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Help please regarding JSA/ESA/UC

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I am looking for some advice please as we are not in the know at all with claiming benefits and it is all very new to us.


My husband lost his job in March and we began a claim for new style JSA (contribution based) and Universal credit as I only work part time and we have one child.

This has all been sorted and is being paid.


However, we now have another problem.

My husband has had a history on and off of depression since we lost our son several years ago and although he has needed medication and the odd bout of being off sick, he has always worked.


On Easter Monday he had an accident and ended up having emergency surgery and has lost part of his finger.

He is having physiotherapy to help with mobility with his hand and after losing his job, the current situation with lock down and this added trauma he has slipped back into depression.


I am having difficulty just trying to get him to get out of bed and he seems completely uninterested in anything.

I managed to get the doctor to call him yesterday and have a long chat.

He has decided that he must carry on with the treatment and has prescribed anti-depressants.

He also says he is not fit for work at the moment and has provided a fit note stating this for one month and a review afterwards.


I have informed UC of this and they have updated it.

We need to send the fit note in.

However, what happens about JSA?

Do we need to contact someone about that and let them know he is not looking for work at the moment?


Also, it it worth asking to claim ESA or is he better just stopping theJSA and leaving it as just UC?

Can he fill in a claim for ESA while JSA is still active?


We are not sure how to proceed and obviously don't want to end up worse off.


Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Sorry for the long winded post but I needed to be clear what was happening.


Thank you.

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Try checking what you should be entitled to with an online benefits calculator like turn2us. It's anonymous and hopefully will help you to remember everything you can claim for.



Illegitimi non carborundum




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He can claim new style ESA instead of the new style JSA.


He needs to tell JSA that he has a Doctors  fit note, as I believe that if the fit note is for more than a certain period of time, then he cannot continue the JSA claim.  


Once the new style JSA claim has been ended, then he can make a new style ESA claim.




The new style ESA claim would basically just continue entitlement to a benefit based on National Insurance contributions.   The ESA claim would continue along side the  Universal Credit claim you have, with the ESA being deducted for on the UC claim.  In terms of a work capability assessment, these are currently not happening, but only one assessment is required to cover both the UC and ESA claims.

We could do with some help from you.



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Ok thank you both for replying, that is very helpful. As the work capability assessments are not happening does this mean there will be a delay for payment? I'm not sure how it works but I do know someone who was put into a "group" or something after the assessment and then he got paid whatever it is they pay you while you are not looking for work.

Thank you

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The work capability assessments are to assess the current capability of the claimant.   As the assessments are not taking place, then if there is no assessment at all, not even a paper based assessment using any Doctors information available, then no extra amounts can be paid, beyond the standard amount.  


When assessments take place, if they are found to have  limited capability for work ( work group*), they are not ready for work, but might be able to take part in some work related activities to help them be ready for work.  They won't receive any extra payment, beyond the standard rate, but under Universal Credit, it enables a Work Allowance to added, which means some earnings would be disregarded when calculating award.


The higher assessment level  is Limited Capability for Work and work related activity ( support group*), which is where the health of the claimant will prevent them from taking part in any work related activities. It is this higher level of assessment, where the benefits add an extra payment entitlement to the claims.


If you search for more information online about ESA and Universal Credit work capability assessments, you will find plenty of information.  With Mental Health  conditions varying from hour to hour, day to day, these can be very difficult to  assess during a one hour assessment.  DWP are currently in the process of changing the way their assessment providers handle Mental Health, but it may be helpful if your Husband has regular contact with his GP and/or any local health providers he is referred too, so if the assessment provider ever contact your Husbands Doctors, they have information on file, which may be of assistance to them.  You can imagine, that if people hardly ever had contact with Doctors, it would be very difficult for Doctors to complete any forms sent to them.


*Work group or Support group are ESA terms.

We could do with some help from you.



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Ok thank you very much for your help. Hopefully then, it may not even come to that and he may be feeling better in a few weeks. It's all been so overwhelming for us as this is all completely new and we just don't have a clue what we are doing.

I will certainly look up some information as best I can.

Thanks again.

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