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  1. #1
    Question submitted via Daily Express newspaper
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    1,927

    Do I have to apply again for my Employment Support Allowance?

    I am now utterly annoyed with the Department of Work and Pensions. I have spent seemingly hours on the telephone to the DWP in Belfast and got nowhere.

    I am receiving no benefits from the DWP. I used to have Employment Support Allowance (ESA). This has now been stopped, apparently because they have not received medical certificates.

    I say now that I am not capable of working. I have been disabled since a serious motorcycle accident, which occurred on 1 January 1986. A medical certificate has been forwarded, and it covers me for the next three months.

    Do I have to apply again for my ESA benefit, or suffer for ever with no food, no electricity, now new clothes, no holidays, etc?


    Roger Hill

  2. #2
    Financial Journalist
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    468
    Blog Entries
    5
    ESA is fiendishly complicated and was introduced by the Government to make sure sick and disabled people are encouraged to consider what they can do to get back into work. It only came in in 2008, so I am not sure if you were previously on a different benefit and have 'migrated' onto ESA. There are also two types - income based and contributions based - you get the former if you have a low income and little savings, the latter only if you have made enough National Insurance contributions (but you cannot get both).

    I was under the impression that ESA recipients were placed in one of two groups - a work related activity group or a support group (this latter is for those with the most severe problems). I do not know why your ESA has been stopped but below is some information about very recent changes to ESA that may be explain it which I have taken from the DWP website. I suggest that, instead of calling the DWP, you make an appointment to go along in person. You should have been given a personal adviser when you first claimed ESA, so could you not contact him/her and ask for clarification?



    On 1 May 2012 the Welfare Reform Act 2012 introduced two changes to contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). They are:
    to limit the period for which people in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) can receive contribution-based ESA to 365 days; and
    to prevent any new claims for ESA on the grounds of youth (ESA (Y)).

    The ESA 104 week linking rule has also been abolished by separate regulations. The legislation to support these changes applies retrospectively so that claimants in the work related activity group who have already received 365 days of contribution based ESA saw their entitlement end on 30 April 2012.

    What are the changes?

    The Welfare Reform Act limits the amount of time people who are not in the Support Group can claim contribution-based ESA to a period not exceeding 365 days without re-qualifying. Time spent in the Assessment phase will count towards the 365 day time limit unless it is immediately followed by entitlement to the support component. People not in the Support Group who have already received contribution-based ESA for 365 days or more will have their entitlement stopped as soon as the change takes effect. This means that the last day benefit will be paid for is 30 April 2012.

    The Act has also removed the special contribution conditions that allow people aged between 16 and 20 (or under 25 if in education or training at least three months immediately before turning 20) to receive contribution-based ESA without paying National Insurance contributions, this was called ESA 'Youth'. This means that all new claims to contribution-based ESA will need to meet the standard contribution conditions.

    People not in the Support Group who are currently claiming contribution-based ESA and qualified under 'Youth' provisions will have their contribution-based ESA time limited to 365 days. People in the Support Group will continue to receive contribution-based ESA providing they continue to meet the qualifying criteria.

    Young people will still be able to claim income-related ESA if they are entitled to do so.

    All new claimants who are placed in the Work Related Activity Group will be informed that their contribution-based ESA is time limited to 365 days.

    People in the Support Group and those solely claiming income-related ESA are unaffected.

    Abolition of 104 week linking

    Previously, where a claimant left ESA and started work or training within one month, then returned to ESA within 104 weeks, their benefit was re-instated at the same rate as previously. As a result of time limiting, the 104 week linking rule would prevent some claimants who had left benefit and paid National Insurance contributions, for example by working, from re-qualifying for a further 365 days of contribution-based ESA and it has therefore been abolished.

    What we are doing to support claimants immediately affected by time limiting

    From 29 February 2012 we began contacting claimants in receipt of contribution-based ESA, who have not been assessed for income-related ESA and whose benefit will end between 30 April 2012 and 3 June 2012, to inform them of the change of their entitlement from 30 April 2012 and ask if they wish to be considered for income-related ESA. These claimants were sent a further letter after 9 April 2012.

    The standard process we are introducing will ensure that those claimants whose contribution-based ESA stops on or after 4 June 2012, will be issued with a letter eight weeks beforehand. The letter will include details of how to be considered for income-related ESA.

    Claimants, where we are already aware of an underlying entitlement to income-related ESA, will be automatically moved onto this when their contribution-based ESA ends.

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