contributory ESA conflicting advice

Posted , 2 users are following.

I cannot get income related ESA but have been awarded Contributory, the situation is I work for the NHS but am on long term sick and my salary is reduced to half (which is the equivalent of 8 hrs pay) I was advised to claim for ESA when SSP finished - My half pay entitlement finishes in May so I'll go to 0 hours.

I am in talks with the NHS to see if they can find me work, its actually doubtful as Im only a year off retirement.

I wondered if they found me work less than 16hrs if i would still be entitled to contributory ESA.

I looked on the entitled to website and it says:

Unlike means-tested benefits, there is no income and savings test for contributory ESA. However, your ESA is reduced by half the amount of any pension or permanent health insurance payment received in excess of £85. 

I asked advice from the citizens advice and they told me that if i went back to work in any form I would loose ESA

I said I had seen the conditions about permitted work but that only applies to income based ESA they say no it applies to both.

As i get more on ESA then i dont know what to do, especially as i retire in early 2017.

So what if I leave my job, does my ESA get stopped as i will be leaving voluntary?

Or do i have to wait for them finishing me on ill health?

Wonder if anyone else has been in this situation please?

0 likes, 4 replies

4 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Les

    Where to start lol?

    Firstly you can't work for more than 16 hours per week and claim ESA. If you do you would have to claim tax credits to top up your income and you may be entitled to disability premiums.

    You can do permitted work for less than 16 hours per week provided your income is not more than £107.50 a week  (£115.50 from April 2016) after tax and national insurance deductions and keep your contributory ESA which I assume is £73.10. You can do permitted work when in receipt of Contribution ESA.

    However, unless you are in the Support Group this is limited to 52 weeks. In the Support Group the time is unlimited whilst you remain in the SG. in your case this doesn't seem to be a problem as you are planning on early retirement within a year.

    If you leave your job on the grounds of ill health then you will have to provide a sick note and fill in an ESA 50 form. At some point after 13 weeks you will be assessed for your capability to do work. The assessment will either find you fit for work (claim Job Seekers Allowance), place you in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) where you would be expected to do 'some' work releated job seeking or the Support Group which means you do-not have to seek work.

    If you are placed in WRAG its £102pw and Support Group £109pw. The Support Group is continous Contributory ESA whilst the WRAG it is only CB for 52 weeks before reverting to Income Related.

    • Posted

      Thanks Anthony

      I have just been placed in a WRAG and at the moment im recieving £440 per month from my employer which is half pay or equivelent to 8hrs pay although i am still off sick.

      If i am able to return before i go on to 0 hours in May I will be on a lower pay band and it will be less than 16hrs and certainly less than £440 per month - so your saying in that respect I would (if offered) be ok to return to work on those hours and keep ESA?

      Its the permitted work, I dont understand that or does the above fall into permitted work.

      Im providing sick notes for work as they require them but according to DWP they no longer require me to provide them with sick notes.

      I have a work focused meeting coming up so maybe it will be clearer then.

      I was also worried that if i decide to resign while im on long term sick, would i be sanctioned?

      Im on whats called a redeployment pathway with the NHS, its where they try and find you work that suits your disability - if they dont find work in 12 weeks you are dismissed on health grounds.

    • Posted

      Hi Les

      When you drop to zero hours in May your main income will be the £102pw you receive for being in ESA WRAG. Permitted work must be less than 16 hours and maximum earned (then) on top of your ESA would be £115pw after tax and NI total net £217pw.

      As you are still receiving some sick pay (the £440pm) I would doubt very much that the DWP would let you work and not see any reduction in your ESA payments as £440pm takes you almost to the present limit of £107pw.

      If you have to finish work due to ill health then you will not be sanctioned. Personally if I were you I would ask your employer if you can do permitted work from May and work out how many hours you have to work to get £115pw after stoppages and work those hours only.

      If you can hang that out until you retire.

    • Posted

      Thanks again, thats clearer, obviously if they find me work before May then Sick pay from them will end and i'll be earning what ever is offered, so if I stay under the permitted amount (which i would)  i'll be able to keep ESA.

      I do have a feeling the NHS will drag their feet till May though as who would give a new job to a 64 year old (I know they cant say that)

      So realistically I expect to be finished in May.

      It would be nice though to retire on my terms though.



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