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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Covid-19: Welfare benefit issues  →  Thread

CB ESA stopped with no warning. Now on no income. Best course of action?

JAS1
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Hi,

Client’s CB ESA stopped without any warning or notice due to 12 months ending. Client phoned ESA and they are sending her out a form, client does not know which form.

Client has no income aside from partners SSP. Can’t pay any bills or mortgage and is going in for an operation Monday so will be out of action for a while.

What is likely to be the fastest way to get their money restarted? Can she even claim income related ESA? I assume so if ESA are sending her a form. Or is getting a UC claim in and requesting an advance likely to be faster?

I realise a WCA is going to be a massive wait anyway

second issue is her partner might return to work at some point so don’t want her to lose entitlement to CB ESA as she will need to rely on that as income might be too high for UC

Cheers

[ Edited: 3 Mar 2021 at 11:20 am by JAS1 ]
Elliot Kent
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If she claimed ESA 12 months ago then it is going to be new style ESA so there is no possibility of an income related entitlement. ESA should still carry out a WCA. In the event that she is allocated to the support group, she will be entitled to ESA beyond the 365 days and the support component so would get paid in arrears.

If the couple want to top up their income in the meantime then the only real way to do this is going to be UC. I am not sure there is really any good reason not to make a claim. If the partner goes back to work then the additional income will reduce the UC.

Daphne
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Alongside that she could also try and contact the ring-fenced team and send in further evidence if she has it to get her assessment expedited - https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/welfare-rights/news/item/dwp-has-no-plans-to-extend-time-limit-for-payment-of-contributory-esa-where-claimants-have-reached-365-day-limit-but-not-had-work-capability-assessment

JAS1
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Cheers Elliot, thought as much. I assume the form they are sending out is the ESA/UC50 then. I am not sure if she started ESA 12 months ago or that is when she was reassessed and lost the support group status, would this start a 12 month period from that point?

So claim UC, reclaim new style ESA and wait for WCA then. Then if partner starts working again at least New Style ESA can carry on when UC stops. UC only accrues class3 NI right? So if they go UC only she may lose the possibility of claiming CB ESA in the future

Elliot Kent
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JAS1 - 03 March 2021 11:48 AM

I am not sure if she started ESA 12 months ago or that is when she was reassessed and lost the support group status,

It’s going to be extremely important to figure that one out - because if you are saying that actually she has been on ESA for years then it could be old-style in which case the advice is different.

JAS1 - 03 March 2021 11:48 AM

So claim UC, reclaim new style ESA and wait for WCA then. Then if partner starts working again at least New Style ESA can carry on when UC stops. UC only accrues class3 NI right? So if they go UC only she may lose the possibility of claiming CB ESA in the future

Reclaiming nsESA shouldn’t be necessary - they should continue with the WCA anyway. There have been suggestions of some cases where this hasn’t been done so I would keep an eye on it.

Don’t worry about the credits for now.

Va1der
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JAS1 - 03 March 2021 11:48 AM

Cheers Elliot, thought as much. I assume the form they are sending out is the ESA/UC50 then. I am not sure if she started ESA 12 months ago or that is when she was reassessed and lost the support group status, would this start a 12 month period from that point?

No, it will continue any remainder of the 365 day period since start of claim. I was going to point out that this is the only event in which this could be old-style ESA: If she was placed in the support group in the past, but subsequently lost it.

JAS1
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Thanks.

Spoke to client again

Client has been on ESA since late 2019 after previously being on Carers Allowance. Has had WCA. Passed WCA in the support group apparently. Got 3 letters one saying she was in the support group and one saying she wasn’t and another that made no sense. The letter gave the SG payment amount but the other letter gave the standard amount with no SG addition. No reassessments since then. Now ESA has ended after 12 months so it seems this is 12 months after the WCA decision. So ESA have told her she was in the SG but then not actually put her in the SG and now ended her claim.

Will have to try and phone them as it’s not making sense!

Elliot Kent
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JAS1 - 03 March 2021 12:18 PM

it’s not making sense!

Quite.

JAS1
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Spoke to ESA. She had SG in 2019, lost it on 20/02/2020. Client was not aware (she was very ill around that point apparently). They have sent her a WCA form as she told them her health is worse. Her WCA was not up for reassessment yet otherwise.

So, she can now claim UC and her current LCW status will carry over to UC?

Then fill WCA when it arrives, eventually get a WC assessment and if successful LCWRA will apply to UC and New Style ESA can be restarted in the future under same status?

Partner can request his own WCA

Have I missed/misunderstood anything?

Elliot Kent
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Sorry the important question is still when did she first claim ESA? And were you in full service at that time. You need to know if you are dealing with old or new style.

JAS1
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Ah sorry Elliot. ESA say she claimed in 2017 for some reason but this isn’t true, she claimed at the end of 2019. I believe her job centre would have been full service then but I can’t remember the dates they all went full service in Manchester.

Va1der
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2017 makes more sense, given as you say that she had already been assessed for LCWRA by the end of 2019, and both reported and failed to respond to a supersession form, presumably in early 2020.

JAS1
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She returned the ESA50 in December 2019 I believe. So I was assuming she started claim around 13 weeks or so before this give or take a few weeks.

2017 may have been a previous claim as client is adamant she was not on ESA before 2019 as she was a carer not claiming anything for her own health issues

[ Edited: 3 Mar 2021 at 01:58 pm by JAS1 ]
Elliot Kent
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The first thing to note is that she is still, barely, within the absolute time limit to request an MR of the decision that she had LCW but not LCWRA from 20/02/20. The merits of challenging that should be considered.

Beyond that, the possible scenarios are either that she has an award of old-style or new-style ESA. This will depend on whether the claim was made before the area went full service.

If she has an old-style award, then it is possible to request that any income related entitlement is put into place. (Claiming UC would also be an option, you would need to do better-offs)

If she has a new-style award, that will not be possible and she would need to look at claiming UC.

In either case there is no obvious reason for her to reclaim ESA. The WCA will go ahead and once the outcome of that is known, her proper entitlement ought to be put in place.

If she does claim UC, her assessment should carry forward.

JAS1
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Thanks very much for the info.

Just to throw another spanner in the works client has double checked and partner isn’t actually just getting SSP, he is getting it topped up by his employer. So no UC or IR ESA anyway :(

So looks like late MR a good option, thinking about it though I think this is the first WCA failure so can she go straight to appeal and get paid pending appeal?

Elliot Kent
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There would be no payments pending appeal because the 365 day time limit still applies.

It would be tactically better to put a late MR in than to go straight to appeal. That is because even if the late MR is refused, your client would have a right of appeal on the merits. If you go straight to appeal then the DWP could object to the appeal on the grounds of delay and would probably have a forceful argument that there is no reason to extend time.

JAS1
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Ah yeah of course, time limit up regardless, damn.

Ok late MR is looking like the only option then!

If the MR/appeal fails, and the new WCA fails and the claim gets closed entirely down the line would there be an issue where she has a break in national insurance contributions meaning she then can’t claim new style ESA at all?

I believe she probably only qualified for CB ESA through carers allowance which she no longer qualifies for (cared for died)