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help with how to begin claiming unemployment benefit please

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Hi, I have a friend staying with me at my house, he had his home repossessed about 6mths ago. He is unemployed, he has very little documentation regarding the repossession or anything else really.

I think my friend is suffering depression and he has an appointment to see a doctor this week. He is currently avoiding contact with the financial institutions to whom he owes money, I can give him practical help in this regard as my job is somewhat related.

The problem I am faced with is where to start the process of enabling him to receive some form of benefit, at the moment my wife and I are covering his living costs but cannot do this long term.

I would appreciate if someone could point me in the right direction and maybe answer a couple of questions I have,

1) Will my address become known to his creditors once he registers for benefits?

2) If a claim is successful will he be entitled to some form of rent/lodging allowance?

 

thanks in advance for any help.

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Hello there. You and your wife are very kind to help this person.

 

Have you looked at directgov online? That should give you an idea about what can be claimed and I think there may be a calculator thingy. Or one of you could speak to the CAB locally for information.

 

You could also look at the debt forums on CAG which I believe are helpful. Also, if the doctor's appointment doesn't work, you could consider calling in the local mental health team, who have helped a number of caggers including myself when I most needed it.

 

Those are my initial thoughts, I hope other caggers will come along with others.

 

And please continue to post if you need more information. We're here to help.

 

My best, HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/MoneyTaxAndBenefits/BenefitsTaxCreditsAndOtherSupport/Employedorlookingforwork/DG_10018757

- Tells you all about JSA and how to claim

 

However, if he is suffering from depression then maybe he should be on ESA http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/DisabledPeople/FinancialSupport/esa/DG_171894

 

Housing Benefit or Local Housing Allowance as it is known for private tenancies is paid by the local Council. This can be claimed whether you are a tenant or a lodger. Here is some more info http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/MoneyTaxAndBenefits/BenefitsTaxCreditsAndOtherSupport/On_a_low_income/DG_10018926

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Thank you to both Honeybee13 & Aviva, I will have a look at the links you have provided, I'm sure they will give me a starting point.

Honeybee, I have known my friend for 40yrs, we went to school together, it was without a 2nd thought that we offered him a bolthole, it's what friends do. However, I did not realise just where he is at mentally, yes he functions normally every day, no outward signs of any problems. This is a man who has good morals, has always worked and been somewhat successful in the past, then everything came tumbling down around him. I think that he has taken such a beating, metophorically speaking, that he just does not know where to start rebuilding.

I will contact the JSA people first, find out just what documentation they will require, he has very little in this regard, then I will contact the housing people and take it from there.

 

The debt problem is something I can help him to deal with once he has stuck his head above the parapet, it's the least complicated part from my point of view. The worry is that once he registers at my address we may be inundated with collectors etc, this may well cause my friend to up sticks and disappear, I want to avoid this at all costs.

Do you know if these companies will be able to obtain his address just by him registering for benefits?

 

Thank you so much for the prompt replies, I was completely in the dark as to where to turn, glad I came here.

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DCA's would not be able to find out where he lives by him registering for benefits, not unless the DWP or local authority are the creditors.

 

DWP is a target for DCA's because of the sheer volume of personal information that DWP holds on people, but DWP are not permitted to give them a claimant's information. DWP's security department consistently raise awareness in this respect.


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 Erika, this is indeed good news, I now feel I can encourage him to seek the help in the relative comfort that people are not immediately going to be hounding him, or me.

I do appreciate that he will need to address the debt problem but I feel the first step is to try and establish some stability and regular income.

 

Thanks again for your kind response

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And don't forget the Mental Health team, mine were great when I was struggling. My psychiatrist fought tooth and nail for me.

 

My best to the three of you and please keep posting.

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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When he is in receipt of income based benefits, a DCA must take that into account when arranging a new repayment plan - you can post in the debt forums here on CAG for advice if you or he needs support or advice in this area.


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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just a quick update for those who kindly gave the advice and anybody in similar circs.

 

My friend saw the doctor today, he was given a sick note for a month, an appointment for some tests and an appoinmtnet to see the doc again in 2 weeks.

Am going to entice him to the Benefits office next week with a view to claiming ESA, then to the local council for something towards board & lodgings. This represents big progress for him (& for me), thank you all again for the guidance so far.

Happy to take any further hints or tips anyone has that may smooth the way.

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Further update on progress with my friend, He contacted the jobcentreplus today, they have registered his claim for ESA from last Friday, the day he visited the doctor. They have sent out some forms for him to complete and return, I suppose this will take a week or so to turn around.

I have been looking at the aspect of housing benefit via the .gov site, it seems straight forward enough, they even suggest that a backdated claim is possible. I am unsure regarding what figure is reasonable to ask for weekly/monthly board and lodgings, every little helps in the current climate, any pointers please?

 

All in all it has been a good few days since Friday, big steps on the road back to good health and wellbeing, so glad I came here for the help in the first place, thanks again.

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Thank you for letting us know. I'm very pleased it was helpful for you and your friend.

 

My best, HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Hi, just to update on progress with my friend, all looks ok regarding the claim for ESA, the doctor has diagnosed severe depression, from what I understand once the ESA is approved this will trigger the housing benefit people to agree some rent, have already put the forms in with them.

We have a date for a bankruptcy hearing, 23rd November, I am struggling to find online the forms related to reducing the court fee because he is on benefits, anyone help with that please, I know its the wrong forum but I just wondered.

It was through coming here that enabled me to start dealing with all these things, I really appreciate the help, thank you.

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When his ESA claim is approved the Council should be informed but sometimes this does not happen or there is a delay so when he gets his letter he should take it down to the Council and get them to copy it for his HB/CTB application.

 

I tried to attach a document that may help re. the Court fees problem but have had problems so for Court fees info go to the HMCS site, click on Forms and Guidance and then type in EX160A where is asks for Form Number. This will then take you to the page where you can access the 'Court Fees - Do you have to pay them' document that gives info on what to do if you are on Benefits or a low income.

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Good luck with helping your firendf, you sound like a very good friend indeed.

 

With the court fees there is an exemption if you are on certain benefits, and for the bankruptcy I think there is a full exemption... particularly in view of their homelesness.

 

Keep us updated on this.

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Thank you Aviva, I have printed off the forms, just the job. This place is brilliant!!

 

Thanks also to sillygirl (great name), it's what friends do I suppose, I know he would do the same for me if roles were reversed, even though isn't the reason I'm doing it, I would try to help anybody if I could.

 

cheers everyone :clap2: will still update when anything happens, who knows if my experience will help someone else in similar strife.

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In May this year my friend visited his doctor and was diagnosed with stress, he initiated a claim for ESA but did not complete the application, he was, at the time, going through the repossession of his home and just literally crumbled at the mountain he was faced with.

 

When we registered the current claim I suggested that he may be entitled to claim for the period between May and October because it was documented that he had started the process, unsurprisingly they were not too helpful on this matter. I decided to push with this and contacted his current doctor, provided her with a copy of the sick note issued in May and asked if she were able to bridge the gap, she has agreed that he has been unwell since then and provided the sicknote.

The ESA people have told me that this will be all I need to get them to agree the claim, I will be ensuring they receive it by Tuesday.

In anyones experience am I being too optimistic in assuming that he will have some money by Friday or will they still stall.

Of course once we have their agreement we can trigger the housing benefit claim, things seem to be falling into place for him now, next is the bankruptcy to deal with, the end of this road may be in sight.

 

here's hoping

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Hi, well I spoke with the ESA today, I advised them that they will have the required document (the sicknote) by tomorrow via their own internal post system. I asked the adviser if this will mean they can approve his claim and begin to pay my friend some money, unsurprisingly the adviser was evasive with his answers, he intimated that they may need to carry out their own medical assessment.

Has anybody experienced this, if so will it mean waiting even longer for them to start assisting him?

Honeybee mentioned getting the 'team' involved, is this the type of situation they can help with, if so I will write to the doctor and request this on his behalf, the doctor was very helpful and empathic to his and my own situation when we spoke so I do feel she will help if she can.

 

I have to say I was hoping that once they had the required documents they would begin to pay but after todays call I feel they work on the assumption that everyone is one the fiddle, they seem to move the goalposts all the time. As I said in my previous post I was told by the ESA adviser last week that all they required was the proof that he was ill from May until October, that was definitely not the impression I was given today, seems so unfair.

When I suggested to the adviser that I was finding the whole process very difficult to get through he nonchalantly replied that it was the government who were responsible for the set up and my comments should be directed at them, he seemed unaware of who his employers are, no wonder they remain behind a phone these days.

 

Sorry for the rant but I had to get it off my chest, thanks again for any advice you may have, very much appreciated.

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Most people who apply for ESA must have an assessment by ATOS. The only people who may not have to attend the medical are those who fall within one of the below categories:

 

 

  • terminally ill (i.e., their death can reasonably be expected within six months);
  • receiving, or recovering from, intravenous, intraperitoneal or intrathecal chemotherapy;
  • excluded from work due to having been in contact with a notifiable disease;
  • a hospital in-patient;
  • pregnant and either:
    - entitled to maternity allowance
    - is in the period between the date 6 weeks before her due date and 2 weeks after the actual birth, and she is not entitled to maternity allowance or SMP for that period; or
    - there is a serious risk to her or the unborn child if she does not refrain from work;
  • is receiving one of the following treatments:
    - haemodialysis for chronic renal failure
    - plasmapheresis or radiotherapy
    - total parenteral nutrition for gross impairment of eneretic function

He won't have to wait for the assessment before they pay him though. The assessment should take place within the first 13 weeks "assessment phase" of the claim. Once they have the sick note and all other information they need, they can process the claim. The average clearance time (time taken to process an ESA claim and issue a decision notification) is 14 working days.


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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Thanks again Erika, I called ESA again today to ensure they had received the post from yesterday, initially I was informed they had some but not all of what I sent and that I should call again tomorrow.

I explained that all the post was in one envelope and that means they must have it all, they said they would call me back, they did so within the hour. The lady I spoke to seemed to know more about what was happening and said that my friend had not completed a form they sent him back in May, I can't recall the name of the form but it is related to what he did before the claim, ie self employed, details of any accountant etc.

She advised that she would send us the form, normally they only use 2nd class but I was given an upgrade to 1st class, that's what you call going the extra yard eh.

 

She did intimate that his claim may take some time to process, not explaining exactly why. I asked if they are likely to accept the current part of his claim and actually begin to pay him some money, whatever she replied did not answer the question.

This woman was easily the most human sounding operative I have spoken with during this saga, she did seem to appreciate my position, if not my friends, that's a start I suppose.

 

I have said it before but I really do appreciate the help I have had from here.

 

It may be common knowledge but just in case I think I have found a good way to get any documents to right place within 24hrs, I have been taking any post to the local job centre and asking for it to be put through the internal post system, this job centre has a daily collection @ 14.30, all you need do is address it to the relevant department, -ie- ESA changes team, or whatever.

I hope this may help someone else, it certainly helped me when they attempted to fob me off.

 

It looks from what you say Erika that he will have to undergo an ATOS medical, that's not an issue as far as I can see, as long as they release some funds for him.

From what he can recall he hasn't paid NI contributions for a few years, will this affect things?

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The post is scanned (like an x-ray machine) then opened before it reaches the desk of any staff for security reasons because of "items" being sent in the mail. I've had a few folks who have sent documents in the same envelope but they haven't all arrived at the same time. Some turn up and some don't - which is a nightmare. Although this isn't the fault of DWP directly, it is still them that you complain to if this happens because they contract the mail opening units. The real headache I have is when nothing turns up because then it's impossible to know whether I should complain to DWP (if they've received nothing, it can't be shown that the problem was caused by the MOU) or to complain to Royal Mail.

 

The internal post is very good for the speed of getting documents delivered. Always though, make sure that you get a receipt from the Jobcentre. When you get a receipt it will have a receipt number on it. The receipt number is written in a book along with informaiton of what document was received, when, by which staff member and the destination. If you have any issues with the internal mail - quote the receipt number and ask that they investigate the matter.

 

In respect of NI contributions, they are only used to determine whether he is entitled to contribution based ESA. If he hasn't paid sufficient NI contributions in the qualifying years, they will then assess him for income related ESA which is based upon his income/capital.


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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Hello again, just wanted to update you on my friends claim. Today we received a call and his ESA has been granted and backdated, this is indeed a result and will enable to sort out his bankruptcy etc and we can now proceed with the claim for housing benefit.

 

The bankruptcy hearing is tomorrow and although we have the relevant form (EX160) for getting the bankruptcy costs reduced to a minimum. The only thing is that we have no proof of his ESA claim being accepted because it came via the phone. Does anyone know what the court will require in the way of proof of ESA?

 

Once again I would like to thank those that gave me the guidance on here, was totally in the dark to begin with but with your help my friend (and me)and my wife) can finally see that there is a light out there, it may still be distant but it is definitely a light.

 

I will be making a donation towards keeping this place going, it must be invaluable to so many.

 

Thank you :clap2::clap2::clap2:

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You and your wife sound such helpful friends :-).

 

I'm going through the 'fun' of claiming ESA at the moment and the thought of having people such as you two by my side would be wonderful (though reading this amazing forum is almost as supportive).

 

Hope the court case isn't too horrendous tomorrow.

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Thanks Tina, kind words.

I'm sure you will get all the help and support you need from here, the people are so kind.

 

I don't know if I can help you at all but feel free to ask via the thread or a pm if you prefer, as you can see I was totally green when I arrived here but I have managed to cut through a bit of red tape here and there by being persistantly pushy, in a diplomatic way of course.

 

To be honest it has probably been easier for me once I got them to speak with me on his behalf, I was able to give them a clearer picture of his circumstances etc than he could have done, I suppose I was able to fight his corner when all he needed was peace and quiet, he had taken an emotional beating over the loss of his business, his home, his standing, his pride etc etc, no way was he eqipped to deal with people who seem to operate on the basis that everyone is on the fiddle until they can prove otherwise.

 

I wish you the best of luck Tina, just ask if you think there is anything I may know to help you.

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Hello again nw. I'm pleased it's going in the right direction. Good luck with the hearing and post again if you need anything. Thank you for the donation as well, that's kind of you.

 

My best, HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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