ESA and Early Retirement

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A friend of mine who also receives ESA and PIP and I met for a catch up yesterday, she has not only taken her entire works pension pot, but has given notice at work as she has been off sick on zero pay now since May 2014 the following an unsuccessful Operation.

She is still claiming all her benefits, and called both ESA and PIP to tell them of her intentions, she intends to take early retirement from her work also, but I am really concerned as she told me that the jump sum of her pension that she will receive which is close to £25k, doesn't count in her claim for either benefit, they told her because it's a lump sum it doesn't count,but if it was a monthly payment also it would

What concerns me most is she seems to think she can carry on claiming ESA even after taking early retirement, she fully admits she is never going to be fit enough to work in the future, nor does her Dr think so, but surely if she retired she wouldn't be entitled to ESA, she is in the support group and told me she didn't bother to ask about the early retirement factor as by taking her pension pot early they should have known she wouldn't be returning to her job, she is 61 next month

I don't want her getting into trouble over this as she would be mortified to think she was doing something wrong in claiming money she's actually not entitled to, please help someone.

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  • Posted

    Hi, I think if she got more than 16.000 she will not be able to claim , check in the form or ask cab or wait for someone with the name of Antony he's the one with all the answers,give it a day or 2 , you will get some advice in here and there's a lot of ppl over 60s they may help , my advice to you and your friend is to wait ,take care and good nite :-)
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    • Posted

      Thank you so much for your reply, I know the pension pot won't be counted unless it's a monthly payment as she told me taking the entire pot doesn't count if it's a lump sum, but like I've said what worries me most is the fact she doesn't seem to have made it clear about taking early retirement and I would much rather warn her now to come clean, and inform them as later on she could so easily find herself in a whole lot of trouble and as her closest friend, I certainly wouldn't want that for her, she's been through quite a lot of heartache over the years.
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  • Posted

    Hi Eloise

    Bare with me and I'll try my best to explain.

    As your friend is in the Support Group her ESA is classed as Contrubition Based. The rules state that the first £85pw is disregarded (the Occupational or Private Pension income does-not affected it) any income over and above £85pw would see a 50% reduction in entitlement.

    E.G. Occupational Pension £101 - £85 = £16/2 = £8pw reduction from ESA benefit. In theory this taper will continue until the benefit is totally wiped out.

    Any Income Related benefit is reduced £1 for £1 PIP is completely unaffected.

    Capital limits don't affect ESA CB or PIP. IR ESA any savings over £6000 will mean a £1 IR ESA deduction for every £250 over the threshold up to £16000 when no IR ESA benefit will be paid.

    A little confusing I know but from first sight it would appear your friend is indeed right but of course the advice above about going to the CAB or contacting the DWP for a second opinion is very valid.

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    • Posted

      Hi Anthony bless you, thank you so much, what concerns me is her continuing to claim her ESA if she takes early retirement like I say like me she is in the support group but surely if she retired she won't be eligible for this benefit
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    • Posted

      Hi Eloise

      I can understand your confusion many people find the concept conflicting. Your friend is 'retiring' from her job due to incapability and is therefore entitled to her occupational/private pension earlier than normal.

      As she is under 65/66 (retirement age) she cannot claim the State Pension which replaces our occupational income, therefore you claim ESA. If you are placed in the Support Group your benefit is long lasting and counts as Contribution Based Benefit.

      If you are placed in the Work Related Activity Group ESA is Contribution Based for 365 days (1 year). After that it becomes Income Related and any income from OP/PP would have a dramatic affect on ESA and potentially lead to losing the benefit or overpayment.

      So providing your friend stays in the SG everything should be OK. However, if after a periodical review she is placed in the WRAG then remember she has only 12 months before ESA is exhausted and potentially dramatic changes to income may occur.

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    • Posted

      Thank you so much Anthony, looks like she's ok to carry on claiming then phew, I have been so worried for her, the good thing is she is very careful with her money, so if she did have to pay it back it wouldn't be so much of an issue as her stressing that she had done something illegal, if you understand me, I know she would immediately lock herself away in shame, she did that recently over something so trivial to the rest of us but massive as far as she was concerned, she's such a lovely kind soul I do feel rather protective of her xx
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    • Posted

      Hi Anthony imy friend suffers from severe mental health hears voices and is very vulnerable her x partner encourage her to tKe Ok her works pension from royal London. She took 29.000 and due to her vulnerable state of mind she was coned by a fortune teller plus gave loads of money to family friend new friends who were false friends and all this money is gone she gets housing benefit and the esa have stopped her benefit for 4mo the now she got a Wellfare rights officer to do a mandatory reconsideration and they didn't change the discussion o. Her claim but there's a appeal o going asking them to look at this mess again she is o. The support group and dla top rate for both mobility and care have u every heard of anyone getting there esa back thro having severe mental health and not k owing the value of money thanks so much

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    • Posted

      Sorry there reason for not change decision with mandatory reconsideration wS she had squander the Mo eh but she's got mental

      health and mind of child she is 58 Be o. Means tested thanks so much

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    • Posted

      Hi Catherine

      It will be very difficult for your friend to change the decision at Tribunal. There are strict rules about spending savings when claiming benefits. If your friend was claiming any Income Support top ups the DWP will look to retrieve those payments.

      Her only real chance is to complain to the Police that the money was obtained fraudulently by the friends who took advantage of her mental health condition. This again will be difficult as you will need both documentary and witness evidence. If you can get hold of bank statements and show that money was leaving her account to third parties at a particularly large rate along with medical evidence of her mental health it could be possible.

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    • Posted

      Thanks so much for your quick reply Anthony. All bank statements were sent in and doctors letter telling them she has mental health and hear voices. Thanks again
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    • Posted

      When they did receive her latest bank statement it showed she had lifted lump sums and transfer money to family. And it left her with £13.000 she has no longer got she is terrified she loses her house as she gets housing benefit because she was on esa. Is there any other way she can get help towards her rent still leaving her enough to live on of her dla if this is a negative outcome thanks

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    • Posted

      Does this last forever them stopping her esa thro her vulnerable state of mind sorry for all the questions
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    • Posted

      Hi Catherine

      It generally works this way. The DWP will work out how much your friend has been overpaid.

      ESA will continue to be paid at the rate your friend is entitled to. Then the DWP will make a deduction every week to cover the amount of overpayment until it is paid back. If the amount is very large then it could take years to repay it. There is a maximum percentage which can be taken I can’t remember what it is but it’s around 25% of benefit (not including DLA)

      Same works for Housing Benefit. It will still get paid but there will be a deduction made for overpayment which means your friend could be paying back as much as half her benefit in overpayments.

      If this is causing hardship you can ask the DWP to review the repayment schedule.

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    • Posted

      Hi Antony, I hope this isn't an in position by asking,

      I myself was classed as medically unfit for work after terminal

      illness, placed in the SG and was able to draw down a small private

      Pension. 25% cash 75% to purchase an annuity. The income

      amounts to £16 per week, which I understood to be below the level

      Of affecting my ESA. I was contacted and told as a result I needed

      To pay back £1600 overpayment. They now reduce my ESA £1 for

      £1 amounting to the £16 per week effectively wiping out my annuity

      Also being told that although the majority of my ESA is contribution

      based an element is income related also an that's the portion that is

      Affected. Can this be right?

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    • Posted

      Hi James,

      I know you've asked Anthony this question but this thread is over 10 months old and he no longer posts, sorry. To answer your question though, yes i'm afraid whoever told you that is correct. With your ESA Incomerelated part and you pension you can't have them both. There a limit the law says you need to live off and this would take you over this for Income related benefits purposes.

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    • Posted

      Thanks for your reply,

      Nice of you to take the time,

      I'm happy if this is correct, it just seemed odd

      that when it came down to the £16 a week not affecting

      contribution based ESA, all of a sudden I find I'm both, that and

      income related.

      Didn't think you could be in receipt of both. It seems you can.

      At least I'm all ok now and don't need to be worrying about any

      wrong doing. At least I still get the annuity even if I have the DWP

      remove the £16 each week. So I just treat it as if they are saved up

      and paid every few months. Then treat myself to a meal out or

      Something to make life easier around the home

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    • Posted

      You're welcome. Yes you can be in reciept of both because Income related would be paid ontop of your Income based as part of the premiums. The premiums are only paid if in reciept of Income Related, so not everyone is entitled to those. Even more so if they have a partner that works. The benefit system is extremely complicated and where i know quite a lot there are some things i have no idea about. Universal Credit being one of them. Glad i could help smile

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