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Fibromyalgia Action UK
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Contribution Based ESA Support Group

I guess really I should have questioned this when I first noticed it, but wanted to ask other members if they are in exactly same position as me if they are in this combination of ESA please, right that's the waffle here's the question lol.

Prior to ESA I was on Long Term Incapacity Benefit, which was a higher rate than the amount payable for ESA Support Group Contribution Based. I was told that when ESA had its annual increase in April each year, my benefit would not increase until the levels overtook my Incapacity payment was, it currently still isn't above that level.

My query is, as a single woman, without savings, living in a private rented flat on housing & council tax benefit, is this the reason I am in the Contribution rather than the Income based group? I have been in this group 2 years in March & can't find any information on benefit GOV. Org etc web sites that make sense of why I am in this group. I did contact DWP before & someone was supposed to be getting back to me, but I then had to have an emergency operation & life been taken up with trying to recover after this.

As Income Based ESA SUPPORT bring benefits of free prescriptions etc, full housing benefit & others I cannot think of after 4th night without sleep, there are obviously benefits to being in income based group which I would have thought I should be. The only reason I can think of why I am in contribution based is the higher incapacity payments prior to switch over.

Is anyone one in the same situation as me with either same or different group choice. I should add I had to give up full time work in 1993 & my attempt at doing my job part time ended in 1994 & I haven't worked at all since then.

Hopefully someone can help me in my query

Thanks got reading my long convoluted message lol Karen

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7 Replies

Hi Karen, I'm also in the cont based ESA support group after being on incapacity benefit. It is because you must have worked and paid enough NI conts in the years running up to claiming benefits. I can see what you mean about he income related group being better for you. I would recommend Benefits and Work site, for advising or maybe you can ring the number on the ESA letter and enquire? Also, you can ask them to send you the criteria you fit the support group, I did this and it was quite helpful, (for example for when you get re-assessed in the future). HTH x

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Thanks so much for your reply. I had worked for about 15 years prior to having to give up work, ive been on benefits for 21 years. At some point when I was working I took out a private pension, & then contracted out of serps so my contributions were going to private pension. Obviously once I had to give up work I could no longer contribute to private pension, your not allowed to, I guess I should check that serps is still being contributed to my pension, not that it's going to be much lol.

I have contacted DWP before & was told someone would get back to me, then I had to have an emergency operation & recovery so really only just thinking I should check this out.

I feel it's so unfair that income related ESA can get so many plus's that could really helps yet because we worked in past we don't qualify, I had this on Incapacity Benefit too, I had extra £10 because of working so couldn't qualify for Income Support as I had £5 over the limit lol. I've looked at the DWP & GIV. ORG. Web sites before & its confusing because it seems to me I should be in income related, have no savings, no partner to help etc. It also says your only in Contribution for 12 months though im coming up to my 2nd year.

Thanks for your reply, it's always good to know im

Not alone 😊

The 12 months only applies if you are in work related activity group. Support group it continues. If you qualify for contributions based you will automatically be put into that group unless you request the income related is how i understand it. Hope this helps. If you do chanhe however and your circumstances change in regard to partner you would probably not then qualify to return to contributions based and may be left with no income as any live in partners income would be taken into account. Something to consider too maybe. Also have you completed the form for help with healthcare costs as this can also give you help towards prescriptions, dentist etc. Hope this helps.

Best to keep on at them Karen, sorry to hear you had to have emergency surgery. Hope you are feeling a bit better now.x

Hi Karen, I too am in a ESA group but my circumstances are slightly difference, my husband works for 16 hours a week. I can't work at the moment as my health is so unstable, I have been signed off by my doctor for a while. I find all the changes a minefield that most job centres don't even adhere to. I feel trapped at present damned if I do and damned if I don't. I've never been off work so long before and the strain is horrendous, I know what it's like having nothing living in a flat and having next to no support, it drives you around the twist in the end. I hope you get more support, you should really be given the maximum support, have you tried cits advice, they may advise you further.

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Hi ksmiles2012

I am not personally on anything like this, but I wanted to wish you all the best of luck and I genuinely hope that you receive the answers that you need.

Good luck

Ken x

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Thanks everyone for your replies

Yes I fill in form every year to claim NHS prescriptions, glasses, dentistry & so on as I am glassed as being on a low income, go figure lol.

With regards to partner the only 1 of those I have is my teddy bear lol, at 51 2 failed marriages & now 10 years mostly single im happy with my own company & not sure I could give up my own space plus im a stubborn so & so, you have to be when if things need doing & there's no help I have to do it lol.

I really need to sort out paperwork & check it out.

Sadly operation was to clear infection sustained by dirty equipment in ambulance called by my Gp, had cellulitus in hand & by time infection was discovered it had damaged the sheath that surrounds tendons in finger & hand. Surgery to clear out I fiction helped but now in constant pain & cannot bend my finger properly & also effects my driving as have hand controls & steering ball, so that's really hard.

Sorry for the long late reply think chocolate ready brek & chocolate drink sent me a little hyper lol.

Thanks again everyone for your replts & support 😊 xx

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