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Hi, Thanks for your question. For the avoidance of doubt, do you received the "personal independence payment" as a benefit?
Thanks for your question. I will try to help.
The general problem with applying for a spouse visa whilst on benefits is that most applicants cannot meet the financial requirements.
However, if you refer to the following link you will see the guidance on the financial requirement:
In particular, please refer to the list contained at 3.6 (page 16). You will see that this confirms that instead of evidencing income you can meet the financial requirement if you received PIP by showing that you meet the adequate maintenance requirement
This is essentially where you show that you can afford to support and accommodate each other within the UK without relying on any more public funds (benefits) than you already receive.So, if you are able to show – with evidence - that you are in receipt of the PIP and that you can support and house each other once your spouse is here then you would meet the financial requirement through “adequate maintenance” .
Therefore, provided you met the other (non-financial criteria) then you could apply even though you received benefits because one of the benefits is on the list at 3.6.
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ESA is not included, but I am not sure you have understood. You do not have to show that you receive a minimum specific amount of income if you received PIP. You only have to show that you can support and accommodate you and your spouse without claiming any more benefits that you already claim. I would re-read my answer again, because this is good news for you.
As a second opinion I would confirm what Thomas gave as an answer to your question was correct with regard to PIP.
With regard to your further enquiry regarding ESA to meet the adequate maintenance requirement, the Home Office will work out your weekly net income currently received, including benefits you are entitled to (ESA). They will then work out your current weekly housing costs from the evidence you have provided and then deduct this cost from your total net income. Whatever you have left must be the same amount received by a British family unit of equivalent size to your family unit if they were in receipt of Income Support. If this is the case you will satisfy the adequate maintenance requirement.
Following my instructions you should be able to work this out for yourself. Unfortunately this is something we cant do on JustAnswer. For help with finding out what an equivalent British family unit will receive go to the following link https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/pdfs/rightsnet_benefit_rates_poster_2015_16.pdf or pop into your local city council for assistance to work it out for you for free otherwise you need to see a local immigration lawyer for assistance but they will charge you a standard fee (apprx £160 per hour).
I hope this clarifies your specific question about ESA.