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Claim ESA before 6th April

Started by Tombenefits   on 24 March 2017 at 17:47


Just a suggestion for anyone thinking of making a claim for :

  - Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or

  - Universal Credit (UC) on grounds of "limited capability for work"

If you are, it could be really important to make that claim before April 6th. Or if making a claim or change within UC  from the 6th on to consider if you can backdate it before 6th April. 

Or f you are taking a break from sicknes benefits  - perhaps trying some work beyond the limits of ESA "permitted work" to think very carefully if it seems to be still working, within that first 12 weeks of coming of ESA or UC with LCW


1.Why the rush?

Well for any completely new claims dated from the 6th April, the Government are taking away a key part of your potential benefit.

The bit that's going - for new claims - is:

  - ESA's Work Related Activity Componentand 

  - UC' Limited Capability for Work Element - 

each worth £29.05 a week.

This is the amount that is added after your Work Capability Assessment if you fall into that group. For new claims the group still applies - along with its work requirements and potential sanctions - but without the additional benefit.

The change will not affect any one already getting them on April 6th nor people  going through the Work Capability Assessment at that date. Nor will it affect claims that can be backdated to before the 6th April or "linked" back to a claim from before that date.


2. How does it affect people with cancer? 

Many people affected by cancer will go into the other ESA Support  or UC LCWRA Group, with its higher component which carries on unchanged. You might be in that group automatically if:

 - facing an advanced life-limiting cancer diagnosis; or 

  - regardless of prognosis, you are awaiting, receiving or recovering from e.g. chemo and radiotherapy.

Many may then stay within  that group before easing successfully back into work and so never meet the cuts to the other group. 

And that might be your realistic hope and plan too. But if you are over the effects of the treatments, but still having a hard time with late effects or other health issues, then you might need longer on the "sickness route". Or it may be that those heavy duty treatments don't apply for you or not for very long or you are on a "watch and wait" regime. You might be managing in work or you still be feeling too unwell. 

So whether you start off your cancer journey in the Wor Related Activity / LCW group or come into it during recovery, then you could meet this rather dramatic cut in your benefit. There will still be some ESA / UC paid, but this could well be £29.05 a week less. That might be a third of your benefit?


3. What can I do?

Make a claim before 6th April or if you are reading this after think about whether you can backdate your claim. You can go back up to 3 months. 

Whether you are affected or not it is always worth checking out other benefits that you may be missing out on. These may help make good some of that loss. But ideally those should be on top of full benefit  not plugging gaps in it. 

Please feel free to post any general concerns and queries about this change below and join this conversation

For a catch up on this and other April changes plese see the blog here 

And do feel free to message me for a private chat about how this change or any other benefit isdsues - might affect you

Best wishes,


Online Centre Benefits Advisor 

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