Your money and benefits during an ESA reconsideration
During a reconsideration, the benefits you get will be affected in different ways, depending on what you’re getting and the reason you’re asking for mandatory reconsideration.There may be other ways you can get more help with your living costs if you’re struggling for money.
If you’ve been sanctioned
Contact the Jobcentre to ask for a ‘hardship payment’ if you’re struggling for money during a mandatory reconsideration about sanctions. They’ll decide whether you need a hardship payment to afford essentials like food, clothing and heating.
If you’ve been told you’re not eligible for ESA
You won't get any ESA payments while you're asking for a mandatory reconsideration if:
you’ve been told you won’t get ESA at all because you’re not eligible (eg you scored 0 points at your medical)
you didn’t go to your medical, or you didn’t return the ESA50 form and you’ve been turned down for ESA because of that.
You can claim Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) instead of ESA. You’ll need to meet the usual rules for people who claim JSA, for example you’ll need to be actively looking for work. If your condition or a disability means you can only work or look for work a limited number of hours each week, you can try and agree this with the Jobcentre.You should tell the Jobcentre that you’re able and willing to look for work, otherwise you won’t get any JSA.
Worth remembering Claiming JSA during a mandatory reconsideration shouldn’t affect your ESA reconsideration request .If the DWP changes its decision, you’ll automatically get ESA again and your JSA will stop.If the DWP doesn’t change its decision, you can either:
carry on claiming JSA
appeal the decision to an independent tribunal. When you do this, your ESA payments will start again automatically, but only if it’s the first time the DWP has decided you’re fit to work. You won’t get any ESA if the reason the DWP decided you’re fit to work was because you didn’t return the ESA50 form or attend the medical assessment.
You can usually claim back the ESA that wasn't paid during a mandatory reconsideration, but only if you don’t claim another benefit during this period.
If you don’t want to claim Jobseekers Allowance
If you feel unable to claim JSA during your reconsideration, for example because you feel too ill to go to the Jobcentre, you need to think about how you’ll manage during this period.
Other help available
ask friends or family if they can help with essentials
find out if there are any foodbanks in your area and what other help might be available locally
find out if you can get more help with your living costs
consider asking a charity for help - the Turn2us website tells you about charities that might be able to help you
talk to an adviser at Citizens Advice to find out what other help is available in your area
If you’ve been put in the work-related activity group instead of the support group
If you’ve been put into the work-related activity group (WRAG), instead of the support group, you’ll continue to be paid ESA with the work-related component while you’re challenging that decision.
How Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction will be affected
These benefits are paid by your local council, to help with paying your rent and council tax.You can continue to get these benefits even if your ESA stops. However, if your ESA stops, the DWP will usually tell the council and the council may stop your Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction. This is because they may think you’ve got other income now, for example that you may have started a job.You should get in touch with the council straight away and explain why your ESA has stopped and that you’ve asked for a reconsideration.
Warning Tell the council about the money you’re living on now. For example, you get help from friends or family or you go to a foodbank. They may need you to send them a proof of this, for example your bank statements and a letter explaining your circumstances.