Benefits Expert: ‘I am afraid he would not qualify’

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Q HOW will my Reduced Earnings Allowance (REA) be affected if I earn more?


A REA is payable to certain people who had an industrial accident before 1.10.90 or have a particular work-related disease contracted before then.

A person qualifies if their accident or disease prevented them from returning to their regular occupation, or to do work of an “equivalent standard”.

REA is calculated by comparing what the person was able to earn prior to the accident or disease with what they are likely to earn afterwards.

The maximum payable is £63.24 a week and REA is payable whether the person is in work or not.

If someone is working and their earnings go up, this could mean they are now receiving more than their expected level of earnings.

In that case they could be receiving too much REA and it would have to be recalculated.

The person is therefore responsible for reporting “relevant changes” in their earnings to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Examples of “relevant changes” are if a person’s earnings increase because their employer gives them a new job role, or if they change jobs.

If, however, they are continuing in the same job and their increase in earnings is because of something like an annual increase due to inflation, this need not be reported.

The DWP say that they issue an entitlement letter when they award REA and this tells the customer what changes of circumstances they should report.

If you wish to talk about your REA with the DWP or report a change of circumstances I would advise you to first contact their Regional Industrial Injuries Office on 0845 600 1587.

Q MY husband’s Contributory Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) was stopped after nine months because he was found fit for work.

He had been receiving a reduced amount because he has a work’s pension of £620 a month.

It hardly seems worth appealing because his ESA was due to end after 12 months because of his income.

Should he claim Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)?

Mrs D (Sunderland).

A I AM afraid he would not qualify for JSA either.

The JSA pension rules are even stricter than the ones for ESA.Any work’s pension over £50 a week is deducted from Contribution-based JSA.

With JSA being £71 a week, his pension would wipe out his entitlement.