Author Topic: Can I move from IR ESA to CB & thus retain some income if partner moves in?  (Read 452 times)

One Girl and her Big Dog

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I'm on IR ESA, with SDP, (in LCWRA group) having been migrated from IB some years ago. I also get HB & CTS & PIP.   I THINK I was originally on CB, but moved to IR when I was awarded MRC DLA, in order to claim SDP   


Am I right to think that as things stand, if I have a (working) partner move in I would lose everything except PIP and would have to make a joint claim for UC to get any (possible) housing support? 


I'm sure i've heard that if you are on CB ESA in the support group it can be paid indefinitely regardless of partners income, is that correct?


If that is so, can I request move to CB ESA, so that change of household would not trigger UC migration? 




Or is it the case that I simply cannot live with a partner without becoming entirely (except for PIP) financially dependant on them?


Thanks in advance.
1G



>edited to remove 'stray' formatting error, others seem to have been sorted as requested by IG - KK
« Last Edit: 14 Nov 2021 04:31PM by KizzyKazaer »

Fiz

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Yes on IR any income your partner received would be taken into account and you'd need to make a joint UC claim to see if your income is low enough to be topped up by any amount.


Others will need to confirm but as I understand if you have paid enough NI contributions you can claim CB ESA for a year before needing to revert to IR claim. However any change of circumstances now such as a partner moving in would end your ESA claim as you would switch to UC, again as I understand it.


I think currently anyone with the severe disability element of ESA is "protected" from being switched to UC however that lasts until there's a change of circumstances which ends that protection. Hopefully Monic can confirm whether I am right.

Sunny Clouds

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Re. contributions-based ESA (including based on national insurance credits whilst claiming benefits).  This is not about UC.  Therefore scroll on by if insufficient NI contributions and/or NI credits for contributions-based benefits.

My perspective/experience - I am on contributions-based ESA, and have been for about 4 years.   Previously I was on ESA with a combination of contributions-based and means-tested.  I am in the support group.  No one seems to be interested in re-assessing me.

I think it's important to distinguish between what I'll colloquially call 'old' ESA and 'new' ESA.  When the government and media talk about UC replacing six benefits with one, it's a load of twaddle - it's about replacing six benefits with three. 

Let me take it back further to make it easier to conceptualise.  Before ESA, we had incapacity benefit (contributions based) and income support (means tested) and you could get either one or both.

ESA replaced incapacity benefit and income support with one benefit consisting of two elements, contributions-based and means-tested, and you could get one or both.

Then along came IDS's super-duper UC.  Oops!  What do do with the people on contributions-based ESA?  Quick, invent 'legacy' ESA which replaces the contributions-based element of ESA, which replaced incapacity benefit.  Government information has now drifted across to calling it 'new-style' ESA.  Well, mostly.  Sometimes they call it 'old-style' ESA, but I think they're just getting muddled there and 'old-style' ESA is, erm, the old not-yet-transferred ESA, referred to elsewhere by the government just as ESA.  Just don't get too nitpicky over their random press-release and politician soundbite jargon.  I'm amazed I haven't yet heard any politicians referring to 'new-style old-style ESA'. 

Another way I conceptualise the difference between what it gets called is 'ESA' = 'you're already on ESA and we haven't got round to transferring you to UC yet', 'new-style ESA' = 'claim UC, oh dear, you can't because you've got income/capital, so claim this out-of-date benefit'.

All such wonderful fun for claimants and DWP staff as we all play musical benefits and musical jargon.  But in reality, it doesn't matter.  UC's for those who haven't got much income or savings and ESA's for those that have and that have clocked up enough NI contributions or credits.

In my case, I had my contributions then had an inheritance and bye-bye means-tested element, just ESA (contributions-based).  However, whilst some government stuff distinguishes between different sorts of ESA, my paperwork just says ESA.

Edited to add

I came back and edited this.  When I first typed it, I'd checked on the .gov website and found the new sort of ESA referred to as 'old-style', but then I took another look and found that other .gov pages call it 'new-style'.  So I've edited what I wrote, but the key thing is that I hope I've been clear that there's two sorts - the original one with two elements, plus (not replaced by) the newer one with just contributions-based element.  If you look at any official guidance, take care when reading it and don't assume consistent jargon.

The other thing is that as a general principle my approach if the jargon in relation to anything official is inconsistent on official websites and reputable advice sites etc., I expect there to be a possibility of crossed wires when dealing with officialdom, so I tend to use descriptive phrases like "the sort of ESA you get if you've got national insurance credits and you're not eligible for UC".

The rest of my original post

As regards re-assessment, I haven't been re-assessed for ESA for yonks and my eligibility wasn't re-assessed when I lost my means-tested element.  My PIP migration was about 4 years ago (the assessment started 10 months earlier!) and as yet no one's shown any interest in re-assessing me.  I daresay they will once staffing numbers increase a bit and the government has another anti-benny-scrounger* binge.  (* Other nasty insults for us are available. See tabloids or listen to politicians for latest versions.)

I leave it to others braver than me to make sense of UC.

*** Caution - what I say should be read in the light of anything Monic says, including any errors she may spot in what I've posted.   I've never had cause to doubt what Monic tells us. Others also speak from their personal knowledge and experience and I do not claim to know better than them what they have observed. ***
« Last Edit: 13 Nov 2021 11:03PM by Sunny Clouds »
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

One Girl and her Big Dog

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Thank you Fiz & Sunny for your replies. 


Fiz:"Others will need to confirm but as I understand if you have paid enough NI contributions you can claim CB ESA for a year before needing to revert to IR claim".
I thought that the one year rule didn't apply if you were in the 'support' (LCWRA) group
"However any change of circumstances now such as a partner moving in would end your ESA claim as you would switch to UC, again as I understand it."   Yes, that is my fear.

Sunny: Thank you. A friend of mine is in a similar situation, having come into some money and was moved back to CB, which is why I wondered if a move back to CB would be possible for me. Hopefully monic will be able to shed some light. 
Thanks again for your help.

1G

ps. sorry I haven't been on here for years, life has a habit of getting in the way, but I knew the folks on here would understand the issues and offer some idea.
« Last Edit: 13 Nov 2021 09:34PM by One Girl and her Big Dog »

Sunny Clouds

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One Girl - note that I've edited my comment having looked at another couple of bits of government stuff and noted inconsistent usage on their part.

But the principle remains the same.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Sunshine Meadows

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I am still having trouble reading a bunch of text at once but I want to let you know when I added my husband to my ESA claim I  was moved over to Income related Old Style ESA with my husband as a dependent. I asked several times will I be able to claim Contributions based ESA if my husband starts working again and was told yes. I don't know if that is a future proof answer but my understanding is if a person paid enough National Insurance Contributions before they became too sick to work that is carried forward as long as you remain sick. In the same way people moved from Invalidity Benefit to Contribution based ESA or combination of Contributions based and Income related. Check you paperwork for the description of what you benefit is comprised of. Mine does say Contributions based and income related.


When it comes down to it I am sorry but there is no way of knowing for sure until you change your claim .


Dont worry about not being here, it is just the way it goes sometimes.

One Girl and her Big Dog

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Thank you Sunshine.  That's reassuring.


My paperwork just says 'Income Related', but as I say i've been on IB/ESA for years and i'm sure it used to be Contribution based.


I've also checked my NI record and i've been receiving credits continually.


As you say no way to know for sure without applying, but I wanted an idea to see whether my bf moving in at some point is possible, or entirely out of the question (coz due to previous experiences there is no way i'd make myself entirely financially dependant on someone else).


Thanks again everyone.
1G

Sunny Clouds

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Forgive me going into general financial issues, but I know a couple where they're not married and live together and where, over the decades, there have been some issues over who's got what rights and who's responsible for what.  Mostly, it's just been dealt with by haggling, but more recently it has become more of a problem.  For instance, there's the issue in relation to their home of one of them being the tenant, not both being joint tenants.  There's the issue of one having savings that the other is deemed for benefits purposes to have access to, but which the one with the savings appears reluctant to share.

Issues over who's responsible for what, who's entitled to what etc. happens anyway with couples, married or not, so I'm not saying it's a specific unmarried couple thing.  What is specific to unmarried couples, though, is that the law treats them as a couple for some purposes and not for others, which is particularly an issue financially.

So I'll say to you what I've said to others, which is that I think it's well worth making sure you've thought ahead of implications over what is in joint names and what isn't, maybe with a bit of swotting up and taking into account things like age difference if one of you might approach retirement age before the other.

(Sunny avoids mentioning getting wills sorted lest anyone notice that hypocritically she hasn't got round to updating her own will when she meant to recently.)
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Fiz

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This is really interesting to me because until I became unwell and claimed benefits I had worked and paid NI. Then maybe despite many years passing because I can paid NI contributions that means I can claim CB benefits and yet I have always been assessed as IR. I guess previously I had a 12 year period dependent on an abusive man so was not contributing then and that's been the barrier. The gap in contributing.


I'm thankful for this thread as I am learning.

Monic1511

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Hi One Girl


If your partner moves in you’ll lose your SDP 1st as you no longer live alone, that would mean your income related amount would drop by £64/week. As you’re in the LCWRA group you need to check if you get paid this as it was abolished for new claims by David Cameron I think, but it meant income related claims don’t always get the extra £29.70, ESA is £74.70 at basic rate.


A partner joining your household would mean a change of circumstances triggering a UC claim, you wouldn’t get back onto income related ESA ever.  Housing benefit and council tax reduction stop, you’d need to include housing costs in the UC claim.


UC says that 2 adults over 25 need £509.91 plus £128.89 lower rate of the work capability element.  To work out housing costs check the local housing allowance for your area, if you’re over 35 you’ll qualify for the 1 bedroom rate. Remember these are monthly amounts


You are right PIP isn’t affected.


As for National insurance contributions, only class 1 contributions count toward contributions based ESA, class 1 contributions are paid by employees and employers.


Sorry it’s not good news

One Girl and her Big Dog

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Thank you for your reply Monic


I knew i'd lose SDP immediately, as you say, I wouldn't be the only adult.   I've been on ESA since migrating from IB so I do get the LCWRA addition.


I realised that partner moving in - a change of circumstances triggering UC, end of HB & CTS etc, and the long term implications of that should he ever move out again.


UC amounts are far, far lower than my current ESA.  All very off putting.


Also, I thought that might be the case with the class of NI contributions, HOWEVER...




The DWP website https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-style-employment-and-support-allowance
says
New Style ESA
Your situation
You’re ill and unable to work.
You’ve paid and/or been credited with (my emphasis) NI contributions in the last 2 to 3 years (employed or self–employed).
Your partner works.


You can claim New Style ESA, as your partner’s work does not affect it.
...

So, if i'd be able to claim 'new style ESA'  does it not stand to reason that I could retain the CB ESA I already get??   :xfingers:   (possibly not as a - logic and the DWP don't mix & b -New Style ESA would be less due to the removal of the LCWRA component). 


Obviously if we needed help with Housing Costs or Council Tax Support i'd have to claim UC (with all the implications you've pointed out), but my thought is that bf wage is enough to cover rent and CT, (I have council accommodation).   


My need to retain an income of my own is almost as much to do with my need to retain some control psychologically as it is to have the extra income, if that makes sense. 


Unfortunately there is no welfare advice centre anywhere near me, local CAB seem to know less than I do, and the DWP told me there was no such thing as CB ESA with IR top up, so not much help there either.


Have I completely misunderstood the New Style ESA and/or CB ESA rules?


Thanks in advance
1G
« Last Edit: 19 Nov 2021 12:39PM by One Girl and her Big Dog »

Monic1511

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Hi


New style ESA will focus on your NI contributions, have you paid class 1 contributions in the past 2 tax years, if you’re getting con based ESA right now then you should just stay on that.  The issue would then be doing the sums regarding partners wages and and potential housing element.


Sorry I’m not good regarding NI contributions.


Contact ESA and ask for a proof of award letter and start date to check exactly what your getting, if the income part is only the SDP then that means that you keep the main part even if your partner earns thousands


Best wishes
Monic

Sunny Clouds

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On the NI credit aspect when moving from benefit to benefit...

I claimed ESA as someone transferring from IB & IS.  I paid NI until I went on IB, then got credits, which continued when I went on ESA.  But I got income-related ESA because that was higher than contributions-based.

When I inherited and lost my income-related benefit, I kept contributions-based, so my NI credits obviously carried on over the years whilst I was on income-related.

That being said, I'm in support group, and I've no idea whatsoever what relevance that has to the amount paid as opposed to being able to say what's happened NI credit-wise.

Incidentally, I haven't done it for a couple of years, but it used to be pretty simple to get a letter from HMRC showing what NI contributions and credits you've got.  I think I found the address to write to amongst stuff about pensions, so if you can't get info elsewhere, that may be somewhere to look.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

ditchdwellers

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If you're not sure about your NI record you can just phone them and they will send it to you. You don't need to write  to them anymore.
I have to buy back past years as the only benefit I'm entitled to is PIP. In my last job I worked part time and didn't work enough hours to pay NI contributions. Stupidly I didn't think to make Voluntary Contributions so now I need to buy back those years otherwise I won't have paid enough before I reach retirement age to get a full pension.


A very helpful woman on the NI phone line helped me work out how many years I needed to buy back and whether or not it was worth it.


In the meantime, I have set up a Direct Debit to pay monthly contributions to keep my current record up to date whilst we save up to buy the previous years. I pay about £61.00 a month so having NI Credits paid if you are on a qualifying benefit is definitely worth it.

One Girl and her Big Dog

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Thank you Monic, I'll contact them and ask for that.  The letters I do have say that my ESA is based on my NI contributions and any other money the law says I need to live on.  (Which suggests CB to me - but who knows). 


Thank you Sunny & Ditchdwellers - There's now an even simpler way to get you NI record , online via the Government Gateway.  https://www.gov.uk/check-national-insurance-record


Thanks Again 1G