Login FormClose

Free, fortnightly PIP, ESA and UC Updates

Our fortnightly bulletin, with over 80,000 subscribers, is the UK's leading source of benefits news. Find out what's changing, how it affects you and how to prepare. Our mailing list is securely managed by icontact in the US.


The forum is in read only mode.
Welcome, Guest
Username: Password:
Remember me
  • Page:
  • 1

TOPIC: A request for advice regarding ESA (C) reclaim

A request for advice regarding ESA (C) reclaim 5 months 1 week ago #221231

Hello everyone,

I am facing a big issue getting clarity about making an ESA (contribution-based) "rapid reclaim" under the "linking rules", in an area of England and Wales that earlier this year became a full UC (Universal Credit) area.

Essentially, I had received contribution-based ESA, and was in the support group. I myself tried to work in a job earlier this year, and ended my ESA claim. But I could not continue in my job because of my health, and it ended in less than 12 weeks. I would be very grateful if someone can kindly confirm if I can or cannot make a rapid reclaim to my earlier contribution-based ESA award, given that my area now has the “new-style contributions" ESA to replace the older contribution-based ESA.

I had been in receipt of contribution-based ESA in the support group for several years (transitioning from contribution-based Incapacity Benefit in 2013). I was born with a severe disability and have not been able to work, barring a few weeks in 2016, and then again very recently this year, both which ended because I was unable to continue working owing to my disability. I have never been able to live independently either. I had been awarded contribution-based Incapacity Benefit in 2003 under the now discontinued "incapacity in youth provision", which allowed for Incapacity Benefit to be paid without NI (National Insurance) contributions, provided a severe incapacity could be demonstrated and the claimant was under the age of 25.

In 2016, I myself decided to try a job that I had found, and ended by ESA claim. The job did not last for more than a few weeks. I was able to return without issue to my earlier position of receiving contribution-based ESA in the support group, by making a rapid reclaim under the linking rules provision (possible if less than 12 weeks have elapsed between the end of the claim and returning to ESA).

Two years later, in September 2018, I again, on my own initiative, decided to try a job I had found, so I ended my ESA claim. As before, it ended as I was not able to continue, in under 9 weeks. This week (10 weeks from ending my claim), I sought to make a rapid reclaim, as I had done before, but I am not clear on whether this would be possible.

The area I live in became a full UC area earlier this year. I understand that I need not make a UC claim, because I only seek to obtain contribution-based ESA, and this had now become "new-style contributions ESA". However, I have received conflicting advice about whether it would be possible to make a rapid reclaim of my earlier ESA award in the support group, given that less than 12 weeks have elapsed as per the linking rules. I would, of course, not qualify for a new contribution-based ESA award, given the lack of NI contributions in the last two years.

I came across a couple of posts on moneysavingexpert.com that seemed to suggest that other claimants in my situation had been successful in making a rapid reclaim, but this is obviously not an authoritative source. The call centre operator on the DWP ESA number I phoned today, and who told me to phone the UC number, however told me that this would not be possible (but did not sound sure of this, and could not direct me to any resource that could confirm this).

I would be surprised (and obviously very disappointed and left in a bad way) if I indeed could not make a rapid reclaim, given that contribution-based ESA itself has not been discontinued, but, for reasons of separating it from income-based ESA that is now part of UC, has been re-styled, and is meant to still serve the same purpose based on the same principles as the earlier contribution-based ESA.

So, can I make a rapid reclaim to my earlier ESA contribution-based claim, or is this not possible with new-style contributions ESA? Is there anywhere else than anyone could recommend also turning for guidance about this?

Any advice on this would be much appreciated.

Many thanks for reading my message and for any advice you can give.

A request for advice regarding ESA (C) reclaim 5 months 1 week ago #221237


We have had several questions about this in the last week but I am afraid we do not have a definitive answer and to complicate the matter, you cannot rely on the advice of the DWP staff who are unlikely to have any training on this situation.

So there are various scenarios.

- If the re-claim is treated as a reinstatement of your previous ESA claim then you should be able to re-claim your ESA(CB).

- If a reclaim of ESA is not allowed then you may be able to make a claim for New Style ESA, the UC equivalent of ESA(CB), the linking rules for NS ESA allow linking back to an ESA claim.

- Lastly, if you cannot claim ESA or NS ESA then your only option would be to claim UC but this would be a completely new claim and you would have to be reassessed for an award.

I would try and get face to face advice from a trained advisor, you may need their assistance in presenting your case to the DWP, something which we cannot do on the forum.

The following user(s) said Thank You: shd

A request for advice regarding ESA (C) reclaim 5 months 1 week ago #221240


Have a look at posts 7, 8 and 9 on the following which suggests that a claim for NS ESA is the way forward.


The following user(s) said Thank You: Becca, shd
  • Page:
  • 1
Moderators: GordonIzzy1010