Contribution based ESA: I rang the job centre and... - Headway

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Contribution based ESA


I rang the job centre and got sent out a 52 page form to fill in for my husband to receive ESA. It require mine and his life history and copies of everything you can think of. I know he is not eligible for the income based one (which understand they would clearly need income details etc) so would surely only need to provide a P60 to show national insurance has been paid?

We don't fit simply into the boxes of the 52 page document so would be hard to complete. Have they sent me the wrong form?

Are they expecting all of that for the contributions based one?

He has had 2 strokes and in a ngs unit rught now so i am having to do for him.

I dont know if anyone will know answer but cant seem to get through to benegits line to ask a simple question. On hold for ages and gave up last night. It really takes the piss when you cant ask a simple question from them.


7 Replies

Yes you need to fill out the form even for the contribution based one. If you read the job centre post you will see there are many people that have issues with the benefits system. I too had worked and contributed for well over 20 years , all documented with HMRC, but the departments are not joined up and don't talk to one another unless the links are made and your form filling will , eventually!!, make those links.

So, sorry, it has to be done, get help where you can. My daughter had volunteered at a CAB and told me they weren't allowed to help fill in those forms but I understand some people have found help at their local CAB, perhaps it's just the Oldham branch. I believe Headway may help point you in the right direction.

Good luck x


Try for full assistance on form filling and all aspects of benefits. Good luck Julian. xx

Yes unfortunately even though the NI contributions have been paid it does not give an automatic right to getting the Contributions based ESA. That's the one that I am receiving and frustratingly it then gets reviewed every year or so which means those long forms have to be filled in again and again. Getting the benefit is still based on the DWP deciding that medically you are entitled to it unlike Statutory Sick Pay. Cat's suggestion is a good one as I also have used Benefits and Work guide to help me fill the forms. Their guides help explain how to fit your husbands difficulties into the form as the questions don't always explain that. It is well worth the joining fee. Also my advice would be to make sure you include as many supporting documents as you can eg hospital, clinic letters etc because sufficient evidence sometimes means they make a decision without having to attend the face to face medical. It is a nightmare process but unfortunately we have to go through it as there is no choice about that regardless of how definately we should be entitled. I had to ring the benefits line recently and got caught into going from one 'menu' to another and then being driven mad but 30 plus minutes of waiting and being driven barmy by the repetitive music (if you can call it that!) to then end up in another queue for a similar period! By the time I got through I was stressed and distressed and struggled to get my mind together to explain why I was ringing!! I am currently having my ESA benefit reviewed and waiting for the face to face as they sent me a date and then postponed it! I do not cope with what I am expecting being 'changed' very well!!!!

Good luck and best wishes

Hi Ijulian,

After doing many benefit checks online and reading the rules, I do not qualify for either types of ESA but was told I had to fill in all the long winded forms and go through the motions, anyway ! It took me an age, getting all the info together - they certainly like to have a good 'rummage around your underwear drawer', don't they ! I completed some of it over the phone but was shocked to find the personal copy they sent me showed my non dependant son's contribution of £60 a week towards the bills was classed as my 'income' ! I have tried to argue against this to no avail. This boosts our joint income ( partner has state pension, 2 small work pensions and a small amount of part time earnings ) and puts us over the limit for income based. I can't get the NI contribution based either, as I had to reduce my working hours for last 2 1/2 years due to original disability,( had a relapse since then and subsequently lost my job ) so haven't earned enough to pay contributions for the recent period they demand. Yep, they have you all ways ! Can easily lose a day to repeated attempts to get through on overwhelmed phoneline !

Currently going for council tax reduction ( which is affected by son's earnings ) and PIP which is not income based at all, thank goodness !

Best of luck with this mindblowing tangle !

Angela x

Oh thanks everyone, doesn't sound promising then. I may try CAB as it is our personal situ that doesn't make form simple. I am pretty sure the medical side gone as I can't see that they can argue him going to work as he in a unit and under 24/7 watch. Things like the fact that I have moved home while he in hospital and therefore 'officially' not a tenant, it's in my name. The fact that we had equity from old home etc. I M entitled to council tax reduction as a single person for example and was told if you are not living with someone 3 days a week you are considered separated. Well he has been out of home 9 months and I'm not sure if he will, or I will get to point to have him in this home with the children so it's just not a simple bloody tick box situ. Aaaarrgh, sorry, rant over. Thanks so much for advice and experiences x

Whilst it is fairly easy to say but more difficult to don't panic!

The forms are hard to fill in, varying from 50 to 75 pages on some versions. Like most things it is the preparation that is key. Before completing the form or going to one of the groups that can help (CAB, Mind, Stroke association etc.) get all the medical information together and most importantly think how the injury affects what you husband can and can't do and realistically how much you have to do for him. Then when you start completing the form it will be much easier.

The form is quite important because it will determine after assessment if your husband gets put into the ESA Support Group. If your husband is put in this group the job centre won't bother him to go and look for a job or create CV's etc.

Everything isn't joined up and you can apply for things like Income Support. We get 10p a week but it means we get contributions towards our mortgage and other things. Once your husband is assessed you will also be able to look at things like Carers Allowance.

If you decide to complete the forms yourself, as Cat mentioned there are some good guides on Benefits and work which you have to subscribe to (£12 ?) but the advisors have all this information.

Keep in touch with us its better to struggle together than in isolation.

Thank you for all the comments. I have now sent the form and supporting documents to best of my ability. I just get a complete block on these things, I feel angry that I am having to do them. I know that probably sounds childish but I just get so annoyed with everything and everyone. It's like everyone wants a piece of me. I have never had to share information about money and decisions, now renting and entering benefits system I can't escape it. Now it seems everything is everyone's business and I hate it. I hate not being self sufficient, I hate not having my own home anymore (yes rented house is lovey but I have had my own home since I was 18 and now that's for nothing). I know there are alot of people worse off, I know I am not the one who had the strokes and I'm not in a nhs unit but oh my goodness I just want to rant. I feel exposed and judged on top of all the other horrid emotions whirling around.

So anyhow, I'll hopefully have good news to report soon. I really hope so anyway.

Thanks xx

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