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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Universal credit migration  →  Thread

cbESA credits only claim - no ibESA must be UC? 

CAR
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Hi All,

Cl has presented and is on cbESA (WRAG) - credits only claim after contributions exhausted in Feb this year, she did not make claim for ibESA as she lived with a partner and she also had PIP - ER DL & ER Mob. She has continued to meet conditions for ESA and attends WFIs. Partner has since passed away (May) but cl has not claimed any ib benefit living solely on PIP.
Tried to get the DWP to send an ESA3 to move her to ibESA but they state that as she’s been on a credits only claim for over 12 weeks must now be a claim for UC. Is this correct? tried looking in the guidance but can’t find what I’m looking for.
There’s no SDP eligibility as she has a relative living with her.

Thanks in advance

Elliot Kent
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It sounds right to me. Her ESA was correctly terminated and all that remained was her national insurance credits (which isn’t relevant). She can’t make a new claim for income related ESA because it doesn’t exist anymore and her 365 days is up for her cESA. There’s no possibility of linking a claim due to the dates.

I suppose that there might be some clever way of resurrecting her cESA by way of getting the decision to put her into the WRAG revised or superseded so as to put her into the support group but I suspect that would depend on the facts and dates.

Is there some particular reason why this client wants to avoid Universal Credit? It doesn’t sound like it would involve any financial loss to them or impose any new requirements on them that they aren’t already complying with.

CAR
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Yes, no chance of support group at present; main concern is relative is living with her and whilst at this time there’s no eligibility for SDP, the relatives plans are somewhat sketchy so this could change.
At this time, there’s no financial reason for not claiming UC, so I suppose it’s all ‘what ifs?’.

WROTricia
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This thread has come at a very fortuitous time. I have a client who was on IR-ESA, came into a little bit of money and ESA payments stopped for more than 12 weeks although credits continued. Now savings are below the threshold ESA will be going back into payment shortly, but have they lost the WRAC forever? Cl has automatic LCFW due to dialysis so no dispute over whether they continued to meet WRAG criteria. I thought that a credits-only claim was still technically a claim to ESA, but from what you have said Elliot that’s not right.

Elliot Kent
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WROTricia - 04 October 2018 03:40 PM

I thought that a credits-only claim was still technically a claim to ESA, but from what you have said Elliot that’s not right.

“Credits only” ESA or JSA is a bit of a myth created by the way that the DWP handle the distinct processes of (1) awarding benefits and (2) allocating NI credits.

Rather than having two parallel systems in place to do essentially the same job, the DWP just treat the two things as one and the same. Where entitlement to benefit has ceased but entitlement to credits persists, its become convenient to refer to a “credits only” award of the benefit.

But in the (legal) reality, when the award of benefit ends, it ends. Entitlement to credits is something completely different. If your ESA stops and you go “credits only”, then you are no longer an ESA claimant at all - just a recipient of NI credits for incapacity.

The result should be that a “credits only” recipient cannot revive their ESA award in a full service area - because its an entirely new claim.

However, I am aware of a number of cases where the DWP have accepted ESA3s from people who are “credits only” (probably as a result of confusion caused by their own terminology) so your client could give it a shot subject to them being advised about the risk. Not something you can really insist on though.

There is a thread somewhere where Martin from CPAG goes through all this…

[ Edited: 4 Oct 2018 at 08:14 pm by Elliot Kent ]
HB Anorak
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I think this is the thread that Elliot is referring to.

Elliot Kent
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HB Anorak - 04 October 2018 08:00 PM

I think this is the thread that Elliot is referring to.

Yes, that’s the one - thanks.

I was on my phone on the train and couldn’t find the link (also might explain the typos which I’ve now hopefully fixed…)

Julia T
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We have a client in a similar but different situation. She has been in receipt of ESA(C) (in the support group) for a considerable time - it definitely predates UCFS making it the ‘original’ ESA not ESA new style. She also gets PIP DL. Her partner was previously working so she had no entitlement to ESA(ir) and he couldn’t claim CA. He is now unwell and his SSP has ended - though he is likely to recover enough in due course to resume working. They have HB in payment.

The partner is going to claim CA now his SSP is no longer in payment. The dilemma we have is whether to advise them to go for an ESA3 change of circs in ESA, to be paid ESA(ir) or would this trigger a UC claim? Our logic tells us that this will not be a new claim and would therefore not be UC - but we are worried about the risk that this could be treated as a claim for UC.

The other option is to advise him to claim ‘new style ESA’ in his own right based on his own NI conts record. As it would overlap with the CA, it would only get them less than a tenner extra a week until he goes through a WCA, by which time he may be back at work anyway. So hardly seems worth it.

I get that a contribution credits only award is not an award of ESA, but surely an a award of ESA(C) means that she is already getting ESA which includes both the c and ir forms of the benefit? After all, the trawl of missing sdp /edp entitlement for ESA(C) claimants is not triggering any UC claims. Or is adding the partner the fatal flaw here?

bigbill
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Julia T - 10 December 2018 01:14 PM

The partner is going to claim CA now his SSP is no longer in payment.

If he only had SSP why did he not claim Carers then?

Brian JB
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Seeking a supersession of the existing ESA(c) award to include a partner for ESA(IR) will not trigger a UC claim.

Jon (CHDCA)
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.. we are worried about the risk that this could be treated as a claim for UC.

Even if someone did try to claim the “wrong” thing, as far as I am aware there are no provisions which allow a claim for a different benefit to be treated as a claim for UC. This is in contrast to several other benefits, which have specific rules allowing for the interchange of claims. Until managed migration commences, the only thing which risks the “triggering” of UC is if someone actually claims it.

The risks that advisers more need to be aware of include:
- someone needlessly moving off a benefit that they can’t reclaim in future due to being in a UCFS area, leaving them the choice of claiming UC or nothing;
- someone not maximising their legacy benefits prior to managed migration, and so losing out on the highest transitional protection

Now, it might be that e.g., JCP informs a JSA claimant that they now “need to” move on to UC. Or a local authority might tell someone trying to access HB that they “should” claim UC. But the choice of whether to actually claim UC in those cases should remain firmly with the claimant. Even claming new-style ESA or JSA for the first time shouldn’t require that UC also be claimed.

LJF
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resurrecting this - if client was on credits only IRESA in WRAG (kept up with WCAs and WRA)- was on IRESA in WRAG but in 2014 got too much capital. capital now reduced and he has already claimed UC. they are sending him for new WCA and paying standard allowance only.
is there argument that -
1 - he should still be in WRAG without need for an assessment.
2- should pay WRAG component as continuous claim since before april 2017?