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ESA worries

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I would like some advice on ESA. I have been in the support group for two years and my medical issue is highly unlikely to ever go away. However, I would really like to get back to work despite this problem. My background is in teaching and a position has come up which I think I might like to go for. But the job doesn't start until September 2013 and if offered the job I would have to sign the contract immediately.

 

My problem is what to do with the ESA. It would be another ten months before I started working and even then I would still have my medical problem. So, if offered the job, do I inform ESA? I cannot afford for them to stop my payments for the next 10 months as I would have no income but I also don't want to commit benefit fraud.

 

Therefore, if they stopped my ESA, I cannot apply for this job as I could not afford to live. Does anybody know how signing up to work in ten months time would affect my benefit now? Please can you give me the legal view rather than a personal view of I would not tell them?

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Interesting one! Would like to follow this but don't know the legal answer. I know that you are entitled to look for work while in the 'Support Group' but not forced to do so. DWP have recognised that you have some form of disability, which affects your ability to work, and people with disabilities are not prevented from engaging in suitable employment if able to do so. I would have thought that signing a contract to take up a future post would not prevent you from continuing to claim as you only sign off ESA from the day before 'work' actually begins. I know as I have just done this but am in the 'WRAG'. I have known for a few weeks that I was probably going to start - so have the JobCentre actually, but no one has suggested that I should not still receive ESA while waiting to start!

 

September is along way off and there is no guarantee that you WILL actually be fully fit to start then (hopefully you will!)

 

I would suggest you have a 'theoretical' conversation with one of the ESA work advisor at the JobCentre and but be careful. Remember DWP can send you for a 'reassessment' at any time if they think your condition has improved. Have they given you a time limit for being in the 'Support Group' - I know that my husband has been given a year and told that he will not be re-assessed until then


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My condition is not likely to ever improve - I have suffered from it for fifteen years and unless they come up with a miraculous new treatment plan then it is unlikely to get better. I have been sent the form to fill in approximately every six months - I am happy to be re-assessed (well not happy - it triggers anxiety) but I have lots of paperwork documenting all my problems. But I want to be able to work to build a better future for my family but not at the expense of plunging us into debt.

 

I would have a theoretical conversation but I need the advice to be right and as it is a complex question, I'm not sure I want to rely on the advice of a random work advisor especially when it is something as serious as potential, if accidental, benefit fraud. The thing that concerns me is that I would sign a binding, legal contract to start in ten months time.

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Good for you! You have raised a difficult question - I think that DWP will probably have difficulty answering it! I hope that someone does have a better answer as I appreciate that you do want to do what is right ! I suspect that you would only commit fraud if you started work and did not declare it or your condition improved radically and you did not let them know. They have accepted you as meeting the criteria for ESA and the support group.

Edited by coledog

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Good for you! I would personally not say anything for now. As has been said, you don't know how you'll be come September.

 

There is the permitted work scheme you could try before stopping ESA and going to work full time.

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There is nothing in the legislation that says that signing a contract for work in 10 months time would affect your benefit or is even notifiable until you actually are about to start work - unless of course you scored points for not being able to use a pen. There is no need to tell them anything yet - there is nothing to tell. Just inform them before you actually start working.


We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office ~ Aesop

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