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Collection of documents to help people with Benefits

Changes to Contribution Based Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) Spring 2012

Please read the following article if you are at present on this benefit as you will be affected by these changes if the proposed changes go through. Some people will have already have received a letter about this, hopefully this will give you more information.

Changes To Contribution Based Employment Support
Allowance Spring}Ol2
Citizens Advice EIS (1.11.2011)
The government is proposing changes to contributory Employment and Support
Allowance (ESA). These proposals are going through Parliament but are not yet law.
If they become law, the changes will start in April 2012 at the earliest (later in
Northern Ireland).
What are the proposed changes
The proposed changes are:
if you're in the Work-related Activity Group, the amount of time for which you can
get contributory ESA will be limited to 12 months
If you're limited capability for work began in youth (before the age of 20 or, in some
cases, before the age of 25), there will be no special conditions of entitlement.
What do the changes mean for you
If the changes become law and you're getting contributory ESA in the Work-related
Activity Group, you'll lose your contributory ESA after 12 months. Time spent in the
Support Group or breaks in your claim will not count towards the 12 months. Periods
spent in the Work-related Activity Group will be added together.
If you have already been getting contributory ESA in the Work-related Activity
Group for 12 months or more when the change comes in, your contributory ESA will
stop immediately.
If you moved from lncapacity Benefit or Severe Disablement Allowance on to
contributory ESA and you were placed in the Work-related Activity Group, yotx 12
months entitlement to contributory ESA will be calculated from the day you moved
from your old benefit.
If your limited capability for work began in youth, you will have to meet the same
national insurance conditions as everyone else when you make a new claim for
contributory ESA. If you are placed in the Work-related Activity Group, your
contributory ESA will be limited to 12 months.
If you're in the Support Group, your ESA will not be time limited.
If you're getting income-related ESA, your income-related ESA will not be time
If you're in the Work-related Activity Group and getting both contributory and
income-related ESA, the contributory element will stop after 12 months. Your
income-related ESA will continue and be adjusted to cover the loss, provided your
other income and your capital remain the same. If your income or capital changes, this
may affect the amount of income-related ESA you get.
If you're in the Work-related Activity Group and you're getting contributory ESA but
not income-related ESA, you may become eligible for income-related ESA when your
contributory ESA stops. You will not need to make a new claim for this, but you may
need to supply further information to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
Income-related ESA is means tested, so the amount you get depends on your income
and capital and on the income and capital of your partner, if you have one.
If you require any additional information please call our
Telephone Gateway Service on
01772 424282
Changes To Contribution Based Employment Support
Allowance Spring20l2
What to do now
You do not need to do anything to continue to receive your current benefit. If you
receive ESA in the Work-related Activity Group, Jobcentre Plus will write to you
about the proposals in the four weeks starting 19 September 2011. If the proposals
become law, they will write to you again before the change takes effect.
If you might be eligible for income-related ESA when your contributory ESA stops,
but you are not getting it now, make sure that you provide Jobcentre Plus with up-todate
details of your income and capital before the change takes effect. This will
ensure that they have all the information that they need to transfer you on to incomerelated
ESA when the time comes.
If you are getting contributory ESA in the Work-related Activity Group but you have
a health condition that is getting worse, you might become eligible to be placed in the
Support Group instead. This would mean that your contributory ESA would not be
time limited. If you think this might apply to you, you would have to show that your
health had got worse since the decision was made to place you in the Work-related
Activity Group. You need to contact your local Jobcentre Plus office and ask for a
review of your case, providing extra medical evidence. You may be asked to attend a
further Work Capability Assessment.
If your income falls when your contributory ESA stops, you may become eligible for
other means-tested benefits or an increase in these benefits if you are already getting
them. For example, you may be able to claim more:
Housing Benefit
Council Tax Benefit
Working Tax Credit
Child Tax Credit
Pension Credit.
It would be in your best interest to get your benefit entitlement checked, you
could arrange this by contacting Our Telephone Enquiry Line on 01772 424282,
or alternatively Welfare Rights on 0845 053 0013 or Turn 2 Us on their free
phone number 0808 802 2000
More information about the proposed changes can be found on Department for
Work and Pensions website www.dwp.gov,uk
Please Note:
It is very important that if your are set to loose your payment of Employment
Support Allowance that you factor this into your weekly budget, and seek
appropriate budgeting or debt advice as soon as possible if you feel you will not
be able to continue to meet any agreed repayments for monies borrowed.
If you require any additional information please call our
Telephone Gateway Service on
01772 424282

Call for Evidence

Meeting with Prof Harrington
DWP Caxton House

There were 12 charities represented from a wide range of conditions and disabilities.  Prof Harrington came across as very supportive of the difficulties faced by claimants and prepared to argue strongly for any improvements needed.

During the first year and for his interim report changes were made from anecdotal evidence.  This was compelling as stories from all quarters were giving similar messages on the changes needed.  However for this year’s report and recommendations, robust evidence is required.


Benefit Changes as a result of the Spending Review

The outline of changes in benefits as stated in the Spending Review in particular the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) are as follows. If you are on contribution based ESA this will be time limited to one year for people who are in the work related activity group. Thus if you have savings, pensions or a partner who works you are likely to lose your ESA after one year as you may not be eligible for income related ESA. The benefit you would then be looking at is JSA but this is also means tested and you need to meet the ‘work-seeking’ conditions and thus many people who lose their contributory ESA will not be eligible to move onto JSA afterwards.

If you are in the ESA support group you will not lose your contribution-based ESA whilst you remain in the support group. As yet it is not clear whether this will apply only to new claimants of ESA or to existing claimants as well, which could include Incapacity Benefit claimants who are awaiting assessment for ESA, because there is no mention of transitional relief this suggests that it will apply to existing claimants.

As far as the ’1 year period’ is concerned it is likely to run as from April 2011 not any earlier but as yet this is not clear.

If you are living on benefits the government are bringing in a ‘benefits cap’ which means that from 2013 the maximum benefits a household can get will be around £500 a week and for single adults £350 a week, including housing costs. However if someone in the household receives DLA, working tax credit or war widows pension these figures do not apply.

Regarding DLA a white paper is due to be published this autumn and as soon as we have any information on this and what the proposals are we will publish it in the magazine.


Survey on Disability Living Allowance changes

Hi, I work for disability charity Papworth Trust. We've launched a 5 minute survey http://t.co/fuhQmU on Disability Living Allowance changes. If you receive DLA or know someone who does, please take the survey and pass on the link - we want to be able to take as many responses as possible to the political decision makers! Thanks for your time, Kate

Sick Leave in the Workplace

We have previously featured a notice on the website asking any chronic pain sufferers who've taken sick leave from work, and any managers handling such leave, to contact Elaine if interested in being interviewed for research.

Thanks to people's interest, she has interviewed enough employees but still need more managers. It's  obviously really useful and important to try to get their views on what would help them to support employees more effectively. If you are an employer or can pass this message on to someone that is please help with this important study.

Notice is included below:

A team at the University of Bath is researching people’s views on sick leave for any chronic pain condition, such as long term back pain). We want to highlight examples of positive experiences, as well as exploring how we can improve things that both employers and employees find difficult. We want to find out what you think of Government policies, especially the new ‘fit note’, in relation to health and well being in the workplace.

  • Are you an employer who has managed employee sick leave for any chronic pain condition?
  • What do you feel about the new Government Fit Note?
  • Do you have 30 minutes’ spare for an anonymous interview?

In return, full study findings will be made available to you so you can see how different organisations manage sick leave and how employees perceive this. Managers who have been interviewed so far have found that it's been useful to think about their practice.      


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