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  1. Thanks everyone, I really appreciate you taking the time to find out the information for me. Even though I'm losing it at least I can now know for sure that's what should be happening and it's not a mistake I have to get them to sort out. I keep getting less money from things the government never publicise. I had to move flat because I rent and the old one was being sold. So my housing benefit got recalculated and I got a lower amount even though my new rent was higher, because there were new rules and me moving meant a change in circumstances (even though I had no choice but move). Then my housing benefit went down again earlier this year because my Top Up payment was seen as having extra money. At least I will get that amount back on my housing benefit now. At least I hope I will, I was told once that they only recalculate it once a year now. I hate all the underhand ways they take money away from everyone. I'm just going to concentrate on keeping getting better. I hope to be well enough to look for work in 6 months. Thanks again for all your help, it's much appreciated.
  2. Thanks for your replies, I still don't understand where it says that a person will lose their Top Up payment after moving to income related ESA. I can see it says: "where people who are eligible for ESA receive more on existing incapacity benefits than the appropriate ESA rate, their existing rate of benefit will be frozen at the point of conversion" from the link you gave: http://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/how-we-can-help/benefits-information/incapacity-benefits-migration but can't see about losing the Top Up payment. Is there a bit I'm missing? Thanks.
  3. I wonder if anyone can help me. I don't know if what's happened is right. I used to be on Incapacity Benefit and when I moved to ESA Contributory Benefit I got a top up payment (£11.70 a week). Now I've moved from Contributory ESA to Income Related ESA and the top up has been removed. All the information I got about the top up payment (also called a Transitionary Allowance) was that you got it until the ESA was slowly increased over time, but your money stayed the same until the two met in the middle. But now it's gone. The letter I got said I'm getting £100.15 a week on ESA but the page for how they calculate this says I'm getting a top up payment and I'm getting £110.85. I phoned the number on the letter twice. The first time noone in the office knew if the top up payment going was correct or not but told me to assume it was. They said I should appeal but the letter says I have to have Mandatory Reconsideration first and they didn't know anything about that. I phoned a local advice shop but they didn't know about the Top Up payment and I phoned the benefit people again. This time I was told going from Contributions to Income Related meant I'd had a reconsideration and it was removed because of that. Is this right? Nothing I can find online says going from Contributory to Income Related ESA makes you lose your Top Up payment. Thanks.
  4. Thanks, unfortunate it is that way. I also feel like I'm not allowed to spend my savings as I would wish now. I want to help a family member out with some money because they've had some unexpected bills for essential things. They've helped me out before many times but if I give them some money I'm going to be seen as being fraudulent aren't I? Like I'm reducing my savings on purpose.
  5. I'm in the work group. I got it on appeal and the appeal gave me 18 months. So I've had 12 months contributory and now going into 6 months income based before renewal. I got about £7,500 recently from a payout and I know that everything over £6,000 is "taxed" but I suddenly wondered if my "protected rate" of ESA, the amount I originally got with Incapacity Benefit would continue to apply so the savings didn't matter?? Thanks
  6. Hi, I was on Incapacity Benefit and moved to Contributory ESA for a year. I'm now moving to Income Related ESA but because I've gotten some money this year I will be a bit over the £6,000 savings rate to get the full amount. When I moved to Contributory ESA the amount I got was protected and I got the same as I had on Incapacity Benefit. Will I continue to get this rate on Income Related ESA even though I have some savings? By the way, even though I got about £20 more than i would normally on ESA because I was on this protected rate. All that actually happened is that they took that £20 off my Housing benefit because I was "getting too much". Thanks.
  7. I am on ESA and hope to start work sometime in the medium term. I was told there is Return to Work Credits and In Work Tax Credits but now I've seen that these are being stopped if on 1st October. It says "in readiness for Universal Credit". But the Universal Credit is only being started in October for new claimants. So what will happen to me if I go back to work after 1st October? I won't get Return to Work Credits or In Work Tax Credits because they've stopped. But I won't get any replacement help because I'm not a new claimant so won't get Universal Credit? Confused.
  8. Hello Margaret, I've been searching through lots of paperwork and haven't found my appeal letter unfortunately. But I have found the original ATOS decision papers. I got 6 points for moving around and 6 points for dealing with other people. I strongly suspect that I got the extra 6 points at the appeal for coping with changes (because of anxiety). So I can't be made to do anything on the ESA Work Programme that would make any of these worse? I'm trying to keep positive even though everything I read about Ingeus is negative. I phoned up Remploy to ask what help they could give but they only seem interested in getting people low skilled, low wage jobs that need good decent physical health: cleaning, security work, shop floor, warehouse work & call centres (I have tinnitus). When they are an organisation that helps disabled people so why so many physical jobs? A mixture would be better. Between x
  9. Hello Margaret, What happened is that I didn't get enough points from my ATOS medical but did win my appeal (thank you Advice Shop Edinburgh who are fantastic and who help in so many ways). At the appeal I was put on ESA and the appeal took place approx 6 months after my initial ESA form going in (going from Incapacity to ESA). The appeal put me in the ESA Work Group and said I should not be reassessed for 18 months (from the original date of application). This will take me to about April/May next year. At the appeal I got a piece of paper with this information but I never got anything through the post. I phoned them several times, getting nothing at first, then a random calculation letter then finally a letter stating that I was entitled to ESA but until Oct/Nov. So then I phoned and was told that yes, I would get another 6 months but had to phone up a month before Oct/Nov and get a form to fill in to go onto income based ESA. If I hadn't have queried this my ESA would have stopped then! It took me about 2 months to get just this entitlement letter, I thought I'd been lost in the system somewhere. So I don't have any info on what they gave me extra points for. How can I find this out? I got a phone call saying I'd missed my appointment with the Job Centre but I never got a letter but they were fine about that, probably could hear the bewilderment in my voice and I got a new one. So now I'm going to see Ingeus to hear about their Work Programme on Monday. My heart sinks when I read some of the stories about them. I'm avoiding 4Ae as I've heard locally they are poor. I can choose between Ingeus and Remploy but I don't hear great stuff about Remploy either. I wish I could hear some positive stories. But not the ones from the Work Programme Provider pages, independent ones! Thanks.
  10. Thank you, I didn't know this and it will be very useful. One of the reasons I got ESA is anxiety (along with other physical problems) and I know I can now turn down voluntary work that will make it worse. Which is a big relief. If they got me useful voluntary work or work experience I would jump at the chance to do that though. I have medical information from my ATOS medical that was used in the appeal but don't have anything from the appeal itself. I should get that. My ESA will run out next year, but I will be on the Work Programme for 2 years. Will the Work Programme rules change for me when I go onto JSA? (I'm getting better and hope to be fit for work by the time my ESA runs out.) Will I then have to take mandatory work placements? Also if I ask to record conversations and get copies of all documents doesn't this make the atmosphere quite confrontational? Thanks.
  11. Thanks osdset, but the posts on Ingeus and the Work Programme seem to be about people on JSA on the Work Programme rather than ESA. I think there are some differences? Like if you're on the ESA Work Programme you don't get Mandatory Work Placements? I'm not sure about it all though.
  12. Hi, I'm going for an interview session soon about starting the Work Program. I do want to get help to get back to work, particularly help getting a part time job. But one that's suitable and doesn't make my health problems worse. Does anyone have any tips for being on the Work Program? I've learnt that when I do sign up it will then become mandatory for 2 years. I'd like to know about my rights on the Work Program as well as how to get the most out of it. I read stories about people being offered or forced into unsuitable work and I want to avoid that. I want to do things that will help me get back to work not just give the company money. For example I already volunteer and I'm concerned that the company will want me to drop that and do different voluntary work just so they can get money for putting me on it. Or putting me on internal courses that won't do me any good. So, any tips or info very welcome! Or links to anywhere you've found good info. Many Thanks.
  13. Hi, This is my first post. I'm in the Work Group for ESA and I've got to sign up with a Work Group provider. In Edinburgh there is A4e (who I've heard not good things about here), Igneous and Remploy. Does anyone know if Igneous or Remploy are good/bad in Edinburgh? My health is improving slowly and I am keen to get back to work when I feel I can manage it. Many Thanks.
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