What is Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)?
You can claim Employment Support Allowance (ESA) if your ability to work is limited by ill health or disability. The benefit provides you with financial support to cover daily living costs, and personalised help to support you so that you can work if you're able to.
Who is eligible for ESA?
You may get ESA if your illness or disability affects your ability to work and you’re:
- under State Pension age
- not getting Statutory Sick Pay or Statutory Maternity Pay and you haven’t gone back to work
- not getting Jobseeker’s Allowance.
You can apply for ESA if you’re employed, self-employed, unemployed or a student on Personal Independence Payment (or Disability Support Allowance if you made your claim before June 2013).
You'll need to have a Work Capability Assessment (WAC) while your claim is being assessed. This is to see how your deafness or hearing loss and any other condition affects your ability to work. If you're found to have a limited capability for work and work-related activity, you'll be entitled to ESA
What happens after the WAC?
If you're entitled to ESA, you’ll normally get the assessment rate for 13 weeks after your claim. This will be:
- up to £57.90 a week if you’re aged under 25
- up to £73.10 a week if you’re aged 25 or over.
After that, you’ll be placed in one of two groups and will receive:
- up to £73.10 a week if you’re in the work-related activity group
- up to £109.30 a week if you’re in the support group
If you’re in the support group, you may also get the enhanced disability premium at £15.75 a week.or the severe disability premium at £61.85 per week.
What are the types of ESA?
The two types of ESA are:
- contribution-based ESA - usually you get this if you’ve paid enough National Insurance contributions
- income-related ESA - usually you get this on its own or on top of contribution-based ESA if you’re on a low income.
What is new style ESA?
You can apply for ‘new style’ ESA if you’re entitled to apply for Universal Credit. You’re entitled if you’re either:
- a single person anywhere in England, Wales and Scotland
- a couple or family living in a Universal Credit area.
New style ESA works in the same way as contribution-based ESA. Your partner’s income and savings won’t affect how much new style ESA you’re paid. You can get new style ESA on its own or at the same time as Universal Credit.
If you get both benefits at the same time your new style ESA payment will be deducted from your Universal Credit payment - you aren’t guaranteed to get any extra money.
How do I apply for ESA?
The quickest way to apply for ESA is by phone. The number you call depends on which type you’re applying for.
If you're aplying for contributions-based and income-related ESA, call the Contact centre, Monday to Friday 8am-6pm, on 0800 055 6688 (freephone) or 0800 023 4888 (textphone). You can also fill in and print out the ESA1 form and send, or take it, to your local Jobcentre Plus office.
For more information if you live in Northern Ireland, visit the Northern Ireland government information website nidirect
If you're applying for new style ESA, call 0345 600 0723 (telephone) or 345 600 0743 (textphone) if you live in a 'live service area' or 0345 600 4272 (telephone) or 0345 600 0743(textphone) if you're in 'a full service area'.
You can find out whether where you live is a live service area or a full service area on the government services and information website, .
Find out more
You can find out more about ESA in our factsheet Employment and Support Allowance
Or you can visit the government services and information site gov.uk