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Benefit Advice please!


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This might be quite long winded but I might as well start from the beginning.

In 2002 I was diagnosed as being Epileptic and claimed long term incapacity benefit for many years until DWP notified me that my benefit would move from ICB to ESA, from recollection this was early 2012. I only provided 2 sick notes the entire 10 year period I was claiming ICB as they noted on my file that I was entitled for an "indefinite period".

Eventually I went for a medical so that I could be put onto ESA but for some unknown reason I failed the medical and was told I did not qualify, even though I was in receipt of ICB for nearly 10 years. I appealed the decision, but DWP stood there ground and I was eventually told that I needed to move to Income support as I was receiving an underlying entitlement of careers allowance as I have a disabled son that I was caring for. I ended up getting income support and careers allowance along with my DLA, until my relationship broke down in early 2013.

In February 2013 I left the family home, and stopped caring for my son, the careers allowance transferred to my ex partner, this meant that I was no longer entitled to income support. After taking some advice from DWP I made an application for jobseekers allowance later the same month and have been receiving that ever since, along with my monthly DLA.

Over the past few weeks my Epilepsy has been getting worse, I went to see my GP this morning and he asked about my benefit, he was still under the impression I was getting ESA as his medical report in 2012 stated "in his belief I should be transferred to ESA". He was a bit shocked to learn I was no longer on it and had been getting JSA since February 2013. Anyway he has recommended that I make another ESA application today and he provided me with a medical certificate valid for 6 weeks from today 07/01/2014.

When I returned home from the doctors this morning I telephoned ESA to make an application and was told that I needed to contact JSA to get my claim closed down before I could proceed with my ESA application.

I telephoned my usual advisor at my local jobcentre as I have her direct line number and talked to her about closing my claim. She has said to me not to close my claim until I next sign on because if I close it today I will have to wait a long time for my final payment.

I am due to sign on, 09/01/2014. We had a lengthy telephone conversation in which she stated she shouldn't really be telling me to sign as normal on Thursday but she wouldn't want me being without any money for a long period of time and that she started her job 25 years ago to help people and the at the moment she feels as though the process is just making things as difficult as possible. I think she was basically doing me a favor and I have agreed to go along with what she said so that I get my usual 2 week JSA payment on the 14/01/2014.

The only thing that worries me now is the fact that my medical certificate is dated today and if I wait until the 14th to make an ESA claim are they not going to wonder why I didn't make it as soon as I knew I wasn't capable of work?? I don't really want to get my JSA advisor in any trouble as she was just trying to make sure I didn't go without money.

Can anyone offer me any advice on what they think I should do, go along with her advice, sign on as normal, wait for my payment, then sign off and apply for ESA. Or should I do as my documentation states and notify them straight away and stand the chance of not receiving any benefit for quite a few weeks?? HELP!!!

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I would sign on as normal and at the same time, fill in your ES40 ("signing on card" - that you give to them when you sign), which has a section which states you wish to close your JSA claim. You don't even need to wait until you receive payment, as it will be triggered by the JSAPS computer system automatically when the signing on adviser updates your claim. The day after that, call to make a new ESA claim.


Your adviser was indeed doing you a favour. It's not uncommon to find JCP staffers who are appalled by the way the system works these days and will do what they can within limitations they work under to ensure that people don't go hungry. She won't get into trouble - the people who process claims won't know what she said to you and, frankly, don't have time to care anyway.


I used to be an ESA processor and this situation is common.




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

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Thank you for your advice, I was a little worried that ESA would be suspicious that I hadn't made a claim the day I got my medical certificate from the GP? I I certainly don't want to get her in any trouble as she was only trying to do the best for me to make sure I didn't go without money, I think its appalling that even my advisor thinks the system if unfair ..

To this day I can still not work out why my transfer from ICB to ESA didn't go through, after speaking to my GP today he confirmed that he wrote a medical report stating that in his opinion I was unfit for work so I can only assume it was down to the DWP medical team? Anyway that's in the past now I just want to try and do the right thing and not get in trouble for not notifying them as soon as I knew I was unfit for work.

Do you have any idea how long a ESA claim takes to process? im just trying to work out how long I am going to have to make my 2 week JSA payment last. I get a severe disability premium and also an enhanced disability premium on my JSA so my weekly rate is around £153, will I still be entitled to these premiums on ESA or will I drop back down to a basic rate? I still get low rate mobility and middle rate care, DLA ..

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