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Hi folks,I'm hoping to get myself more clued up with what benefits are out there. At present the only ones I'm aware of are ESA and DLA.

I'm really feeling the pinch at the moment and with christmas on the horizon, it's really getting to me. When I left the hospital in July 09, my sister very kindly dealt with all the financial stuff for both my hubby and I. I was awarded ESA for a short period which they then raised for some reason ( unknown to me at present) to approx £90 per week. Some weeks later I successfully applied for DLA, which they said I would have till Dec 2010.

Unfortunately when I attended the ESA medical assesment in April this year, It was decided I no longer qualified for this benefit. I immediately appealed against this decision (still awaiting the outcome of that)and they reinstated the lower rate £65 pending a new decision. I recently received a form to re apply for the DLA, as it was due to end in December. Thinking, the sooner I reapply the less hassle there will be in the changeover dates, I asked the Welfare Rights to fill it for me, which they dutifully did. I then had a letter in return informing me that, not only would I not be getting it next year, but they had changed their last decision and it was stopped immediately. That was a month ago now and I'm really struggling financially now.

I feel totally pressurised into applying for proper full time employment but remain unconvinced that I could actually manage it on a regular basis.

Does anyone know of any other benefits I might be entitled to, and do you think it would help if I requested some form of cognitive testing. I knnow I have some cognitive faults but find them so hard to explain to these medical people. I'm always left feeling like I'm begging for things and I really hate that.

Sorry this is so long and drawn out.

Sally x

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Sally I could have written your post myself as this is exactly how I feel. I haven't applied for DLA though as I am sure I won't get it being abl to go out on my own & now having my licence back. I do feel tht the ESA form is a minefield for us as it's deisgned towards physcial diability. I still haven't had my neuro phsych appointment so I do worry about applying ofr a job I have no idea that I can actually perform. I am sure I have some cognitive problems like you have no idea what they Are or how bad they might be.

I look forward to seeing the replies you get as I am sure they will help me too. sorry I can't offer any advice in this respect as I as confused as you.

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Hi Sally,

I used to work for the DWP ages back so I know a little but i worked on the JSA side. Things could have changed since then though so make sure that you get these double checked before quoting me!

If you are in receipt of DLA your partner or relative may be entitled to Invalid Carers Allowance. This is payable to anyone who is looking after someone for 16 or more hours per week. So if your partner is looking after you Even for a couple of hours a day, he/she may qualify. also, If you were in receipt of an income based benefit or DLA, you should qualify for housing and council tax benefits or just council tax benefit if you aren't a rent payer. You should qualify for these if you are on a low income as well.

If you do go back to work, go back part time to start with, you will still be entitled to financial support until you are working full time. even if you are working full time, you may still be entitled to financial support.

It really annoys me when I read on this site about how people are being disallowed support (I was refused DLA).

You should not feel like you are begging for anything. You are still unwell.

If you need any more help or advice, please feel free to PM me and i will see what I can find out for you via my old colleagues


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Ern Re: Invalid Carers Allowance is now called Carers Allowance and is only payable in respect of someone who receives the HRC component of DLA. The hours of care to be given are now 35 per week and the person doing the caring cannot earn more than £100 per week independantly.

As you say, things will have changed.

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Does anyone know of any benefits that can be claimed if you are self employed - as i am. I haven't been able to carry on with my business since June - Hubby retired end of may so we only have his pension coming in now. Like you Gill, I have my licence but can not manage to work yet.

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Hi Sally

I really sympathise with how being on benefits make you feel. It’s demoralising and scraping by every week can take its toll on your wellbeing.

It’s not fair that you feel pushed into considering returning to work. If you do not feel fit for work, it is only fair that you explore the out of work benefits which are available.

To answer your question specifically, a full picture would be needed of your personal circumstances. Details would be needed regarding your savings, husband’s earnings, husband’s hours of work, benefit details, details of your council tax, details of your rent/mortgage and whether your home is rented/owned etc. As you can see, it is not possible for someone to offer you specific advice on a forum like this. Too much information is needed.

As a generic overview, people unable to work can claim ESA, but you may be able to get other benefits too depending on your circumstances. (I accept you have received a negative outcome concerning your DLA, but the CAB help people in this situation daily. Maybe the decision can be challenged?)

With DLA, you have to have care needs or mobility needs for at least three months. You have care needs if you need help with things like eating, washing and getting dressed etc, or you may need help on a day to day basis. You can be considered as having mobility need if you are blind or partially sighted.

DLA (care) is payable to anyone who struggles with personal care or needs someone to keep an eye on them. Normally, the illness needs to have lasted three months and be expected to last another six months.

Statistically, people who request their DLA forms to be completed by specialists have a higher success rate than those who do not. I appreciate that you have attended upon Welfare Rights, but do they know your DLA has been stopped? Is it possible to challenge the decision and re-attend upon Welfare Rights?

It’s a good idea to get advice from a specialist before taking any steps with this. There are time limits which are strict, normally one calendar month. You can ask the DWP to provide written reasons of their decision, this actually gives you an extra 14 days to ask that they reconsider their decision. But to be honest Sally, this area is complicated and I would refer it to the CAB or Welfare Rights.

You and your husband may be able to claim Working Tax Credit. This is paid to anyone who is working 16 hours or more per week and is on a low income. Child Tax Credit is paid to anyone responsible for at least one child. You will need to make an application with your husband, because you live as a couple. Your combined income has to be within a certain level. The way this credit is calculated is complicated. If you are responsible for one child and you have an income of less than £50,000, you should get some tax credit. It’s claimed from the Inland Revenue and HMRC have an online calculator which you can use to find out whether you qualify for tax credit.


Tax credits are claimed on the Tax Credit Helpline 0845 300 3900.

Council Tax Benefit is for someone on a low income or who lives with another on a low income. It doesn’t matter whether the person claiming is in or out of work. You claim this from your Local Authority.

If you are in rented accommodation you could consider obtaining Housing Benefit from your Local Authority.

To claim DLA you can call the Benefit Enquiry Line on 0800 88 22 00 and ask for a claim pack, but if I were you, I would refer the challenging of the DLA decision to a specialist. I’m concerned about your time limit however. Maybe it would be worthwhile contacting the DWP to explain that you are going to take legal advice and ask for an extension.

Good luck, it's a jungle out there!


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Thank you all for your replies. It's really all so confusing.

Ern, My DLA is finished now and although I have requested an appeal pack I'm not sure I should qualify for that as I don't need constant supervision any more. I do have real concentration issues and need more time learning to compensate for the blind side, both of which I think would put me at a disadvantage in many employments, and am not sure if DLA is designed for people in that situation. I wonder if it's only meant for those with mobility and safety problems.

I tried to claim the working tax credits and the council tax rebates last year and was refused both. I just dont understand how they can expect me to suddenly fall from earning £300pw to struggling by on £65. There has to be something else surely?

Johns wages are over £100pw so that's the carers thing out too.

Penny, I will get him to have a look into the pension credit thing tomorrow.

Thanks for your help. Ihave also been told that there is someone out there who can do some sort of benefits assesment on me. I will be trying to follow that up too.

Will let you all know how it goes.

Sally x

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There was a forum that was brilliant for benefit advice and it has now re-opened. One of the mods from the original is there and what he didn't know about benefits wasn't worth knowing. He is an ex welfare rights officer and ex DLA tribunal member.

So for those of you who are seeking advice it may be worth a peek and to ask questions.


I hope this is allowed and sorry if I have broken any rules.

Edited by Karen
Response - That's absolutely fine Penny!..
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Oh Sally, it sucks doesn't it!!?? I know exactly what you are feeling. You might have seen my thread saying I got an apology from Atos Healthcare. I'm still on lower component ESA pending the appeal and life is TOUGH. We got help from the debt counsellor at the Council. Apparently lots of councils have them now. Maybe that's a route you could go down? Our guy told us all the benefits and other schemes we needed to know about.

Good luck!!

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