Please can this question be answered by Clare the UK solicitor on the site.
I am currently under investigation by the DWP concerning my Employment and Support Allowance. I believe an official error has occurred and would like to confirm my understanding of the benefit with you to help with my response to the DWP.
The question raised by the DWP appears to focus on whether I am on income or contribution related ESA. I have savings over £6,000 so this issue is clearly important because if I am on income related ESA I would need to declare these savings whereas if I am on contribution based ESA there is no requirement to declare the savings.
When I applied for ESA, on page one of the application form it asks if you would like to apply for income related ESA. I ticked ‘no’ to this box because I wanted to apply for contribution based ESA only. I provided no supporting documents with my application (bank statements, details of income) because I was not applying for income based ESA and hence did not need to satisfy their income and savings means test.
I was granted the ESA, but it would appear at some stage I was awarded a combination of contribution ESA and a top of income based ESA. I am not sure if this was from the beginning of the ESA award or whether this was at some stage after the initial application. I don’t really think it matters when this income element was awarded, because I expressly stated on my application form that I did not want to apply for income related ESA or did not provide the necessary financial documents for a means test.
Does this understanding sound correct you - being that you can not receive an income based ESA benefit without 1) applying for this benefit (which I did not) and 2) providing the necessary supporting documents, such as banks statements, to satisfy the income and savings means test (which I never provided).
I would also note as well that it appears as though you can not simply be switched from a contribution based benefit to an income based benefit for ESA. This would require a form to be completed (the ESA 3 form) which would then request your financial supporting documents for the means test.