Patricia Pearl - Small Claims Procedure - A Practical Guide


An excellent guide for the layperson in how to use the County Court - a must if you are intending to start a claim.

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  1. #1
    Basic Account Holder gemspan Informative gemspan Informative

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    Default ESA, Working Tax Credit and Council Tax Benefit

    Hi

    I was diagnosed with COPD in December and have been claiming ESA. I had recently found a full-time job and been there for 3 months. I had to give up my job for health reasons and claimed ESA. I am getting 67.50 per week. I was getting working tax credits when I had my job and called them up to let them know I was now no longer work. I get just over 93 per week tax credits. They told me I am entitled to receive them for 28 weeks. I applied for council tax benefit in December. They responded to me in the middle of January to tell me as I was now claiming ESA and not JSA I had to complete a new form. I completed it and sent it off. During this time I received word that a summary warrant had been issued in relation to unpaid council tax.....

    I've just received a letter today to say that I don't qualify for council tax benefit. I am not receiving any help with my mortgageicon and using all my ESA benefits to pay my mortgageicon. I use my working tax credits to pay gas, electricity, food, tv licence and all the other stuff that goes along with it. It's just not enough. I am very sick and am now worried that I'm not going to be able to pay my council tax because I don't qualify for it.

    This is all due to the fact that I get this WTC..... Does anybody know if this is right. I am receiving contributory ESA...not income based. I cannot get income based because of WTC. I have received a form to complete for help with my mortgage but have been told I won't get that if I am on contributory based ESA. I am really worn out with this. It's bad enough being seriously ill without having to worry about heating your home...and all the rest of it. I am not eating at the moment in order to pay these bills. It's just awful.

    Can anybody give me any advice on whether I am entitled to any of this benefit and what I should do.

    Thank you.

    Gemspan


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  2. #2
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    Default Re: ESA, Working Tax Credit and Council Tax Benefit

    To me (I'm no expert) it doesn't make much sense.
    I thought the run on for WTC was 4 weeks.
    Also CTB is based on income, and on 400 PM you must get something.

    Hopefully someone who knows about the system will advise you shortly.


    PS I'm guessing you don't have savings.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: ESA, Working Tax Credit and Council Tax Benefit

    There is something called underlying entitlement to support with mortgageicon interesticon. This may apply to you.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: ESA, Working Tax Credit and Council Tax Benefit

    With regards to your WTC, yes you are still entitled to it
    Periods of illness

    Periods when you receive statutory sick pay are counted as periods of qualifying remunerative work for the statutory leave period of 28 weeks, so long as you have been working up to the point when your sick leave started.

    This also applies if you are in receipt of short-term incapacity benefit at the lower rate, income support on grounds of incapacity to work, national insurance credits on grounds of incapacity to work or limited capability for work, or employment and support allowance. Again this applies for a period of 28 weeks only.

    The same rules on statutory leave and statutory sick pay etc apply if you are self-employed, but would have been entitled to the benefits if you had instead been employed.


    And with regards to your mortgageicon,
    when you applied for ESA you would have filled out the form ESA1... The claim was processed and you were awarded ESA conts,
    usually you cant get both ESA IB and ESA Conts

    but because you have a mortgageicon you are in effect entitled to ESA IB as well, this will give you the help you need with your mortgage..
    You can claim if entitled after 13 weeks, Ring them and ask them to send you an MI12 form

    I dont know if you can cancel your WTC, but WTC will be taken into account as an income when they look at your mortgage claim as this help is income based.

    I would assume you cant cancel your WTC as it is an Income that you are entitled too

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  5. #5
    Basic Account Holder gemspan Informative gemspan Informative

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    Default Re: ESA, Working Tax Credit and Council Tax Benefit

    Hi

    thank you so much for your help. I am receiving ESA Conts at the moment due to the WTC of just over 93 per week. So effectively I get a total per week of 160.50 from which I have to pay my mortgageicon which is 288 per month, council tax (they want) 100, gas and electricity 92, phone and broadband (in contract) 48, tv licence 10 and there's food too. I'm currently in the assessment period but having done the ESA form trial online it looks like I have enough points to go into the support group. My doctor has advised that I should try and claim DLA too but its all a minefield and I keep reading about the poor people and what they have to go through to get this. I do have xrays of my lungs to prove I'm ill, and I have a very low exercise threshold but it just seems that the system is there to make you feel worse.

    I can't afford to eat properly and it's imperative that I have a healthy diet. I do manage to get out for a walk most day with my dogs. I have to do this because you have to exercise a little bit or you get worse. Some days I just don't have the energy to go outside. I'd been feeling bad for such a while and attending the doctors but getting fobbed off. It wasnt until just before new year that I had pains in my chest and down my left arm that I went to the hospital. This was when they discovered my lungs were damaged - hence the reason I get really breathless and uncomfortable when I do anything remotely strenuous....like vacuuming.... I don't know why they didn't test for this before but that's how it is I suppose.

    I was only working for apprx 1 month when my house was attacked and my car vandalised. I then suffered from anxiety and breathlessness which I thought were due to the attack on the house. So I wasn't working for long and I was exhausted the whole time...then of course I was diagnosed with this. Does this mean I have WTC for the entire 28 weeks since I had to give up work or from the first day I went off sickicon?

    I think with the WTC I am getting slightly more than I would get on income related without the WTC but it just seems really bad that I am having to pay full council tax when I have such a low income. When I was waiting for them to get back to me about my claim they got a summary warrant against me from Court! What a cheek! I did everything I was supposed to do...it was them that took their time and didn't work within their committed timescales... I'm going to get in touch with my local councillor about that.

    I don't know if this sheds any more light on things but thank you very much for the help you've given me. I hope I get put into the support group. I think I get an extra amount if I'm put in that don't I?

    Gemspan


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  6. #6
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    Default Re: ESA, Working Tax Credit and Council Tax Benefit

    hi Gemspam
    you do seem to be up against it, hope things get better
    soon

    DLA apply now, some people say its hard to get but if you are entitled you will get it, and if you dont get it first time appeal, if awarded this could lead to more premiums on your ESA.

    http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/MoneyTax...le/DG_10018702

    With regards to your current ESA you will get extra money if you go into the support group

    http://www.benefitsnow.co.uk/esa/rat...00848643496912

    And WTC end date is 28 weeks from the first date of sickness,
    so ring up near to that date, and when that ceases you need to apply for help with the mortgageicon again, and hopefully you should be entitled to HB for your council tax


  7. #7
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    Default Re: ESA, Working Tax Credit and Council Tax Benefit

    Hi gemspan, I'm sorry I can't help you with your benefits issues as I know nothing about contributionicon based ESA. I'm on income based ESA and, ergo, get HB, CTB et al. That said I'm still at the assessment rate and have been for a loooong time!
    But maybe I can help you out with coping with COPD? Know your enemy and you can work with it. I am, to be fair, incredibly positive. I was diagnosed with COPD ages ago. Then it went a bit bad and I've been classed as stage 3 (severe) since Aug 2009. Given that there is only 4 stages you can assume the prognosis is not entirely positive. But so what? Next month I hit the big 50 and am looking forward to it. But I have the lung capacity of a 90 year old. No worries. To misquote Oscar Wilde, old age is wasted on the elderly. I'm having my old age now whilst I'm young enough to enjoy it! I've learnt how to do 'slow' with flair and panache. Slow is the new fast.
    COPD is hugely misunderstood by both the DWP and the general population. It's an umbrella term which covers a multitude of sins. But say 'COPD' to the powers that be and you're likely to get back a 'oh, smokers disease' retort. Talk about misinformation. COPD has been around for centuries. In Victorian London people were dying because of the thick smog and pollution. COPD in todays language. Miners likewise. It's a disease of the modern world. Of the developed world. Ever watch Have I got News For You? The intro animation sums it up perfectly. A chinese worker in the fields, then urbanisation, he smiles and thumbs up, then factories and pollution and he's coughing his head off. Sound familiar? Don't be stigmatised.
    I can relate totally to your vacuuming point! LOL, I now break mine up and just do one room a day. Excercise and a positive mental attitude are paramount to handling this disease over the 'long' term...


  8. #8
    Basic Account Holder gemspan Informative gemspan Informative

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    Default Re: ESA, Working Tax Credit and Council Tax Benefit

    Hi Kelcou

    Thank you so much for your lovely response. I was just diagnosed on 30th December so am still really trying to come to terms with what this means for my life and my future. I can't understand why you are still on the assessment phase for ESA if you have been diagnosed with stage 3 COPD? That's just appalling. Have you claimed DLA? You really sound like a lovely, upbeat and positive person and I'm so glad you responded to my thread...thank you!

    I've had my lung tests and they showed that I had the lung function of a 40 year old...and I'm 50! That's when I'm sitting down....or still....as soon as I start to walk or move that's when my breathing becomes affected. I have a very low exercise tolerance - as my doctor puts it! I am very much trying to stay positive but I'm worried sick about money. My mortgageicon company are taking all my benefits as I need to keep a roof over my head.....and the rest you'll have read about my outgoings. I live on my own too so there is only the one income coming in.

    Sadly this has been caused by smoking. When we started smoking, however, it was not like it is today. I remember the ice cream van at the school gates selling single cigs....you could smoke at work; in pubs etc., I was never really a heavy smoker, but I was a regular smoker. I stopped for 4 months and at that time stopped drinking too because the two just went together....lol I still don't drink and I'm in the process of quitting. The doctor says I'll feel a whole lot better when I've been stopped for a little while as my lungs will be able to get more oxygen. Fingers crossed but I'm finding it hard....to say the least. lol

    I must watch the intro of Have I got news for you! I enjoy that programme but never have looked at the intro before.

    I'm so pleased that I have my dogs - not only do they get me out of the house but they are helping my condition by making sure I get at least one walk a day. I live by the sea so it's really clear air too. The thing that really floors me when walking is having to keep stopping due to the pains in my chest and up into my jaw. That's what made me go to the hospital...I thought I was having a heart attack...thankfully I wasn't and my heart is really strong.

    I'm sure once I come to terms with the changes I have to make I will be absolutely fine. There are some great support groups and forums that I've joined but sometimes I think it's good not to dwell on it too much and just try to get on with it. I've been thinking about what kind of jobs I could do, rather than what I can't do...although there aren't many I could maybe do a part-time office job...but they are hard to come by...

    If you don't mind me asking what are the procedures that you had to go through for your ESA and benefits please? I would have thought you'd have been assessed by now and know which group you are in. It all sounds quite daunting with so many really needy people not being given the proper care and benefits they are entitled to.

    I have worked all my life and the past 3 years have been particularly hard for me. I don't like to claim benefits but I think if I need to then I shouldn't feel ashamed at doing so. I'm not a scrounger but sometimes you're made to feel you are.

    Just before I got my job I was referred to the work programme with Triage. I got my job off my own bat but they have been trying to get the money for doing that. I had to give it up because I just simply couldn't work the full-time hours. You know what it's like with the fatigue. If you're not getting enough oxygen into your blood you just can't function normally at times. I'm still getting letters from them telling me I need to go in for an appointment but I'm not able to at the moment. I have a very sympathetic MP who is fighting my case though as they have been very rude to me....and to my MP's staff so he's now working with their superiors. I hope it stops others being treated like a piece of dirt on their shoe they can't shake off. I have been in there and people have been coming in with walking sticks, hardly able to walk and they are treated like dirt. The office is open plan and you can hear everything they are saying to people. One of them was really nasty to a disabled person who was sitting next to me when I was in one day. I was disgusted. I should have taken it further because what they did to that man was just downright cruel and demeaning...

    Anyway, must go back to bed now but just wanted to thank you for your support.

    Gemspan


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  9. #9
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    Default Re: ESA, Working Tax Credit and Council Tax Benefit

    gemspan, I'll admit it's not easy. But, to a degree it's what you make it. I'm on my third year on the assessment rate. My history is two applications, two null points from ATOSH, two tribunals who have failed me and this the third go on the merry-go-round. But that doesn't give the whole picture. The DWP have been superb. Very supportive, very helpfull. The cynical may say 'you still don't get the full entitlement, Rae'. But it's more than that.
    I haven't - yet - claimed DLA for exactly the reason you haven't. It's a minefield that I feel will be against me from the outset. Probably a figment of my imagination.
    Strangely, the biggest problem we have is excercise. We need it. It helps us live longer. But then it means we can work full time in the eyes of the DWP. Back to having no clue about this disease. Just because we force ourselves to do one thing doesn't mean we can do most things ... *sigh*



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