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Good afternoon ladies and gents. I hope I am allowed to ask a question as my first post.


I have been working for the last 3 years as self employed. I have had such a low income from it that I have been propped up by tax credits and housing benefit throughout. Hardly worth the effort really, but I am a man of pride and have worked all my life.


Basic background is that I have arthritis in my back. It is painful all the time and using the standard scale of 1-10, 10 being the worst pain ever, I am on a 5-6 most days but have recently seen that go up to more like 7 or 8 most days. I have had several minor procedures done on my spine over the last 10 years or so. It is all documented at hospital.


To put it frankly, it is terrible. I have considered suicide but am frankly to cowardly to go through with anything like that and I am also hopefully too smart to throw my life away. But the thought has been there on more than one occasion. It is very hard to explain to anyone, as they cannot 'see' my pain, only how I react to it. I would compare it to ranging toothache.


Anyway, it has got to the point where I simply cannot work anymore and haven't done so for the last couple of months. This is where my questions come in and I hope one of you will be able and kind enough to offer me some advise/guidance.


Obviously I cannot continue with tax credits as I am technically no longer working. I am not fit for work and I am currently awaiting spinal fusion surgery. So, should/could I apply for incapacity benefit or the new one it is now called? I am a blue badge holder and receive the higher rate of DLA mobility component.


I have rent to pay every month and totally rely on the council helping me with that. I have come to rely on the tax credits too and my main worry is that I am broke and cannot risk housing benefit being stopped or the tax credits for that matter. It is currently my only source of income.


Most sincerely



ps I am in my late 40's and married with one teenage child.

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Hi Jimmy,

Someone with more knowledge than me will be along shortly to give better advice, but to be going on with. I would suggest that you make an appointment to see your GP. See if he will sign you off as incapacitated, I wont say sick. I know how you feel, I have degeneration of the sacral spine. Once you have got the note from your doctor then contact the Employment Support Allowance claim line and make a claim to ESA. They will probably ask you if you want to make a claim for CTB and H/B. As I said , someone else will be along soon and give you more detailed advice on what you can and cannot claim.


Cheers - Scousegeezer.

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Moving to the benefits section....

PLEASE NOTE - I am not a legal expert, what is stated is my own opinion and from what I have learnt from this forum and my own experiences.


DEBT COLLECTION LETTER/SAR/AGREEMENT TEMPLATES ARE HERE - http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/content.php?65-legislation






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Hi there.


You should make a claim to Employment and Support Allowance, as suggested by Scousegeezer. You can claim in one of three ways (whicever would best suit you).


You can call this number: 0800 055 6688

Textphone for speech or hearing difficulty: 0800 023 4888


Or you can claim online: DWP - Services and benefits online - About this service


Or you can download these documents and claim by post:



complete in ink:



or to type on:



There is more information here on ESA: Employment and Support Allowance : Directgov - Disabled people



You should also advise Tax Credit of your change of Income, so they can amend your claim accordingly.


You said you receive the higher rate of DLA for the mobility component. Do you receive the care component at all?

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.



Please do not seek, offer or produce advice on a consumer issue via private message; it is against

forum rules to advise via private message, therefore pm's requesting private advice will not receive a response.

(exceptions for prior authorisation)





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Thank you for your help everyone so far.


I receive the mobility component at the higher reate. I do not receive the care component.


I can wash and dress myself, albeit with pain, but that makes me ineligable for the care component. I recently had surgery on my right shoulder too, which is taking a lot longer than expected to recover., I am right handed and at the moment I struggle to write because of my shoulder surgery.


I normally walk with one walking stick, but again as I am right handed it has proved much more difficult since the shoulder surgery. I am effectively a reclouse at the moment. I hardly go out at all, although I could if I want to increase my pain level.


My medication is a cocktail of anti inflamatory drugs - diclofenic for example, plus strong pain killers - dihyracodeine, tramadol, cocodomol etc etc. I am dosed up like a zombie most of the time. My GP wanted to put me on morphine which I have resisted so far as I realy do want to have some quality of life and not be vergitated on morphine.


As far as work goes, I would love to have a job working for someone else. I have found that being self employed just didn't work for me. But I went down this path years ago and although I can get interviews, you just know they discriminate against people with mobility issues. I know they are not allowed to, but then people are not allowed to steal or kill, but they do!


What put me off the whole ESA claiming was the indignity of having to explain in fine detail what I can and cannot do. I cannot in a million years touch my toes and I will not even try as it will cause me great pain coming back up as well as going down. Why should I anyway? My GP and the consultants know my situation perfectly well. Why should I have to explain all this to an unqualified medical clerk for a private company? It is so unfair. There are so many scroungers in this world. I am happy to work but I am genuinely unable to at present and for the moderate future.


I will have to contact these people tomorrow I suppose. I am just deading the weeks of waiting as I know these things will just cause me financial woe for the lead up to Christmas.

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I can wash and dress myself, albeit with pain, but that makes me ineligable for the care component.


No it doesn't! The care component includes needing help with bathing, toilet needs, turning over in bed, getting out of bed & so on.


I have a degenerative spine & can wash & dress but cannot get in & out of a bath without help, can't get up if I fall (which is frequent) etc etc & I get high rate mobility & middle rate care.


I would suggest you get someone who knows you well to sit & write down what exactly you cannot do compared to them then look at the differences to see if you need help with care. When my OH did this for me, I was horrified but it made me realise just how much I depended on someone to help :rolleyes:

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Thanks for your reply.


We applied for the care component twice before and was turned down each time. The last time we applied I was really very bad and literally could not do much without help, ie get in/out of bed, same for the bath, I don't fall very often but have a couple of times this year and on both occasions needed my wife to help me get up again. I cannot bend down to tie shoes, so I have to either throw my leg up about 4 stairs, straining my leg or ask my wife to do them for me.


I am glad someone understands a bit about what I have. It is so depressing when you see yourself struggling to do the most basic of things, but then I see programs like 'wounded' and wonder what the heck I am complaining about. It is hard to strike a balance.


You have spurred me on and I thank you. We will apply again for the care component. It is not fair that my wife has to do so much for me.


Thank you. You are a great bunch of people here. I am glad I have found this place. It is inspiring. I am genuinely grateful for all your help and advise.




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It might be worth getting some help with the forms such as CAB - they tend to know how to put things on the forms although having said that, I filled my forms in each time & got both elements no problem. Last time, I was awarded it indefinately which was a kind of relief but also mega-depressing :-(


I totally understand how you feel but there are many here in the same boat & who will offer you all the help you need :smile:

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Hi mate. Apply for the ESA pack now as I think,although ErikaP may correct me that any award is backdated to that day. I am on high rate mobility,low rate care although I have asked that they look at this again.


The worst part of this is the private company (ATOS) medical. If you can`t attend get your GP to request a home visit.Have someone with you. Don`t be bullied by them.


Do you have a Care Manager from your local social services. If you get a good one they can arrange carers,usually through direct payments now so that you can employ your own and refer you for any

equipment,adaptations you may need.


ESA payments are one of two,income related and Contribution related.Then divided into two groups,work related and support. Most people I believe get the work related which means an interview at the local job centre and then 6 pathways to work interviews over a six month period. You will get ESA for this period but may lose it if you don`t attend the first is means tested and if you have savings or assets over £16000 you don`t qualiry. Between £6000 and £16000 I believe they reduce your ESA by £1 for every £250 savings.

I don`t think that Contribution base is means tested. This means you`ve worked long enough and paid enoiugh National insurance to qualify.Good luck.




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Apply for ESA by phone on 0800 055 6688 you can request that the claim is backdated to the date you became incapacitated (up to a maximum of 3 months) otherwise the claim will be paid 3 waiting days after the date of claim. The call to make the claim will take between 40 mins and 1 hour.


Within a few days you'll receive the Customer Statement to check and this will also inform you what evidence is required - this is usually the sicknote, details of self employment accounts, verification of savings held above £5500, verification of any occupational pension or personal health insurance in payment and housing costs. As for the time it will take to process a claim into payment (even if it is to be a credit only claim) this can vary from Benefit Delivery Centre, the receipt of all requested information. On average the target is 17 days but an take up to 4 weeks in certain instances. Once the claim is processed into payment you will receive a letter informing you of your entitlement.


Within the first 13 weeks of the claim (the Assessment phase) you will be required to attend a Work Focused interview, complete and return the ESA50 Limited Capability for Work questionnaire and attend a Work Capability Assessment. Attendance for the WFU and WCA, and returning the form, is mandatory as failure to do so will mean that your claim is disallowed and no payment will be made if an appeal is registered against a FTA or FTR decision. Should you fail the WCA and appeal against the decision the claim will be put back into payment during the appeal process.


Don't rely on the Benefit Delivery Centre notifying you when a sicknote is due to expire, from experience these letters are either not generated by the system or arrive on or after the date of expiry.



With regards the care component of DLA being refused, have you appealed against that decision??

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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As MIKEY DABODEE correctly stated you can claim WTC for 26 weeks while being sick. However you will have to be in receipt of SSP or equivalent during this period.

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With the introduction of ESA replacing IB(short term) in respect of a self employed person claiming WTC. The 26 week rule still applies.

He will be able to continue claiming the WTC period as long as he has a claim running for ESA. Again i would stress, the longest he can continue to claim the WTC without working is still 26weeks, regardless if he continued on ESA.

You also do not have to contact the helpline to advise them of this during the 26 week period. As the advisors on the helpline will not update anything until the 26 weeks pass and will ask you to call back at this point. If you don't call after the 26week passes you will start accrueing an overpayment that will be recovered by cross year recovery against any CTC you have.

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