Employment support issues

Q. I currently receive Income Based Employment Support Allowance (I’m in the support group), along with Personal Independence Payments for care at the enhanced rate.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 15 February, 2019, 09:03
Job Centre Plus.

My ESA also includes the Severe Disability Premium as I live alone and have no-one claiming Carers Allowance for me. I am due to move and as I am moving to a new local authority area I have found that the new area is a full Universal Credit area.

I have heard that certain claimants may be financially worse off on Universal Credit because it doesn’t have some of the premiums like Severe Disability.

Is there anything I can do in such a situation to prevent a claim for Universal Credit and remain on the same benefits when I move?

A. In such a situation you should not be required to claim Universal Credit and guidance has been issued to both the DWP and local authorities that such claimants can remain on legacy benefits e.g. ESA, housing benefit, etc and will not be migrated to Universal Credit.

We would advise that you confirm this with your current benefits office and when you move to your new home if you require assistance with rent then you claim housing benefit as normal.

You may receive correspondence or be directed to claim UC but in such a situation you should insist any claim is processed so you can request a mandatory reconsideration and also submit a formal complaint to the council in question.

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If you have already been transferred onto Universal Credit and lost premiums in a similar situation then currently there is no way of getting transferred back to legacy benefits (although this may change) and the government has indicated anyone underpaid will be compensated but again no timescales have been given.

Q. I have been absent from work and although my employer has kept my job open my company and statutory sick pay ended after 28 weeks, since then I have been getting Contribution Based ESA as well as standard PIP for care.

When I was working I was able to get Working Tax Credits as I qualified via the disabled premium route. I did not renew my award as I wasn’t sure I’d be going back to work and my entitlement ended as I could no longer be treated as employed.

I now have the option of going back to my job on reduced hours, I have been advised help with Tax Credits is not available as I live in a Universal Credit area. Does Universal Credit have the equivalent of extra help for workers who cannot work full-time due to health restrictions?

A. Currently there are no additional premiums paid with Universal Credit for workers in your situation. You may still be entitled to claim as you do not need to work a set amount of hours each week in the same way you did to claim Working Tax Credits, however you cannot currently get additional Universal Credit if a health problem limits your ability to work full-time.