BENEFITS EXPERT: I’m on benefits but want a gradual return to work - can you help?

Q. I am currently claiming Income Base Employment and Support Allowance, I am currently assessed as being in the Work Related Activity Group.

Friday, 21st August 2020, 12:00 am
Money issues come to the fore when considering a return to work.

In addition I receive PIP (standard daily living element) as well as Tax Credits for a 13 year old. I have the Severe Disability Premium with my benefit as no one is claiming Carer’s Allowance for me and there is no one other than my daughter living at home with me.

I am considering a return to work but this would be a gradual introduction as I don’t feel well enough to resume full time work. What options may be available in this situation. I also get housing benefit and rent from a social landlord.

A. You have a number of options available in this situation, some would allow you to remain on your current benefits with no financial detriment, other options may lead to you claiming different benefits.

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You could consider firstly doing what is known as “permitted work” and still claim ESA. You are allowed currently to do what is known as ”lower” permitted work, i.e. you can work for £20 or less a week without losing the ESA. You can also choose “higher” permitted work which means you can work for less than 16 hours a week and provided your earnings are below £140 you will keep all your current benefits and therefore potentially be better off by as much as £140/week. There is also an option where the hours you work can be unlimited provided your earnings don’t exceed £140 but this must either be part of a treatment programme done or approved by your GP or other health professional OR the work is being supervised by a voluntary organisation or your local council.

Depending on what type of permitted work you choose to do you must notify the DWP and specify the work is to be carried out under the permitted work rules. There is also an online form you can complete available via Gov UK website.