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Disability Eligiblity in Working Tax Credits

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Hi there,

 

I'm writing hoping somebody here can help advise me on my current situation.

 

Up until July 2016 I was claiming working tax credit and qualified for the disability element, having only to work over 16 hours a week. This is because I transferred onto working tax credits from ESA.

 

I had had a long period of worklessness due to poor health following extensive cancer treatments.

 

I have had radiotherapy, chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant, and the toxicity of the drugs have left me with permanent chronic conditions.

 

My lung capacity is now below 50% as I have pulmonary fibrosis.

My hormones and immune systems have been compromised,

I have testosterone injections every 10 weeks and take thyroid medication and due to my lung disease am prone to respiratory infections.

 

It's believed I might have suffered some damage to my heart as well, as it's highly elavated, over 100 bpm average, which they think might be due to radiotherapy in that area, and because my lung capacity is so slow.

 

It was recognised that I have a reduced functional capactiy, i,e, I am able to work part time but unable to work an 8 hour day or 5 day week on a permanent basis without risk of negatively affecting me health.

 

However in July this year I moved in with my girlfriend, who with an annual salary of around £34,000 took us well over the threshold for tax credit eligibility. As we were now living as a couple I contact tax credits to tell them, and signed off.

 

However at the beginning of December my girlfriend and I split up. I have moved back to my own town of Torquay to be close to my work. I have just moved in to a new property on 21st December.

 

However I have been told my tax credits that I will not be eligible for the disability element any more as I am not in receipt of ESA, PIP or DLA.

 

I explained to them that I was previously on tax credits with the disability element, and that I came via ESA but they said it had to be current and my previous claim is irrelevant.

 

They told me I need to get ESA or PIP to requalify.

I now don't know what to do.

 

My work have been brilliant and have given me extra hours so I can work 30 hours and qualify for tax credits under the 30 hour rule.

 

However my contract is for only 18.75 hours and these extra hours are for six months only, at which point the service in which I work is closing and we are being put into redeployment, when I will go back to 18.75 hours again.

 

Obviously knowing I am entitled to the disability element I want to make sure that I get it back again so I am ready for the hours drop in August 2017

 

. I am also concerned about the long term effects these extra hours might have on me in terms of tiredness, malaise and reduced immunity.

 

Does anyone know how I go about appealing this?

Tax credits said I cannot claim for it without being on ESA or PIP.

 

I cannot apply for ESA as I have a job and have no intention of giving it up.

I don't see how I can apply for PIP as I do not have any mobility problems, but rather a reduced functional capactity.

 

I have the support of both my doctor and the consultant hemotologist at the hospital who treated me and have previously won a tribunal when they stopped my benefits whilst transferring me from income support to ESA

 

. I don't have any real concerns about winning another tribunal as all my conditions are provable, permanent and degenerative I just don't know what I will need to apply for and appeal against?

 

My current thinking is to apply for tax credits as a healthy person doing 30 hours for now as I need to get the money coming in, then apply for PIP and appeal that rejection as far as a tribunal.

 

But if someone else has any experience of this it would be very helpful.

 

My last appeals process took a year and I don't want to have to go through all that again!

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I'm afraid you just don't qualify so there is nothing to appeal.

 

You previously qualified due to Condition A - At any time in the last 26 weeks before you claim working tax credit, you were getting incapacity benefit, severe disablement allowance (SDA), employment and support allowance (ESA) or national insurance credits due to your limited capability for work. In the case of ESA and limited capability for work credits, you must have been entitled to it for at least 28 weeks – including linked periods and periods on statutory sick pay (SSP).

 

You have been off tax credits for too long for it to be considered as continuous entitlement. You would have to look at the other conditions to see if you qualify through one of those, but from what you have said so far it seems unlikely. If you might qualify for PIP, applying for that would be your best bet.

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I found this in the 'Disability Helpsheet' https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/534178/TC956_04_16_1.0.pdf

 

You qualify if you’ve been entitled to the disability element of Working Tax Credit

in the 56 days before your claim for the disability element by satisfying the qualifying conditions under one of the sickness or disability-related benefits listed on pages 4 to 7, or by getting Disabled Person’s Tax Credit, at some earlier time*.

* The period ‘some earlier time’ can allow continuing entitlement to the disability element long after the qualifying sickness or disability-related benefit stopped being paid.

 

I would interpret that as meaning that as you qualified before, you can still qualify on the same basis. I would write to tax credits quoting this and see what they come back with - it may be something that the majority of advisors have never come across before.

 

In the meantime you should apply on the basis of working 30 hours and also have a look at whether you might qualify for the care component of PIP (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/personal-independence-payment-fact-sheets) - you do not have to be getting help from someone else so long as you would score at least 8 points.


RMW

"If you want my parking space, please take my disability" Common car park sign in France.

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I would advise you re-apply for an appropriate disability benefit. The reality of cases going through HMRC would not support any entitlement to your previous qualifying criteria still counting. Even in the magistrates courts, they rubber stamp so many of the cases in HMRC's favour. It isn't unusual it seems for no-one from HMRC to turn up at appeals. They have a lot of faith in magistrates in my experience.

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Thanks for the feedback guys. I've spoken with a benefits support advisor who helps people with appeals and he has advised me to apply for PIP. I didn't think I'd qualify for it as I don't regard myself as disabled but he is confident that I do have a strong case. I have attended a tribunal in the past, transferring from income support to ESA and the judges were very sympathetic and understanding to me. They had actually already awarded in my favour before I turned up for the case although I didn't know and still attended. I'm confident that if I took it as far as a tribunal again I would win, but I fully expect to have my initial application and reconsiderations rejected, such is the nature of these things!

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