Fibromyalgia Action UK

Refused ESA

Hi everyone , some of you may remember me posting before , I have a tumour at the bottom of my spine , I had applied for ESA as my statutory sick pay has now come to an need, I was refused this as despite working as a nurse for 36 years and 2 years in an office before that until I was old enough to start nursing , I was refused contribution based ESA. Ironically they focused on the years 2012/13 , of which 2012 I didn't pay much NI as my mum was ill and she passed away that year . I phoned them and explained this asking could they not take 2013/14 into consideration and the reason why I didn't work in 2012 , but I got a call back from them saying I was refused again. I'm at my wits end, yes I have a husband who earns a fairly good wage , but today is the day I'm going into hospital, scheduled for surgery on Friday, it is also my mums 3rd anniversary today, and worried about not having any money coming in while I recover from my op for however long it takes. I have always been a hard worker and am so desperate to get back to work and to be honest I feel the system is punishing me for being a hard worker. I'm going to stop now before I start ranting,if you have read this thank you for listening , have a good everyone , x

9 Replies

Hi mogi52, it makes me angry to hear what has happened to have worked all those years. It does seem that the system isn't set up for people that work. Maybe somebody has some idea how you could fight it. Could you get pip? I really do wish you the best and good luck with your operation xx take care of yourself xx


Sorry you are having to put up with money worries on top of surgery. I do hope all goes well for you. As you say the system is very inflexible and not at all fair.


What a system I could cry for you, yes they do tend to go on the previous 12 months. I think it should be an average over the last 5 years and that would be fairer. This is the type of thing that I think MP's need to know about as when I approached my MP some years back about my OH's problems with ESA it was all new to him and he was amazed himself by the system. He actually said "your husband isn't the type of person we are targetting but unfortunately he has been caught up in the loop". In all fairness he wrote to the local Job Centre Manager and copied all the correspondence and I know he took it up in parliament but all to no avail.

The best of luck with your operation. Try and put this unfairness to the back of your mind, I know it is easier said than done and concentrate on getting yourself well again.xx



I think the decision is not so much about your NI contributions but more that your husband works, and is expected to "keep" you.

If you were on contribution based ESA you have 365 days benefit before it stops. To get income based ESA your total household income has to be below a certain amount, (forgot the amount, fibro fog!)

It is very unfair and a lot of people have been caught up in these rules, particularly as you feel entitled to something after many years of contributions.

However you will continue to get benefit if you are placed in the support group, so it may be worth appealing.

Our excellent website here can give you more details as can GOV.UK

Best wishes for a successful outcome for your op.


Hi Mogi52

I am so sorry to read that you failed to get your ESA, and I was wondering if you have applied for PIP? This is a different disability benefit that takes all of your disabilities into account and is paid regardless of whether you are in work or not. I have pasted you a GOV.UK link below that tells you how to claim PIP:

How To Claim PIP:

I want to wish you all the best of luck and I genuinely hope that your surgery goes really well for you.

All my hopes and dreams for you

Ken x


Hi mogi52

Sorry to hear your another who is being a victem of the working class. I also worked for years and my hubby works but i think its wrong when you have paid into the cistem and car't claim in are own right. i also had the same problem had my benefites stopped after 365 days it took me 7 months to fight. It was my daughter who pussed me to fight as i took NO for NO but finnaly got put into the support group in july this year . so ring them and ask about appealing and go to CAB they helped me a lot as i hadnt been out of work before . and they helped with my pip forms which i won as well. I now its hard to ask for help but we all need it sometimes it was my daughter who pussed me as i was to prod but in the long run being prode won't pay the bills. So give them a ring and good lookwith your OP let us know how you get on.xx



This post really made me angry. Not at you, but at the system, it stinks! I applied for ESA 3 years ago after having to give up work due to fibro and other probs.

I was living alone and had no other income except for DLA. I was put into the support group after medical. The trouble was, they put me in the contributions based Esa, because I had worked all my life. Fine, BUT, that meant for a whole year I had to live on £60 something per week. Plus I wasn't entitled to free prescriptions/dentist etc. Basically I was re-assessed after 12 months and then given contributions based with a top up of income based, so I now get £120 something per week.

I can't believe the system penalizes people who have worked all of their lives and find themselves disabled! I am currently living in a hostel (long story), full of alcoholics and drug dealers/users who have never worked in their life and guess what....they get more money than me!!!

Sorry for the rant and I'm sorry you have fallen, like me, into the "hard workers" trap. Maybe the Government needs to think about this!

Fluffy hugs.

Jayne xx


It is a a hard and fast rule that you have to have paid NI in the 24 months before your claim. I agree it is wrong but this rule has no leeway. You could claim under Income related but your husbands money will be taken into account! the other alternative is PIP (not sure of the NI rule on this) This is not means tested and you can work when able without penalty. If you are put back on to JSA, if you have a sick note they cannot force you to attend, do not have it for longer than 3 months!

I had to battle them as the claimed I had not paid enough NI but after months talking to HMRC it was proven I had! They also claimed my wife who worked 16 hours a week was working 100 hours a month? Even though it does not add up no matter what month it was? I appealed and went to a tribunal who found in my favour in less than 10 minutes and showed genuine concern on how I cope when my wife is at work. I am now on ESA contribution support.

Seek advice from CAB.

Be well and good luck


Hello everyone , it's been a while , almost a month I think since I posted . It hasn't been a good month at all , my operation was cancelled in December after being admitted on the tue I was told on the thursday that unfortunately my op wld have to be cancelled due to emergencies , these things can't be helped but was disappointing as I shld be well on the mend whereas im now sitting here from 3am worrying about going in today for my op tmrw . It's been a bad month in regard to pain and I will be glad to get it all over and done with , I feel I am putting my sons and my husband through so much stress . It's not easy for any of us . One good thing I have to say is that a few weeks ago in the wee small hours of the morning I emailed my mp about being refused ESA, I had applied for ot and was refused it on the grounds of not making enough national insurance contributions. I don't understand this at all as I was under the impression it was the two years previous to the date of your claim that was taken into account which wld be 2012/13 @2013/14. However they have taken the years 2011/12 @ 2012/13 unfortunately although I have been nursing for almost 35 years 2011 was a year that I did not work much as my mum was ill and passed away. I found this very hard to take so wrote to my mp so finally yesterday I got some way forward they are saying that I am still not entitle to 2 years but they may pay me for 2012/13. So now I am waiting on a decision on this . It's so hurtful that you work in a job you love all these years and fall ill through no fault of your own and don't know if your career is over or not , yet the government don't seem to care . Sorry for this being so long and thank you for reading , morag xxx


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