Employment and Support Allowance

Employment and Support Allowance 

If you’re ill or disabled, Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) offers you:
  • financial support if you’re unable to work
  • personalised help so that you can work if you’re able to
  • You can apply for ESA if you’re employed, self-employed or unemployed.
  • You might be transferred to ESA if you’ve been claiming other benefits like Income Support or Incapacity Benefit.

Work Capability Assessment
 
You must have a Work Capability Assessment while your ESA claim is being assessed. This is to see to what extent your illness or disability affects your ability to work.
 
You’ll then be placed in one of 2 groups if you’re entitled to ESA:
 
work-related activity group, where you’ll have regular interviews with an adviser
support group, where you don’t have interviews
 
What you’ll get
 
How much ESA you get depends on:
 
your circumstances, eg income
the type of ESA you qualify for
where you are in the assessment process

You can get financial support and work-related support through Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
  
Financial support
 
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, if you’re entitled to ESA, you’ll be placed in one of 2 groups and will receive:
 
up to £102.15 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 and on income-related ESA, you’re also entitled to the Enhanced Disability Premium at £15.75 a week
 
Types of ESA
 
The 2 types of ESA are:
 
contribution-based ESA – usually you get this if you’ve got 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
 
Contribution-based ESA
 
Contribution-based ESA lasts one year if you’re in the work-related activity group. You may be able to re-apply at least 12 weeks after your contribution-based ESA ends. You may qualify again depending on:
 
National Insurance contributions you paid in different tax years
whether your health deteriorates and you’re placed in the support group
 
There’s no time limit on how long you can claim contribution-based ESA if you’re in the support group.

Income-related ESA
 
You may qualify for income-related ESA if you no longer qualify for contribution-based ESA.
 
How much you get depends on your circumstances. There’s no time limit on income-related ESA.
 
Work-related support
 
Following your Work Capability Assessment you’ll be placed in either the work-related activity group or support group if you’re entitled to ESA.
 
Work-related activity group
 
You must go to regular interviews with an adviser who can help with things like job goals and improving your skills.
 
Support group
 
You don’t have to go to interviews, but you can ask to talk to a personal adviser. You’re usually in this group if your illness or disability severely limits what you can do.
 
Benefits sanctions
 
Your ESA can be reduced if you don’t go to interviews or do work-related activity as agreed with your adviser. This reduction can continue for up to 4 weeks after you restart the interviews or activity.
 
You’ll get a ‘sanction letter’. Tell your ESA adviser if you have a good reason for missing the interview.
 
You’ll get another letter if the decision is made to give you a sanction. Your benefit will only be affected once a decision has been made.
 
If you get a sanction you:
 
can ask for the decision to be looked at again
can also ask for a ‘hardship payment’ - contact Jobcentre Plus
 
How you’re paid
 
All benefits, pensions and allowances are paid into an account, eg your bank account.
Bank holidays
 
If your payment is due on a bank holiday, you’ll be paid on the last working day before the holiday.
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