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ESA Confusion?


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Hi, I am new here so please bear with me.


I am really worried right now.


I applied for ESA about 3 weeks ago and got a letter today to say I was not entitled to it as I had not enough N.I contributions.

I was on Incapacity Benefit but came off that in September 2009 as I started a nursing course at University, however I became ill again in January this year and have been taken off the course.


I am wondering if I can claim anything? I am in receipt of DLA but this does not meet my huge debts I have.


I must point out that my partner is in the top earner category so I know I would not be eligible for ESA under the income based one.


It's just I do not want to leave on hand-outs from my partner - she does not know the extent of my debts and I do not want her to.


I did work for 13 years for the same company 5 years ago and paid full N.I contributions, I feel it's really unfair if I am due to nothing.


Sorry for the long post but like I said I am really worried about this and would really appreciate someones help. x

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Hi ell74 and thank-you for joining the forums. Your post demonstrates the absurdity of the current system, i.e. the financial disincentive to those who wish to make the effort to get off benefits. The fear of reapplying and ending up worse-off on an income based benefit presents a significant barrier to those trying to move back towards employment.

I think the LibCons answer to this is to make all benefits "income based" under their "single benefit" plans and are likely to announce this in this months "comprehensive spending review", thereby making everyone worse-off under the guise of "fairness". "Tory" and "fairness", they're having a laugh at our expense again with their cuts which they euphemistically call "incentives".


Kindest regards and sorry about your predicament,


I'm not a qualified welfare rights adviser, but I'm planning on becoming one. I'm no substitute for more competent advice from trained CAB and welfare rights workers - [URL="http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/benefits-tax-credits-minimum/127741-benefits-advice.html"]see this post[/URL] by Joa, great advice and links! I've been running a Crisis Loan campaign and help since Jan 2007 . See my annotations c/o "theyworkforyou". I'm also currently interested by the recent DWP Medical Services reform and the effect this is having on valid claims, seriously - someone needs to be keeping a suicide count.

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Without contributions I'm afraid your partners income will deny you access to most income tested benefits.


There's usually a benefits checker on your councils website I'd suggest that you try that 1st.


I'm assuming that you live together other wise her income would have no effect on you.


I'm not sure on how IS & being a student would effect NI contributions? But you only need a certain number of weeks over the past 2 years and it has been known for the DWP to apply their own rules incorrectly.


Could someone with more knowledge answer that please?


As for your debts....


there's a debt section on these boards I suggest you seek advice on getting help with managing them and reducing them.


Also you're going to have to tell her about them eventually so the sooner you make a start the better.

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But you only need a certain number of weeks over the past 2 years and it has been known for the DWP to apply their own rules incorrectly.
The DWP has made mistakes in applying the rules, yes. Other problems can occur at HMRC, who actually collect and administer NI, and it's not unheard of for employers to fail to post the contribution record at HMRC as they are required to do by, I think, October of the following tax year.


There are two "contribution conditions" that must be satisfied in order to receive contributory ESA. For a claim made in October 2010, the tax years considered will be 2008-2009, 2007-2008, and 2006-2007.


The first contribution condition


In any one of these three tax years you must have actually paid (credits don't count) NI on an income that is at least 25 times the weekly Lower Earnings Limit (LEL) for NI. I can't remember the exact figure for the LEL this year but it's around £90 or £95 per week.

The second contribution condition


In both of the two most recent tax years (ie 2008-2009 and 2007-2008 ) you must have paid or been credited with NI on an income that is at least 50 times the LEL.


Both conditions must be satisfied. Class 1 (paid by employees) and Class 2 (paid by the self-employed) count towards the conditions; Class 3 (paid voluntarily by people who have gaps in their record) do not count for ESA purposes, they are primarily intended to protect entitlement to state Retirement Pension and some bereavement benefits.


Hope this explanation makes sense.




The idea that all politicians lie is music to the ears of the most egregious liars.

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