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ESA (old IB) entitlement / NI credits, Please Can You Help!!!

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Hi, I am desperately looking for somewhere to turn to try to get advice on ESA benefit. :rolleyes:


I'll try to keep this as short as poss. Basically I was diagnosed with ME in 2005. I applied the for incapacity benefit and after many months of filling out multiple forms, I was turned down. I was told I didn't have enough National Insurance credits (this was marginal).


I have been unable to work since then and have no income at all. I live with a partner now so I am not entitled to income support, although I (stupidly) hadn't realised before that I could have applied for it. I had previously worked all my life and had no knowledge of the welfare state system.


I have been writing and phoning my benefits office for 4 years now and have filled out the same forms over and over. Eventualy last year they paid me IB for a couple of months, then they wrote to me to say they'd made a mistake and when they'd checked, I didn't have enough NI conts.


I have called the NI office and all my contributions have been paid - they are looking back to 2004/05 where I was short by either one or two contributions!!!!!


However, I am wondering now if I make a new application for the new ESA, would they look at this afresh and look at only the last 3 years of NI?


Please understand I am so nervous of going to the benefits office to ask them, as I feel they could just refuse this again and that will be the end of it.


I am hoping that being able to apply for ESA may be my last chance.


Please please can anyone give me any words of wisdom or your own experience of this? I have had my MSP involved and been to a lawyer, I have tried so hard in the past to get this benefit.


It's not a massive amount of money (although to me right now it would be). But it feels like they are invalidating my illness by not even acknowledging I am entitled to some sort of financial state assistance.


I really welcome any help - thank you :?

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There are two types of ESA. Contribution based and income related. So even if you have not made enough contributions, if you satisfy the other conditions of claim then you will receive Income related ESA providing your income and/or savings are not above the threshold.

My advice is based on my opinion, my experience and my education. I do not profess to be an expert in any given field. If requested, I will provide a link where possible to relevant legislation or guidance, so that advice provided can be confirmed and I do encourage others to follow those links for their own peace of mind. Sometimes my advice is not what people necesserily want to hear, but I will advise on facts as I know them - although it may not be what a person wants to hear it helps to know where you stand. Advice on the internet should never be a substitute for advice from your own legal professional with full knowledge of your individual case.



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My partner is in receipt of both contribution based and Income based ESA.

As he had not paid enough NI they then look at household income. It was very easy to apply for a 10 phone call. The only annoying thing is always having to provide sick notes from the doctor.

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However, I am wondering now if I make a new application for the new ESA, would they look at this afresh and look at only the last 3 years of NI?


ESA will be looking at the Relevant Income Tax Years (RITY's) preceeding your benefit year. You need to satisfy both contribution conditions in order to get ESA(Cont). If you don't satisfy the contribution conditions, then ESA(IR) may be awarded dependant upon your circunstances i.e living with partner, partner's work hours, partner's income, capital less than £16000, your income from other benefits (DLA is disregarded).


The first contribution condition.

In order to qualify for contribution based ESA you must have:


  • actually paid Class 1 contributions in one of the three last complete tax years on earnings of 25 times the lower earnings limit for that particular year; or
  • 25 Class 2 contributions in any of the three last complete tax years; or
  • a mixture of Class 1 and Class 2 totalling 25 in any of the three last complete tax years.

Class 1 National Insurance contributions are paid by employed people as a percentage of their earnings. Class 2 NI contributions are paid by self-employed people at a standard weekly rate.

The second contribution condition.

In addition to meeting the first condition you must also have paid (or have been treated as having paid) Class 1 or Class 2 contributions amounting to at least 50 times the lower earnings limit in each of the two relevant tax years.

The relevant tax years are those that precede the benefit year in which the claim is made. To make things a little more complex, the benefit year runs from the first Sunday in January whereas the tax year starts on April 6th.

Contribution credits count as Class 1 credits and can be used to help you meet the second contribution condition. You are credited for each full week that you receive-


  • incapacity benefit or
  • statutory sick pay or
  • severe disablement allowance or
  • income support due to incapacity for work or
  • maternity allowance or
  • jobseeker's allowance or
  • carer's allowance or
  • adoption pay


In your case the benefit year is 2009, so the RITY's used will be 05/06, 06/07 and 07/08.

The advice I give in relation to benefits should be viewed as general advice and not specific to your individual claim circumstances. I cannot give specific advice on your claim as I cannot access the claim.


If you find the advice useful please click on my scales.

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