

  • poppy123456poppy123456 Community champion Posts: 19,377 Disability Gamechanger
    The reason it closed was because the minimum income floor applied to you and you didn't have the work allowance didn't apply to you. What ever the Tribunal decision was (you haven't said what it was) this award will apply for UC and once they apply it to your claim then you should be backdate all the money that's owed to you. Just like Alice has advised above.

    You won't be able to reclaim ESA because your claim for UC was active. So ESA no longer exists for you now.
    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.
  • daredevildinksdaredevildinks Member Posts: 13 Listener
    Thank you I slowly think I am starting to understand. I was appealing them saying I was fit for work. They suggested no review for 2 years. My major concern is I earnt over £1000 in may 2019 and that they would then say from then on I wasn't entitled to esa back pay. From what I have just read on citizens advise they may not pay me that month but I wouldn't be thrown off esa and it should carry on as back pay until now. Itsbscary because I now owe £1000 and can't work as self isolating for at least 12 weeks. Thank you so much for your help

  • poppy123456poppy123456 Community champion Posts: 19,377 Disability Gamechanger
    You won't receive any ESA backdated money from the date you claimed UC. What you should receive is the relevant to what group you were placed into by the Tribunal. If you were placed into the Support Group then this would be LCWRA for UC. If you were placed into the WRAG then it will be LCW for UC.
    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.
  • daredevildinksdaredevildinks Member Posts: 13 Listener
    The wrag group so uc should back pay that i hope going over the allowance one month from the past 12 wont affect that to much. Will call them tomorrow and see what I have to do,next.

  • poppy123456poppy123456 Community champion Posts: 19,377 Disability Gamechanger
    The work allowance for UC means you can earn that amount of money before you start to see the 63% deductions for every £1 you earn over that amount, for each assessment period.

    How much your work allowance is will depend on your circumstances. If you are claiming housing element then your work allowance is £287 per month, if you don't receive the housing element it's £503 per month.

    As your claim for ESA started before April 2017 then the WRAG decision by the Tribunal will mean that you will receive the extra £126.11 per month, on top of the standard allowance, with the housing element on top, if you need help with your rent.
    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.
  • daredevildinksdaredevildinks Member Posts: 13 Listener
    Wonderful Thank you I was assuming on the uc esa element that the esa would instantly stop and be turned into job seekers if you went over. Feeling much more positive

  • Alice_HoltAlice_Holt Member Posts: 46 Courageous
    edited March 20
    Just to reiterate poppy's post.

    UC    Basic  Amount     £318 pm
             LCW addition       £126 pm

    I'm assuming (as you haven't told us otherwise). that you have no rental costs - is this right?

    If your monthly self-employed cash flow is less than £503 pm  (which I am assuming it is apart from that one month).

    Your UC will be £444 pm, which is equivalent to the ESA WRAG you were likely receiving of £102pw 

    As per my earlier posts - because you are in the LCW group the minimum income floor does not apply.
    So, you should have been paid the above amount per month from the time you claimed UC.
    It is because the DWP have assumed a MIR that you have received no UC (MIR is more than your UC entitlement).
    The DWP are incorrect in applying the MIR -  so you need to challenge their decision by requesting a MR  
    https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/universal-credit/problems-with-your-payment/challenging-a-universal-credit-decision-mandatory-consideration/
    https://www.gov.uk/mandatory-reconsideration

    "Will call them tomorrow and see what I have to do,next."

    You need to reopen your UC claim - I think there is a rapid reclaim button on your journal.
    You need to tell them / provide proof of the ESA tribunal decision, and your LCW status. 
    As above - you need to challenge the incorrect MIR decision by requesting a MR  

    Per my post on March 17th.

    You should be receiving the above amount of UC (subject to earnings) ongoing, and a recalculated backdate from the start of your claim. For the month your earnings were above £503 the UC will be a lower figure than £444.

    Are you receiving Council Tax support?
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