Self employment, Incapcity benefit, lack of NI

Self employment, Incapcity benefit, lack of NI

Self employment, Incapcity benefit, lack of NI I have spent hours (literally!) this week trying to resolve my IB problems.

I have spoken to several different JobCentrePluses, NI Agency, Self-employed Ni agency, Inland revenue and BEL (Benefits Enquiry Line) - all of the above several times just today!

It seems that none of them talk to each other and you need to know exactly and I mean exactly what specific question to ask. I think I am finally getting somewhere. If I can help anyone and save them some hours on the phone then I am very happy to.


bjj xx

Hello bjj

Thank goodness I am not the only one haveing challenges with some of these departments.

I was only being paid SSP from my employers and when that came to an end I was told that I would qualify for Incapacity Benefit.
So 3 weeks later I heard to say that I was entitled to it- but guess what… no money arrived.
3 months and constant chasing later. I received a chq for 3 weeks IB.

But today when I phoned to ask where was DLA money, I was told that they had suspended the claim becauise they think they have overpaid me. WHAT??
Today I have spoken with 6 different offices and NO they don’t speak to each other.

I am at my wits end. I have decided to fit in a visit to the CAB in between daily hospital visits to see if they can make any sense of it all.

And in the meantime what on earth am I supposed to live on?
But what was good news is that I recvd a letter from the IB who said that because I am of a “certain medical condition”, I don’t have to send in any sick certificates.

Oh what fun. As if we don’t have enough to cope with when we have this disease.

Good luck to you

Hi Lambkin Hi

I have the utmost sympathy with you - the whole thing is a nightmare - all at a time when we are not feeling our best.

My MP has asked me for comments on various things - see thread in this forum and one of the things that I am going to emphasise in my reply is that while there are various things in place to help us actually getting that help is a nightmare.

A woman I spoke to at JobCentrePlus yesterday was exceptionally nice and understanding. She said that she had gone through various claims (IB) etc with her mother and found the whole thing a complete nightmare - and she said that was from someone working in the system. She added that the whole thing exhausted her and that she was feeling well so she said she couldn’t imagine what it must be like when you are not well and trying to claim!

Similarly to you Lambkin, the main thing I have found is that the different offices do not speak to each other. I have found I phone 1 to get a bit of info, phone another one to tell that whatever it is, they then need to know something else and so have to phone someone else and get another little piece of the jigsaw. One person dealing with Incapacity in a JobCentrePlus told me that she didn’t know enough about IB and suggested that I go to see the Citizens Advice Bureau. At this point I just about lost it. Surely a person dealing with IB at an official office should know!


bjj xx

IB problems Hi Ladies

I used to work for the Jobcentre until 2 years ago - when I was diagnosed with bc. If you need any help I will be glad to give you what limited knowledge I still have!! If you are interested let me know and I can either speak to you or you can e-mail me with the enquiry.

If its any help I too went through a nightmare trying to get what I was entitled to!!


Hello bjj,

Did you finally manage to get this sorted?

Eventually my claim was reinstated and I did receive the monies due. But oh what a performance! I really think that people in our situation really do NOT need this hassle.

I would like one of the MPs (maybe) to spend just one hour/afternoon attempting to sort out all of the monetary issues and complicated forms and the Governemnt offices which we have to deal with. Well I mean- to have to speak to 6 different offices in order to sort out a claim for benefit I would have thought was a bit too much.

Good luck to you


Hi Lambkin Thanks for the posting and for asking how I am getting on.

To say the whole thing has been a complete nightmare is an understatement. I have so far spent 7 hours on the phone (just in the last week) trying to sort this one out. I totally agree with you - speaking to 6 offices to sort out a claim too much when you are well and unthinkable when you are not feeling your best.

I have been self-employed for years and never paid NI as despite asking numerous times was told that I didn’t need to. Jan 2005 I started part-time work as a teacher but also intended to keep on some of my cleaning self-employed stuff. In effect I was both employed and self-employed at the same time - quite legitimate, lots of people do it. I lost my teaching job 2 days after starting due to dx - must be shortest teaching career ever! I got SSP and when that ran out I applied for IB. I was told that I couldn’t claim any money as I hadn’t paid enough NI (not my fault as for years I been asking about that!) but that it was worth still carrying on with the claim as even though I couldn’t get any money I could keep my NI up to date. I asked if there was anything I could do to improve my NI so I could claim some money - I was told no - this was last August. 2005 (This was wrong information as I found out a couple of weeks ago). I had to go for a medical and was signed off until at least May 2007.

A few weeks ago I saw a barrister regarding maintenance with my ex-husband. She told me that being self-employed I could pay back as much NI as I liked and therefore would be able to claim IB. I went back to JobCentrePlus and this is indeed the case - why didn’t they tell me this in August 2005?!! This has then started yet another round of phone calls to NI, Inland Revenue etc etc. Trying to find out just how much NI I need to pay back has been a nightmare. I can’t begin to tell you how many calls that has involved. I have had 2 completely different bills from NI - no dates on for which periods the back contributions count for. It seems like they just pluck a number out of the air and bill you!

The thing that finally reduced me to tears on the phone was when the JobCentrePlus agreed that once I had settled my NI bill I could claim proper IB but wait for it… I have to write and stop the current claim, wait 6 weeks - making sure I voluntarily pay NI for those 6 weeks, then apply to start a new claim from scratch - visit GP for sick note, go for another medical etc etc. I can’t believe this. I am signed off sick from one of their IB doctors until May 2007 but they can’t carry notes forward if I want to change my claim from just NI to NI and money. To say that it has made me despair is an understatement.

I have now paid back my NI - the office have advised me to wait a couple of weeks as it takes time to filter through the system before cancelling my current claim. Then 6 weeks after that - making a total of 8 - put in for a new claim. Whilst the new claim is being processed - will take weeks, I have to carry on paying NI and then can claim it back (more forms!) once it has been sorted. I just want to go to bed and pull the duvet over my head!

What I am really annoyed about though is that through no fault of my own I have been considerably financially disadvantaged. If I had been told over the years that I should pay NI (I did ask!) then I would have been able to claim from last August. Similarly if I had been told last August that I could pay back NI (again I asked!) then equally I could have claimed. I have lost a whole year of IB and it really has been because I have been given totally wrong information.

I have detailed this in my letter to my MP together with comments about Travel Costs etc. I will post if I get a response from him.

I am really pleased that you finally managed to sort out your claim. You are so right - people in our situation just do not need this hassle.

Thanks Lynn for your offer of help - if we had contact buttons on this site I would take you up on that!


bjj xx

Hey ladies,
Am just about to embark along the minefield which are benefits!! From what I have read I don’t like my chances…was dx in April 05, husband left in the Jan, mastectomy and chemo (BJJ think we spoke on the old forum re herceptin!!). he left the kids (2) and I in serious financial strife ( dispute still going) and I only managed to make it through financially because of a well womans policy payout for female cancers. However I have eaten through all that now supporting us (as he doesn’t) am back working as much as I can but am just about to have recon which will put me out of action for a while!
Although I did work casually whilst raising the kids, I didn’t pay NI. ( is there no such thing as married womans NI contributions?)Have been doing so since 05 but I am guessing that won’t be enough and also am now in the unenviable situation that I wouldn’t have any spare cash to pay up the installments in oder to receive anything anyway! Any suggestions?
Will be having a FDR hearing with regards financial settlement ,Oct 16, and am very stressed as i have no idea whats in store! Have even developed alopecia which I am sure is a direct result of all this uncertainty.(Unless its a side effect of tamoxifen?) Feeling desperate and don’t know which way to turn!
Any advice greatly appreciated

Benefits and Insurance Hello there

I have posted a link below to information on this site which gives further sources advice and support on this issue.

Hope you find this of help.

Kind regards.

Online Host
Breast Cancer Care

NI - Incapacity Benefit. Hi Ling

I am also going through maintenance problems with my ex-husband - it’s a nightmare. Have you had to do your Form E yet? I have been battling with my ex for over 10 years now and I have done so many of these wretched things and been to court more times than I would like to count. I had a court order in Dec 2004 with the amount my ex was to pay me based on me starting a new job teaching in Jan 2005 - I did 2 days because of being diagnosed with bc - of course I am not earning the money predicted. The whole thing has been a nightmare - it looks like I have to go back to court again. You have my utmost sympathy. If I can help at all with your FDR please don’t hesitate to ask me anything.

Ni is a nightmare. I think you do get a sort of share of your husband’s NI contributions - up until divorce. If your children are under 16 and you are receiving Child Benefit you get something called HRP (Home Responsibilites Protection). This covers your NI for keeping your state pension uptodate BUT doesn’t cover Incapacity Benefit - it’s not a “full” stamp.

If you have been working casually, I’m not sure what you have been doing but that could well count for being self-employed. When I was self-employed I was told I didn’t need to pay NI - but that was actually wrong. If you earn less than around £2000 per year you don’t have to pay - you need to fill out some sort of exemption certificate BUT like HRP it means that you don’t have a “full” stamp and therefore it doesn’t entitle you to any benefits.

I always declared my self-employed earnings on my tax return so it has been possible for them to check up on my records. If you haven’t declared your earnings it could be a little more tricky. Not sure how the Inland Revenue will view it. If you are self-employed you can back by years and years of NI - it workds out at just over £2 per week.

To claim IB (which is about £70 per week) you need to have full NI contributions for the qualifying period. I was told that to claim now I need to have paid my NI back to April 2003. You need to ask your JobCentre Plus about your qualifying period. Go to the following web site and find the phone number of your nearest office.

You then need to phone the NI Self-employment Contributions agency 0845 9154 655 and tell them the period that you want to pay back. They will send you a bill. WARNING - don’t ask them to send you a bill if you are not sure about it - the way the bill is worded is that once you get it then you do have to pay it.

Once you have done this you can then go back to the JobCentrePlus and apply for Incapacity Benefit. If you have only just paid your NI back then you have to wait for 6 weeks before putting in a claim. It’s some sort of penalty.

I also found the BEL Benefits Enquiry Line to be helpful
0800 88 22 00

It might be worth trying to sort out your NI before you have your recon so you can claim something then. Whilst on IB you can still earn around £80 before losing it.

Hope this helps - sorry it’s so muddly but the system is very difficult!


bjj xx

Hey Bjj,
Thanks for the advice I will be looking into it as a matter of necessity!
Filled in Form E, his was incomplete and very contradictory, put in request for the info plus clarification of alot of other points and got nothing in return until the 1st meeting with the judge . 15 mins prior to this hearing he hit me with the list of his questions inc asking for clarification that my upcoming surgery was cosmetic and not clinically necessary and that my ongoing treatment was limited to taking prescribed medication…nice!!! Anyway he has still not answered requests for information. Can you tell me what actually goes on in the FDR! I am concerned at the moment that they will try to thrash out an offer based on his highly questionable and anecdotal financial information! Why is it that he has managed to flaunt every time constraint applied to these forms and hearings and has seemingly got away with it! Apparently I have to meet with counsel an hour before the FDR , who is this counsel? My solicitor is good but forgets I have never done this before and doesn’t really explain things sufficiently to put my mind at rest…
10 years is along time to be in dispute! I hope that you manage to get things sorted soon
Ling x

Income Support Hi folks

I assume you have all been told you do not qualify for Income Support due to the amount of income you have?? This is normally the fall back benefit if you are not entitled to Incapacity Benefit.


married woman’s stamp I paid only the Married woman’s stamp (I was never given any guidance re paying a full stamp) but despite paying over £100 per month in NI I do not qualify for IB. I don’t believe I am able to pay back any money in order to qualify so I am stuck.

The tabloids are always going on about people ‘just arriving’ into this country and getting our benefits. Reading the posts here they must be geniuses as the hurdles put in place to stop the deserving getting anything seem to be legion!



Hi Blondie Are you self-employed? If you are then (no matter what a JobCentrePlus tells you) then you can pay back enough NI to take you to a level where you can claim IB.

I think (but I’m not sure) that the Married Woman’s stamp is similar to the HRP (Home Responsibilites Protection) stamp in that it keeps up your state pension but otherwise is effectively useless. I am so very angry about this as I asked repeatedly about paying NI and was always told not to worry.

I agree with you - I think it must be easier for people arriving in the country to get help. I think a system is in place for them.


bjj xx

Lynne and Ling Hi Lynne

No. I don’t qualify for Income support - but the way my hard earned savings are depleting it’s only a matter ot time!

Hi Ling

Your ex sounds similar to mine. I spent hours and hours on my Form E making sure it was accurate, illustrating every point with bank statements, credit card statements etc - even cash in my purse. My ex hastily filled his in with numbers plucked out of the air and even said it was just his “broad circumstances”. My solicitor promptly asked questions - we didn’t get answers until the day we went to court and even then they weren’t right - he just got away with it. I did everything by the book. It makes me so so angry.

A counsel is a barrister that your solicitor has appointed to help him with the case. It’s not unusual to meet them literally just before the hearing with the judge. Be reassured they are generally very professional and will have spent hours studying your case (wait for the bill!!). The lady I had last time was brilliant - she had been up until 3 a.m ploughing through files of my case notes and by the time we went into court she knew it inside out. Generally it is a very good thing to have Counsel.

An FDR is a hearing in front of a judge - but by the time you get into see the judge the idea is that the your barrister and solicitor will have thrashed out some deal with your ex’s barrister and solicitor. The way it works at my Court buildings is that they have little conference rooms off the main waiting room and then you and your team have one and your ex and his team have one. The two barristers then go backwards and forwards - meeting in the corridor sometimes to try and reach some kind of deal. By the time you get into see the judge it should be moreorless agreed and then he will “rubber stamp” it. I found it extremely frustrating that once in front of the judge I didn’t get a chance to speak. The barristers did it all. I knew some of it was lies and I wasn’t allowed to say anthing. I still don’t understand why we have to keep quiet.

Sorry to disappoint you but it will more than likely be based on your ex’s questionable financial information - unless you can concretely prove that he is lying. I knew my ex husband must have hidden some money in some other account - handed it over to his new wife - whatever - but there was nothing I could do - it is so so frustrating.

My ex has recently asked for a medical report on me to prove I have had cancer - which cost me £250. Believe me I was tempted to turn at his solicitors office and strip down to the waist. I think it is despicable what your ex is doing.

Not wishing to depress you but the court process is trying. I had a court order on my husabnd about 4/5 years ago. He never paid me what he was supposed to do. I ended up taking him back to court to claim the arrears, it cost me a fortune and I never got the full amount back. According to my barrister, judge’s never make people pay the full amount of arrears back because if they have managed to live on less then they don’t need the full amount. The law is a joke! I have several friends going through this process and they have all found the same thing.

The law seems to be biased towards the men, they seem to be able to get away with being vague about their financial situation whereas because we are asking for money we have to be heavily scrutinised.

I wasn’t able to because I got divorced before the new law came in but you should get a chunk of your ex’s pension. Make sure that your solicitor/barrister ask for this.

It might be worth mentioning to your solicitor the McFarlane v McFarlane case. It was a recent landmark ruling by the House of Lords where they now say that a married woman who has given up her career to look after children and husband should receive money as sort of compensation. Basically the law is turning round slightly and is finally realising that it is not fair for us women who (in agreement with husbands at the time) give up career, money etc to support the family and then when getting divorced end up badly off financially compared to how they would have been if they had carried on working.

If you go to the above website address and click on the news scrolling round the bottom when it says HOUSE OF LORDS RULING McFarlane v McFarlane click on it and it will take you to more info.
Similarly the following is a lengthy somewhat indigestible document relating to the case

I’d better stress that these are my personal experiences of FDR’s, Form E, Counsel etc - it might well be different for you in your area. I guess different Courts and different judges work differently.

Hope this helps though.


bjj xx

Dear Bjj

Thanks, its all much clearer now! Do I have see counsel on my own? I still have pretty bad chemo brain and it would be very helpful to not have to try and make any arrangements on my own…!
You’d think we have nothing better to do with our lives and time!
Ling x

Hi Ling Hi

I’ve never seen counsel by myself. My solicitor has always been with me and done virtually all the talking.

Counsel/Barristers are normally very well-clued up and once they get involved you don’t have to worry!


bjj xx

thoughts from the other side… I do commiserate with all of you are going through benefits, ex husbands non-paying etc. but there is another side to this equation.
I am now 62 yrs old, met my second husband when he was 42 and I was 27 - both second marriages, now some wonderful 32 yrs later. We didn’t meet when either of us were in the married situation. so there is no guilt there.

| can still so well remember coming home from my job as a legal secretary, to find yet another letter from my hubbies’s ex’ s solicitor on the doormat. Horrendous stuff about the electricity being cut off, kids (11 and 13 yrs old that she would not allow us to see) having to be brought out of school, and we were not only paying some 80% of my hubbie’s salary to her for the mortgage and the kids, but they took my meagre salary into account too.You would not believe how many meals I can make from minced beef.!

My husband went to interminable court actions, when his ex had legal aid - his elderly Mum funded our retaliation, but we got nowhere. Had a different barrister at every hearing, none of whom had a clue about his case. Ted represented himself eventually.

My husband has since said that he should have jacked in his job as a high flying Marketing Manager for an Electronics Company, but he is an honourable guy and we have both done the very best we can for his kids. He lost all his equity in a big house in Surrey and we are doing fine now, due to working some 18 hours a day in a small electronics company we set up years after his divorce. We lived for 3 years in a council flat that his company got for him as a key Manager - beautiful, on the 14th floor , but not our own home.

Don’t always blame the guys - we are proof that you can do the very best for your ex wife and children., and still survive. However, I do commiserate with those of you who don’t have honourable guys. Guess I struck lucky. I do know we live in peace with the monies we paid to Ted’s ex wife and kids. they are thriving - his bright daughter is a Consultant Radiologist and his son has his own fruit and vegetable business.

I do hope you ladies can get some recompense from your ex’s that should pay their dues, as we have.

benefits Guess I am lucky - that I have managed to get Incapacity Benefit - mostly due to my depression - post BC!! However I am aware that it can all be taken away at any day - and I dread the postman delivering the mail. I have worked for 25 years since leaving school at 16 to get this meagre benefit. Yet I constantly worry about when it finishes and I am left with nothing.
None of us asked to be put in this situation and I get frustrated when people ask - are you not working yet?
Without going into all the details off how I feel I try to fob it off. I have always worked - have never relied on the state - yet feel I have to justify myself! I AM a strong person - but walk a mile in my shoes - or anyone who has had breast cancer - then judge me.
I am actively looking for work - however there is no way I can bring in the wage i used to.



For Lynne Thank you Lynne; you have made me feel that I am not the only one.

I was diagnosed in Oct05 and since the end of Nov05 I have not been well enough to work.

I am currently half way thro rads- and I am constantly being asked why I am not yet working and when will I go back to work?
Someone told me the wonderful reply that I should say to everyone… “When I feel able to”.

One of the saddest parts of rads for me is that although this has been the only time that I have felt able to talk to other ladies who have had cancer, I seem to be surrounded by ladies who tell me that they were able to work most of the way through it all. They have said that they didn’t find it all too bad. Yet I have had such a hard time with it all. And I have had to rely on IBC and DLA to get by financially (because my employer didn’t pay any sick pay-only SSP for 28 weeks) And that has really flattened me to have to rely on the benefit system.

I am even off driving- because I currently have problems.

And yes, I also worry about whether or not the dreaded brown envelope will arrive each fortnight with my money.

We WILL get through this!