Author Topic: Contributions Based ESA WRAG (work related activity group) March 2012 Update  (Read 22797 times)

Sunshine Meadows

  • Administrator
  • Super Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7598
I read about this first on the Benefits and Work website http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/benefits-news/story/442, they gave a link to the information page on the DWP.

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/adviser/updates/changes-to-contribution/


Updated 12 March 2012
Changes to contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance

The Welfare Reform Act 2012 introduces two changes to contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) which come into effect on the 30 April 2012. 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 is also being abolished by separate regulations. These changes will also take effect on 30 April 2012 meaning the last day that a claim can be made using the 104 week linking rule is 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'. Changes will take effect on 30 April 2012, which means that all new people claiming contribution-based ESA will need to satisfy 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.

Once the change takes effect on 30 April 2012 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

Currently, where a claimant leaves ESA and starts work or training within one month, then returns to ESA within 104 weeks, their benefit is 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. Claimants who make a claim to ESA up to and including the 30 April 2012 will still be able to make a linked claim.

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. We will send these claimants 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.

What is contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance?

People receive contribution-based ESA if they have limited capability for work and have paid enough National Insurance contributions whereas income-related ESA is paid to people depending on their income and savings. The changes which take effect on 30 April 2012, will mean that contribution-based ESA can be paid for a maximum of 365 days unless the claimant is in the Support Group.

What is the Work Related Activity Group?

If someone is in the Work Related Activity Group, it has been decided that work may not be appropriate for them now, but with support they can prepare for work in the future.

What is the Support Group?


If someone is severely disabled or has a severe health condition they will be placed in the Support Group. They will not be expected to look for work and will get the extra support they need. They will not have to take up any work related support unless they want to.
What will happen if a claimant's contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance is stopped?

People not in the Support Group who have already been entitled to contribution-based ESA for 365 days or more will have their entitlement stopped when the change is introduced. Claimants with an underlying entitlement to income-related ESA will be automatically moved onto this benefit when their contribution-based ESA ends.


Claimants living abroad and receiving contribution-based ESA will also be affected by the change. People not in the Support Group who have already been entitled to contribution-based ESA for 365 days or more will have their entitlement stopped when the change takes effect on 30 April 2012. The International Pension Centre will contact claimants before their entitlement ends to inform them of when their contribution-based ESA will end and that they are not entitled to receive National Insurance credits and may lose their entitlement to receive other Social Security benefits.

More information about Social Security benefits is available at www.dwp.gov.uk/international/
Claimants living in Northern Ireland

Claimants living in Northern Ireland should contact the office in Northern Ireland that normally deals with their benefit for any further information.

Sunshine Meadows

  • Administrator
  • Super Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7598
I got my call from the Jobcentre today and it was pretty straight forward letting me know my contribution based ESA will stop on April 30th 2012, that I could claim income based ESA my income was low enough and that if I thought I met the criteria for the Support group I could apply for that.

I end up having a bit of a chitchat with the lady and it turned out she had not been told about the the updated information on the DWP website and was relying on the Direct Gov information. Dhe said I would be sent out a letter explaining n writing what was going to happen and what other choices I had. Interestingly enough I got an ESA 50 in the post last week and the lady did not know if it was because someone looked at my file and thought Support Group or it was just a coincidence. Anyway what with all I have going on I may as well filling in the form and update the powers that be to the fact I also have Fibromyalgia now and see what they decide. I did go into a kind of burble mode on the phone saying it is hard because I want to work but I cant and having to go to medicals and fill in forms just reminds me how sick disabled I am.

Anyway to the people on Contributions ESA try not to worry about the phone call is straightforward and does not involve a ESA 50 questions.

 >bighugs< >spoonarmy<

KizzyKazaer

  • Administrator
  • Super Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8436
Another Oucher found out recently that the transfer to income based ESA was painless, too (#reply 23)

http://ouchtoo.org/index.php?topic=2417.15

I end up having a bit of a chitchat with the lady and it turned out she had not been told about the the updated information on the DWP website and was relying on the Direct Gov information

Same old 'right hand, left hand etc' stuff then  >doh<

As you are voluntarily completing the form, fingers crossed for a 'support group decision'  >thumbsup<

Sunshine Meadows

  • Administrator
  • Super Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7598
No news yet so as far as I know this week is the last week I will be getting contribution based ESA. I can't decide whether to ring up and poke the DWP for an update or just wait and see if any money goes into my bank account in the next few weeks.

When I first claimed ESA it took a while and while waiting I rang them up and asked what was happening. The bloke on the phone said ' well do you think you will ever work again?' to which I answered, ' Well I hope so yes,' and this has bugged me ever since. Wanting to work and being able to work are to different things.

I am getting  :-( about the way I am hoping for a 'brown' envelope to arrive any day, hoping it is thin not thick and knowing whatever they decide I will probably  >need a stretcher< because there are no miracle cures.

That being said I also know I am a lot better off than a lot of people and so it should be more possible for me to put this to one side and enjoy life.

Monic1511

  • Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2274
Thanks for this sunshine
Im seeing a lot of people who have the letter and have been told by JC+ to try for support group, Ive been asking for reconsiderations based on "significant deterioration" but have had no results yet & am warning people that they must get supporting medical evidence in case it goes to tribunal  >yikes< >steam<
Our office has so many appeals & clients that we are struggling to deal with everyone :-(
it feels like DWP are making it up as they go along - JC+ send people to appeal but few of them meet the support group criteria so end up 71 a week worse off - ps here's your Mp's phone number is how I often end interviews
sorry for ranting Im tierd :-(
Monic

Sunshine Meadows

  • Administrator
  • Super Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7598
Monic,

Sorry for not replying sooner, I have not been online and doing things much because of pain.
>hugs<
For people like you (and yourself) who work day to day helping others get the best outcome possible for people on benefits a big THANKYOU and hugs>bighugs< I agree with what you said about the DWP making it up as they are going along and and in doing so the underlying stress is causing people to become more sick.

One thing that is really bothering me is that a lot of  people who are to sick to work are being pushed into a poverty trap and those who can work but need help are not being given help into work and so fall back and try to claim benefits clogging the the appeals. I know that last bit sounds a bit harsh but I am just thinking back to the help I was given by Access to Work and how it enable me to work for the time I did.

Sunshine Meadows

  • Administrator
  • Super Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7598
The thin brown envelope has arrived and I have been moved from WRAG to the Support group, which is very good news but it has 'weirded' me out.

The should give hope to other people here especially as I was not asked to go to a medical this time and also I did not include any medical evidence in with my ESA50 - because I am not seeing any specialists at the moment.

I don't know how long it will be before I get reassessed, but reckon I have at least six months.

Sorry if I sound a bit flat part of me is  >bliss<
 :-)


KizzyKazaer

  • Administrator
  • Super Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8436
I have been moved from WRAG to the Support group, which is very good news but it has 'weirded' me out.

I think I might know what you're feeling - basically, having to accept that you have more limitations than you wanted to believe you had and this just confirms it, good news though it is.  I had a similar reaction when I was awarded DLA higher rate care... I assure you it will pass, though  >thumbsup<

seegee

  • Charter Member and Volunteer
  • Super Hero Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 5166
That's good news, SM.  >thumbsup<  >magicfairy<

Hurtyback

  • Charter Member
  • Super Hero Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 5800
That is one less thing to worry about for a while, Sunny  >thumbsup<

Sofie

  • Guest
That's good news, SM. I think Jockice was the same - he seemed shocked that he got into the support group with no medical.

Sunshine Meadows

  • Administrator
  • Super Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7598
 :-) Thank you.

I am brooding less now that I mentioned the news here and also let my sister know.

Sofie I am glad you mentioned Jockice because it reminded me that being in the Support Group does not mean I have no life. I think what was making me  >erm< was that when I was first assessed back in 2009 only 6% got into the Support Groups and I needed to take on board that figure is now 26%.

I was the same when I got my DLA award (like Kizzy) and I know it will pass.

I guess because disability benefits are so hard to get that when you do get them it is much harder to 'pretend' to yourself that you can get better next week, next month or next year.

Anyway although I have no idea what the review date will I reckon I have at least six months of getting back to being me and not a name on a benefit form.

By the way I know it  is much harder for those not getting the right benefit and my  :-( in now way compares to the  >bigheadache< >hurtandunconscious< >crying< other people have. Hopefully my 'success' and Jokice's will help people see it is possible to get through okay

hossylass

  • Guest
Hurrah Sunshine about the award ! >biggrin<

Sorry I didn't respond sooner, but not too well at the moment. I may not be around as much as I want to be, but really struggling, and doped up to cope, which means my brain is mush.

Anyhow, well done, a big relief.

Sunshine Meadows

  • Administrator
  • Super Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7598
Quote
Hurrah Sunshine about the award ! >biggrin<

Not having to have a medical or appeal has definitely made my summer whatever the weather.

Quote
really struggling, and doped up to cope, which means my brain is mush.


 >hugs< not been here much myself which has reduced neuralgia and given me time off from Tramadol, so next step is to try to blance things more. Sorry you are hurting and poorly, hopefully it will start to ease soon.

RoseRodent

  • Charter Member
  • Diamond member
  • ****
  • Posts: 390
I may not be entirely understanding this, but if you recover and then fall sick again, when does your entitlement to support under cESA WRAG start again? Let's say you are ill for a year then have a knee replacement that makes you all bouncy again, you work for a further 5 years then you are ill again after a car accident... when do you get another set of 12 months? I don't get it, sounds like they are saying you could pay in another 2 years of NI but not be entitled to anything back, yet get no discount on your NI of course. How long does that go on for? Potentially someone could work from 16 to 17, fall sick for a year, work from 18 to 64 then fall sick, presumably they'd be allowed to get another year of cESA having paid another 46 years of NI?