Today we scored an important victory for those who have had their ESA stopped and who have no other form of income. We have successfully argued that a Short Term Benefit Advance ( STBA) can be awarded to those who have submitted an appeal and are waiting for the DWP to process their ESA at the ?appeal rate?.?

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Before the recent welfare reforms came into effect people who had been found fit for work and who had been told that they no longer qualify for ESA were told to either claim JSA or appeal the decision (this takes up to 18 months) and were advised that they can be paid the base rate of ESA whilst the appeal is decided.

Between the disallowance and the receipt of a valid appeal customers could have previously applied for a Crisis Loan to see them through.
The crisis loan system has been abolished, however some elements of the system like Alignments to Benefits Crisis Loans have been retained by the DWP and renamed Short?Term Benefit Advances.

STBA?s are primarily paid to new claimants but can also be paid to customers who report a change in circumstances.
Using the DWP?s own guidance we helped a client in Birmingham apply for, and be awarded a STBA after faxing in her appeal against her ESA.

Short-term Advances will also be available:
to claimants who have experienced a change of circumstances that will

  • increase the amount of benefit to which they are entitled;

  • where the first payment of benefit is made in respect of a period shorter than that in respect of which subsequent payments will be made (e.g. the first payment is made in respect of a week and the next payment is due to be paid in two weeks? time and will be made in respect of those two weeks); or

  • in cases where it is impractical for benefit to be paid on the due date (e.g. due to a technical problem in processing the claim or payment).

In summary:
If your ESA has been stopped and you intend to appeal, you can apply for a STBA to be paid to you whilst the appeal rate of ESA is assessed.
This is on the basis that you have notified the DWP of a change (you appeal) that will increase your award significantly ( from ?0 to 71).

The call took 50 minutes and involved 2 telephony agents their manager and a ?technical expert? who were all adamant that a STBA could not be applied for under these circumstances, however when we questioned the reasoning and pointed to the STBA guidance on the .gov website they could find no excuse for not taking and awarding the application.

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