A Problem Shared: My ESA Has Been Cut & I’m Struggling

A Problem Shared Money | by | 23rd Sep 2016

coins and stuff for Benefits ESA Cut APS

Money trouble, ESA benefit cuts and having a enough food are all struggles for Naomi. Do you have any advice for the week’s A Problem Shared…?

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Hi FamilyPoint,

I’m really struggling to get food on the table and get everything for my girls to attend school. That’s before all the other things they want like toys and new clothes.

My ESA (Employment and Support Allowance) was cut in the summer. I’m now only getting child benefit and it’s just not enough. I can’t just get a job. The DWP had signed me off sick yet now they have declared me fit to work. I just don’t feel well enough to go back to work and I don’t have the energy to fight this decision.

Please help me, I really need some support.


Our FamilyPoint advice to Naomi…

We’re sorry to hear that your ESA was cut recently, and that you have been declared fit to work in spite of still feeling unwell. It’s understandable that you’re struggling to feed your family and to buy them what they need for school, as only receiving child benefit is a very small amount to live on.

Are you aware that you can ask the DWP to look at their decision to cut your ESA? It’s called a mandatory reconsideration. You can ask for this as long as you do so within a month of receiving their letter. The Citizens’ Advice Bureau (CAB) has some really helpful pages on what to do if your ESA has been cut.

Whilst the DWP carry out a mandatory reconsideration,  you will be entitled to ask your job centre for a hardship payment to cover essentials like food, clothing and heating. Furthermore, you may also be eligible for continued ESA payments. This will depend on the reasons given for cutting your ESA in the first place. We would also advise you to contact your local CAB as soon as you can. Especially if you want to ask if an advisor can help you with your case. You might also want to make an appointment to see your GP. This is because your GP may be able to provide further information in support of your case.

Foodbanks & Turn2Us

Whilst you’re waiting for a decision, you may want to consider using a food bank. Your local council should have a list of foodbanks in your area. As well as this you should check Trussell Trust’s map.

Find a Foodbank

You mentioned that you can’t afford to get all the things your girls need for school. Most schools know how difficult it can be for parents to meet the costs of uniforms, books, etc. Some schools can help in the way of second hand uniforms, and they’re usually in perfectly good condition from their lost property. As well as this, Turn2us is a national charity that can help you to search for charities which offer one-off grants for clothing, household items, and so forth.

Other sources of inexpensive clothing and toys are:

  • eBay
  • Car boot sales
  • Facebook selling pages
  • Gumtree
  • Nearly new sales.

If the DWP do not change the decision to cut your ESA, and you do consider finding work when you’re feeling better, your local job centre may be able to help you with getting ready for work and job searches. You can also get in touch with your local Communities First team:

Communities First Wales

We hope you find the above advice and links useful, and hope that your situation improves in the near future.

Helpline Graphic for Play out alone problem

If you would like further information on national or local support services, then you can contact us at FamilyPoint Cymru via phone 0300 222 57 57, text 07860 052 905, or IM/Chat. We are open Monday – Thursday 6pm – 10pm and Friday & Saturday 10am – 2pm.


The FamilyPoint Cymru Team


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