Am I eligible for Employment and Support Allowance?

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Being unable to work because of disability or sickness can leave you worrying about how to make ends meet. However, you could be eligible to claim for Employment and Support Allowance and this could help make ends meet and take a load off your mind.

What is Employment and Support Allowance?

ESA is paid when you can't work fulltime because of illness or disability. If your Statutory Sick Pay has run out or you're unable to claim then you might be able to get ESA. The Allowance also could provide personalsed information to help you keep working if you're able to.

3 types of ESA

The type of support you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances. The three types are;

  • 'New style' ESA: You'll need to have an illness or disability that affects your ability to work, and you'll need to have been employed or self-employed and paying National Insurance contributions in the last 2 to 3 years
  • Contribution-based ESA: The same eligibility applies as 'new style' ESA but you'll also need to be receiving a severe disability premium, or have received the severe disability premium within the last month and remain eligible for it
  • Income-based ESA: The same eligibility applies as 'new style' ESA and contribution-based ESA except your National Insurance contributions in the last 2-3 years don't affect your eligibility. You can't get this if you have savings or investments worth over £16,000

How much will I get?

For the 13 weeks following your claim, you'll usually get an assessment rate of;

  • up to £58.90 a week if you're under 25
  • up to £74.35 a week if you're 25 and over

After your claim has been approved, you'll be placed into one of two groups;

  • Work-related activity: going to regular interviews with an advisor who will help you develop professional skills. Those in this group will earn up to £74.35 a week
  • Support group: means going to speak to a personal advisor without the regular interviews. Your likely to be in this group if you recieve up up to £113.55 a week.

What is 'new style' ESA and Universal Credit

You can apply for new style ESA at the same time or instead of Universal Credit. Universal Credit can help with, for example, housing or childcare costs.

What will I need to have handy to make a claim?

To make a claim, you'll need to know the following things;

  • National Insurance number
  • Council Tax bill
  • Contact details for your GP
  • Medical certificate
  • Bank account details
  • Contact details for your employer and dates of employment, including last day of work
  • Any documentation regarding any other benefits you receive

What are disability premiums?

If you have claimed for income-based ESA and are also in a support group, then you will receive an additional income each week as a disability premium.

Depending on your condition and how much it impacts your day-to-day life, you might get enhanced or severe disability premium.

For more information on disability premiums, see

What now?

  • To check if you're eligible for ESA before you apply, visit the website
  • recommends that the quickest way to claim is to call the appropriate number for the type of ESA you are applying for. You can visit their website for the contact details

Our articles cover a wide range of mainstream financial products and employee benefits. Terms and conditions of each product may vary depending on your provider. Please ensure you check the specific terms and conditions of any financial products and employee benefits available to you from your employer.