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Help claiming for ESA

(24 Posts)
antoniwings Sun 20-Oct-13 16:30:12

I'm a single parent of a child on DLA (hrc) and I get Carer's Allowance and income support. I'm in a similar position in that I also have MH needs which should mean I'm entitled to ESA, but I've never applied as IS is so much easier to claim (once you've got over the very difficult hurdle of successfully claiming DLA). The amount you get paid is pretty much the same, but IS is easier because ESA is reassessed so regularly, but with IS you just have to go to a work-focused interview twice a year, and even then I'm never put under pressure to seek work.

I get DLA for DS, Carer's Allowance, IS with a carer premium, child tax credits (which is 3x higher than the amount I used to get before I got DLA for DS), Housing benefit and council tax support. If you're successful with your claim, you can also apply for various other forms of help, e.g. charities like Family Fund and certain other charities which will help with the cost of therapies/leisure activities/holidays/household goods. None of that is guaranteed but your application would have a high priority if your only income is benefits.

So I would say that you need to put your main focus on getting the DLA at MRC or HRC. There's not much you can do to influence the application now it's already been sent off, but just be aware that many very disabled children get turned down initially and it's common to have to ask for a reconsideration or appeal. The medical evidence is very important, but what is also important is how the form is filled in (describing the needs in a particular way, calculating the time needed for activities accurately). So if you filled in the form without professional advice and get turned down, it's definitely worth appealing, with support from a specialist advice worker. Also, you can appeal if they do award DLA, but at a lower rate than you think she needs (if your dd needs supervision at night to prevent self harm then she may be entitled to HRC).

TheOriginalNutcracker Sat 19-Oct-13 13:15:14

And yep it is me Ooodoyouthinkyouare smile

TheOriginalNutcracker Sat 19-Oct-13 13:14:33

Thank's, all of this info is really useful, cos I have no idea what I am supposed to be doing.

I have sent in the reports made during each hospital admission and given details for all of her camhs workers, plus gp. She has also been referred to a dietitian but we've not seen them yet.

I am a single parent, and I do rent, so at least I will get all of that paid, which is a relief.

Ooddoyouthinkyouare Sat 19-Oct-13 11:13:15

Nutcracker ( think I'm right in thinking you've been here for years & we used to talk on LP threads but I've name changed since) am so sorry to hear you've all this going on as I remember you working so hard to get that job in the first place.

make sure you get support for any claims from as many professionals as possible particularly around care/supervision and exactly what support she needs ( as in it can't just be any random adult so you can work).

debtcamel Sat 19-Oct-13 10:45:25

"Dd is 13 btw and has depression, anxiety, an eating disorder and self harms. She is supposed to be supervised 24/7"

oh hugs (((Nutcracker))) that's a hard road you are looking at.

So you need your finances to be as simple as possible. I am going to assume you are a single parent - if you aren't much of this changes - and that you don't have a lot of savings.

Your best route is for DD to get DLA and for you to claim Carers Allowance and Income Support. ESA isn't a good option as it just looks at whether you are well enough to work (and often gets that wrong for people with mental health conditions) not at the trouble you have fitting work around family responsibilities. Ditto JSA.

If your daughter's DLA is refused or she is only awarded lower rate care, you need professional help to appeal the decision - go to your local CAB if you aren't being helped by any professionals (social worker, health worker, charity specialising in eating disorders etc) already.

If you are renting, you will be able to get Housing Benefit immediately - it isn't dependent on getting any other benefits, just having a low (or no!) income. If you are buying you will be able to get help with your mortgage interest after 13 weeks of being on Income Support.

You should be claiming *Council Tax Support" immediately - if you are applying for housing benefit, this is done as part of the same claim, but if you are buying not renting then you can claim CTS now, usually through your council's website.

If you haven't informed HMRC that you have stopped work, then you should do so - at some point your child tax credits will probably increase.

I don't know how much you were earning when you were working, but if you were paying income tax, at some point (probably after next April) you will probably be due a tax refund - it won't help you now but make a note to chase it up next year.

If you have any non-priority debts (credit cards, unsecured loans, catalogues etc) then you are going to find these difficult to manage when living on benefits. But these aren't important to sort out now, first you need to be getting all the benefit income you are entitled to, only after that can you really see your full financial position and think about a long term plan. For now, you should probably opt for a short term measure, paying only a token amount to your creditors (or nothing!), see DMP. If you have priority debts, ask CAB for help with them.

bimbabirba Sat 19-Oct-13 10:33:23

Also speeds up the application process. They're usually quick to
Process applications once they have the medical evidence, so either send it in asap or chase up your daughter's GP or other HCP

bimbabirba Sat 19-Oct-13 10:32:00

Have you sent in supporting medical evidence? Makes is much easier to get an award (even though they say it's not essential) rather than them writing to your daughter's GP or cousellor

TheOriginalNutcracker Sat 19-Oct-13 10:28:31

I have applied for DLA but not heard back yet

bimbabirba Sat 19-Oct-13 10:26:21

Please go and see a benefits advise and get them to fill in a DLA application for your daughter.
The right benefits to claim for someone in your situation are DLA for your daughter - and she should get at least MR care from what you say - and Income Support + Carers Allowance for you. Whether you'll get them or not I'd another matter but there's no point in applying for the benefit that doesn't "fit" your situation as well just because it's easier to get.
So no claim for JSA. ESA yes if you're genuinely unable to work and pending your daughters DLA application

ParsingFright Sat 19-Oct-13 10:18:54

Good luck with all of this, Nutcracker. thanks

TheOriginalNutcracker Sat 19-Oct-13 10:12:20

If I don't get signed off sick then I will have to go on JSA. It's totally pointless though as I am a) in no frame of mind for work, and b) have to have too much time off for dd.

Dd is 13 btw and has depression, anxiety, an eating disorder and self harms. She is supposed to be supervised 24/7.

Tableforfour Sat 19-Oct-13 08:17:48

Indeed and I don't want to derail the thread, I was just trying to make the point that the OP having decided she isn't going back to work doesn't necessarily mean she will get signed off sick, though that is obviously a decision for her GP not a bunch of strangers online!

ParsingFright Fri 18-Oct-13 22:01:51

Mm, I think the paper the DWP commissioned to try to show that work was good for mental health actually just stated that appropriate work could be good mental health. Not merely work as such.

But that's a whole topic.

Tableforfour Fri 18-Oct-13 21:36:49

Your GP would need to sign you as unfit for work, but in many cases of depression the more appropriate certificate is "may be fit for work" which can suggest less hours etc. If you have one of these you still claim JSA I think, but do check with the job centre. Only the severest of depression tends to get completely signed off work as generally work is good for mental health.

debtcamel Fri 18-Oct-13 16:59:00

How old is your daughter and what is wrong with her?

If she is under 18and she is tempoararily ill, you should be able to claim Income Support.

If she is of any age and she is awarded DLA middle of higher rate care, then you will be able to claim Carers Allowance. If you don't work at all, then you may be able to claim Income Support - this is measn tested and you won't be able to get it if you have a partner who is working or have above certain levels of capital. IS will be reduced £ for £ by your Carers Allowance but Income Support is higher.

It is likely to be much easier for you to get Income Support if your daughter gets DLA than it is for you to get ESA. Getting ESA for conditions such as stress and depression has been made very hard - this isn't to say it's impossible or you shouldn't try, but you need to know that there may be easier options for you.

If you are renting and you dont have a partner in work you should be able to get Housing Benefit - this is not dependent on getting ESA, IS or your daughter getting DLA and you should apply for it immediately - usually through your local council's website.

Ditto Council Tax Support, which you will be able to get even if you are buying rather than renting.

If you post more about your daughter and your family situation, it will be easier to say which of these benefits you are most likely to get.

If you have any consumer debts (credit cards, loans, catalogues etc) you should probably be paying NOTHING to them until your benefits situation is resolved and your full financial position is clear.

edlyu Fri 18-Oct-13 16:57:33

You will be awarded esa provided your GP will give you a med cert .

You must complete your part which is on the back.Many people fail to do this so the cert arrives in the sorting office with no information to indicate whose med cert it is. These are all discarded and it is equally impossible to notify the claimants of the error. This is one of the causes of a lot of the stories about failure to pay ESA on time.

You will be awarded the assessment rate of £56.80 (under 25) or £71.70 (over 25) per week for the first 13 weeks (paid fortnightly). This is the assessment phase. It takes up to 14 working days from when you start the claim . It is paid from the date on the med cert.

As the claim progresses some of what ParsingFright has said may well come true but for the moment you just need to get the claim started. You should still contact CAB for longer term advise.

See HERE for the benefits adviser to check if this is indeed the right benefit for you

darkdays Fri 18-Oct-13 15:38:56

If your daughter is awarded middle rate care component of DLA, you will be able to claim carers allowance, which is about £56 a week.

ParsingFright Fri 18-Oct-13 15:16:57

Sorry, don't how long it takes at the moment. There may be temporary ESA while you're waiting for assessment.

Also, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I wouldn't bet on getting ESA.

Recent changes have opened a specific hole in the safety net - for people designated too ill to work/get JSA, but too well to get ESA. It's possible you'll fall through it.

I really would get yourself to the CAB or similar if you possibly can, and make sure you're getting everything you're entitled to, and know what to expect.

There are also things like you not being informed a claim has been turned down until several weeks afterwards - but meanwhile the Housing Benefit people have been informed. So the first you know about is when your card is refused because both interim ESA and HB have been stopped.

I know you don't need this stress right now, but forewarned is forearmed.

TheOriginalNutcracker Fri 18-Oct-13 14:06:53

Thanks all, will take a look at that website.

Any idea how long before they start paying ?? I am seriously broke.

edlyu Fri 18-Oct-13 13:48:53

Yes you will need a fit note from your Gp just as if you were still at work.

You can have it and the claim backdated to when you finished your job.

A first claim is usually quite straightforward and the main evidence required for this claim is the fit note.

Once you have made your claim you will have the ESA50 sent to you. This should be within 2/3 weeks and if it has not arrived by then you should either ring for a replacement or download one from

ParsingFright Fri 18-Oct-13 13:41:58

There's an excellent (subscription) website called which has guides to negotiate the hideous forms bit by bit - and also tells you what the questions are actually asking, which is often not what they say.

(I've been known to get all the way to end of forms without mentioning I use a wheelchair - because it's all tick boxes answers and they didn't ask the right questions. Advice from B&W is always use the text boxes for additional information, and don't be afraid to repeat the same info for each answer where relevant.)

Ideally find a disability advocacy charity in your area (but they're closing with the cuts) or a CAB advisor who knows what they're doing, to help decode the form and phrase your answers to fit the DWP's brainless buzzword bingo.

Good luck.

TheOriginalNutcracker Fri 18-Oct-13 13:39:33

Oh, the stuff I read seemed to suggest that my gp still needs to declare me unfit for work, else i'd have to go on jsa ??

bimbabirba Fri 18-Oct-13 13:27:49

The medical note is the "sick note" from your GP but if you've already left your job that doesn't apply. That's no to say that you shouldn't see your GP asap: you may need him to back you up if the DWP don't accept that you're unfit for work so please make an appointment with your GP to explain your situation.
You will be asked to fill in a questionnaire eSA50 and attend the notorious interview at ATOS.

TheOriginalNutcracker Fri 18-Oct-13 12:50:36

I have just left my job due to stress and depression, which is due to an ongoing illness of my daughters.

There is no point in me applying for jsa, as I am not fit for work, and also would constantly need time off for dd. I have applied for dla for her, but waiting to hear.

So, can I apply for ESA, and if so, what is the medical note that it says I need ??

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