ESA Support Group - CB and IR and Legal Aid

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summer

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Help needed please.

My husband and I have been separated for nearlly 7 years and we need to sort the divorce.

I saw someone at CAB yesterday who told me that even though legal aid has now finished, you can still get it for Divorce if you go to Family Medication to sort out finances   >biggrin<  but the government are not telling people this  :-(  surprise surprise (so this may help others on here to know that).

CAB have suggested I wait until June when my 12 months on CB comes to a end and I will then hopefully be transfered to IR (as CB does not usually entitle you to legal aid for Divorce).

But I forgot to mention was that I am appealing (9 months and counting) my current WRAG group as I believe I should be SG, and I am waiting my Tribunal papers and date.

My question is that if I get into the SG either though my up and coming Tribunal or through the ESA that I have just sent off, would I contine on CB or definelty be IR?

Thanks in advance

KizzyKazaer

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Hi Summer - if you are placed into the Support Group, you will be entitled to the Enhanced Disability Premium (worth an extra 15.15 per week for a single person) in an income-based ESA assessment.  So, assuming you meet the other 'means-test' conditions for income-related ESA, like no other money coming in and capital less than 16,000, then you should qualify for both ESA (C) and a top-up of income-related ESA (Contributory ESA is paid indefinitely if you are in the SG.)  Hope that helps!

summer

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Thanks I think I understand its so confusing.....
I am sure I meet the means test condtions as single, no other money coming in except Child Mainteance which I know can not be used, and no capital.
So being as I would get top up on IR I would still be entitled to the Legal Aid?

One Girl and her Big Dog

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CAB have given you incorrect information.  Even if you are on CB ESA,  if this is your only income, then you WILL qualify for Legal Aid, on low income grounds.  You would however, have to fill in long and complicated forms showing your income and expenditure, and send in proof. 

If you get Income related ESA, you *automatically* qualify for legal aid, without having to prove your low income, as IR ESA is proof in itself.

Also, i'm confused as to why you are being told you have to *wait* to be transfered to IR ESA.  If you have no other income, you have underlying entitlement to IR ESA, and simply have to fill in a form ESA3 (available from the benefit call cente) to show underlying entiltlement to Income related ESA.  If you are in the support group, you would then be entitled to the Enhanced disability premium, as mentioned above (which is not payable with CB  ESA, only IR ESA).

The DWP are not telling people about this pretty simple way to increase their income.  The ESA3 is quite a long form, but is mostly tick box, and if you have no income, savings or property, is really straight forward.

1G

(edited for typos)
« Last Edit: 12 Apr 2013 01:51PM by One Girl and her Big Dog »

summer

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I think the reason behind being told to wait was that trying to proof low income can be very hard and so if I waited until I had IR it would be much simplier.

The only other income is child mainteance which I know cannot be taken into account.

I have actually filled in a form ESA3 and sent it off at the same time as my last ESA50 (but sadly did not mention this to CAB/Solictor yesterday - bad brain fog due to illness).

I wonder if the way forward would be to contact the Family Medication Service CAB suggested I use and ask them what to do and when?

One Girl and her Big Dog

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I would think that is probably the best bet.   They should be able to tell you  for sure.

Out of interest, how long ago did you send in the ESA3?  Have you heard nothing from them? 

summer

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Only sent it two weeks ago.

Monic1511

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Summer

If you sent the form 2 weeks ago I'd just phone & check they have received it but it can take 3 - 6 weeks easily to process claims  >rose<  If your due any income related ESA backdated it will be paid though

Monic

One Girl and her Big Dog

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Thanks for your reply Summer.

Monic,
is it back dated to when the change occured or only to when they get the forms?
Thanks, 1G

Monic1511

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One Girl
It's normally backdated to the date of the change if the change has been within the last 3 months.  The only time they will pay more than 3 months backdating is if its the DWP's fault that the money wasn't being paid.   If you tell them 6 months later that you have been due a premium for the past 6 months they only legally have to backdate to the date you told them, most decision makers will try & get you the 12 weeks backdate but they don't have to do this.
Monic

One Girl and her Big Dog

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Thanks for that.  sorry to 'jack the thread. 1G

bubble

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If you own your house, you cant get legal aid on CB, as they take it as capital. On IR its not taken as capital, which is unfair I think.