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Thread: opt out of IR ESA?

  1. #1

    opt out of IR ESA?

    hi everyone - haven't been on here in a while! So I'm a bit confuddled about Income Related ESA when you're on Cont ESA. I'm on Cont ESA but I was sent that form that loads of us were sent to see if I was entitled to an IR back payment? It said to complete it if you had less than £16k so I did so. I had a small back payment but was surprised to find they had then kept on assessing me for IR ESA without me asking them.
    I got an IR top up of £1 something a week due to my savings. Today I got the uprating letter saying that I was entitled to IR amount of £131 minus £18 (for savings) but as that was £113 a week and I qualified for Cont ESA I'd get £114. I thought that meant I was now back on just Cont ESA as IR was less than Cont amount - but I rang them up and they said no - I was still assessed under IR ESA? I'm baffled! Does that mean I don't get any extra monetary benefit from it but would qualify for dental and optician etc? Thing is - I never wanted to get IR assessed! They didn't make it known in that back payment letter that it would be ongoing- life was simpler when I just had Cont ESA - I don't like having to find statements, get them copied and send them in - I just want to be Cont Based ESA as I had been for years! Can I ask that they stop assessing me for IR ESA - I never actually asked for it and my Cont ESA is more than IR anyway? I find it a bit confusing - chap on the phone wouldn't really explain things to me. Anyone help?
    Last edited by Cathycat; 15-03-21 at 19:46.

  2. #2
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    It's not something that you have a choice over, and it's not something the DWP have a choice over either, if you made a claim for 'Old Style' ESA then by law you applied for both CB and IR ESA.
    In your case that was when you transferred from IB. (But it took them a long time to add the IR because of a cock up).

    By law the DWP can't do one without the other - that's why they had to make all those backpayments.

    You would get extra money (you'd get £131) if it wasn't for your savings.
    That's all the very confusing letter is telling you.

    You are simply in the situation where your savings amount to just enough to almost exactly cancel the extra money.
    If your savings go down then you will see an extra pound or two in the ESA. (But if they go up nothing will change).

    And it's only because of those savings that they want to see statements, to make sure that they are paying you correctly.

    And yes, you are still entitled to IR ESA even though it's not being paid, which means that you are entitled to free healthcare including prescriptions, eye tests, and dentristy.
    I'd ask the DWP for a form ESA124 "How your ESA payment was worked out" which clearly shows that you are entitled to IR ESA if you have any problems claiming free prescriptions, etc.
    Last edited by nukecad; 16-03-21 at 17:13.
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  3. #3

    thanks!

    I knew if anyone could answer my question you could Nukecad! You explained it very well - why couldn't the chap do the same yesterday!! All he was interested in was me sending in statements "RIGHT AWAY" as I'd gone into the next £250 bracket with my savings since last week by £57!!! Even though it wouldn't affect the amount I'm actually receiving. He could tell I didn't understand how the whole process with Cont ESA and IR ESA worked but he wasn't interested - just wanted those statements immediately! I won't even need to send for that booklet Nukecad as you explained things so clearly - I'd assumed if I wasn't getting any actual top-up now that I was no longer entitled to any free optical, dental etc- so you've explained that I will - thank you for that - I hope your explanation helps anyone else confused by such a letter too

  4. #4
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cathycat View Post
    You explained it very well - why couldn't the chap do the same yesterday!!
    LOL. That's probably because I'm self taught answering questions here and don't have any crap DWP training.

    Plus to be fair I have more time to answer, and people have more time to read my answers.

    TBH many DWP phone jockeys have never been trained in anything more than the basics and don't know how it works themselves.

    The head of the DWP has admitted in the past that he can't make any sense of those anual uprating letters, so I'm one up on even him there. (Most of the time, some of them are so baffling as to defy any explanation other than errors).
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  5. #5
    yes they're very confusing! But you explained it well - thank you

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by nukecad View Post
    It's not something that you have a choice over, and it's not something the DWP have a choice over either, if you made a claim for 'Old Style' ESA then by law you applied for both CB and IR ESA.
    In your case that was when you transferred from IB. (But it took them a long time to add the IR because of a cock up).

    By law the DWP can't do one without the other - that's why they had to make all those backpayments.

    You would get extra money (you'd get £131) if it wasn't for your savings.
    That's all the very confusing letter is telling you.

    You are simply in the situation where your savings amount to just enough to almost exactly cancel the extra money.
    If your savings go down then you will see an extra pound or two in the ESA. (But if they go up nothing will change).

    And it's only because of those savings that they want to see statements, to make sure that they are paying you correctly.

    And yes, you are still entitled to IR ESA even though it's not being paid, which means that you are entitled to free healthcare including prescriptions, eye tests, and dentristy.
    I'd ask the DWP for a form ESA124 "How your ESA payment was worked out" which clearly shows that you are entitled to IR ESA if you have any problems claiming free prescriptions, etc.
    I am confused by the free dentistry part. The NHS website says:

    You're entitled to free NHS dental treatment if you or your spouse (including civil partner) receive:

    Income Support
    Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
    Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
    Pension Credit Guarantee Credit
    Universal Credit (in certain circumstances)

    Emphasis on “receive” is mine.

  7. #7
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    Quite right.

    But that "receive" doesn't mean what you, and many others, may think - and it also confuses some pharmacists, and many more dentists and opticians.

    The legislation states that to qualify for free healthcare costs you must be '"in receipt of certain state benefits".

    But - and this is the important bit - being "in receipt" of a benefit is not the same as "recieving a payment for" that benefit.

    It's that difference where people get mixed up.

    You can be 'in reciept of a benefit', but not being paid any money for recieving that benefit because the money is then taken away by something else.

    eg. You can be entitled to and 'recieving' IR ESA but not being paid any IR ESA because of deductions for a working partner, other income, or savings over £6,000 but below £16,000.

    If you get an ESA124 'How your ESA has been worked out' it will clearly show that you are 'receiving' IR ESA, and the payment amount for IR ESA is included in the calculation.

    The ESA124 tells you:
    How this letter is set out

    Part 1 shows how we worKed out your Employment and Support Allowance.
    Column A shows contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance.
    Column B shows income-related Employment and Support Allowance.
    If you are 'receiving' IR ESA then there will be amounts in column 'B', (even though an equivalent amount may taken off again later).
    If you are not 'receiving' IR ESA then there will be nothing at all in column 'B'.


    If you show the pharmacist, dentist, optician the ESA124 they can then clearly see in column 'B' that there is IR ESA and an amount of money allocated for recieving IR ESA, (even though an equivalent amount may taken off again later).

    So if you are entitled to an IR benefit but not actualy getting any money for it then you may need an ESA124 to show the pahrmacist/dentist/optician that you are indeed entitled to free health costs.
    You simply ask the DWP to send you an ESA124.
    (You could also apply for a form HC2 from the NHS, they will check with the DWP before issuing one. However they are loath to issue an HC2 if you already qualify by having IR ESA so it's a bit of a catch-22 getting them to issue one in these circumstances and the ESA124 from the DWP is usually the best way to go).

    There is an example of the ESA124 here:
    Example ESA124

    (PS. All the above is why I, and others talking about it, use 'entitled to a benefit' instead - it's easier for most people to understand when it's put like that).
    Last edited by nukecad; 24-03-21 at 18:43.
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  8. #8
    Ah, thank you. They are sneaky aren’t they?

  9. #9
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    It's all to do with the way legislation is worded.

    Words when used in legislation can have a different, more specific, meaning from their general usage.

    You have to read legislation carefully and in a particular way; it can seem odd if you are not used to it but often what legislation doesn't say can be more important that what it does say.

    In this particular case the legislation doesn't say anything about receipt of benefit payments so there is no requirement for payments to be received.

    Of course the DWP (and in this case the NHS) play on that in their leaflets and hope that the general public will not understand the difference.
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

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