What is Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)?

ESA is a single benefit with two elements: New-style ESA (formerly known as contributory ESA) and income-related ESA. You may qualify for one or both elements.

Income-related ESA has now been replaced by Universal Credit for most new claimants.

New-style ESA may apply to you if you have been working in the years prior to your claim and satisfy the National Insurance contribution conditions.

If you think either of the above maybe the case, please call our Helpline 0303 123 9999 for advice.

If you are claiming income-related ESA, then you must also be “habitually resident” in the UK. This is decided by looking at factors including; reasons for coming to the UK, the length of your stay, future intentions, and previous links with the country.

These rules are complicated and there are some exceptions, for instance if you are living in a European Economic Area (EEA) country. Contact our Helpline if you think you may have difficulty passing these tests.

Further information on ESA including the rules and exceptions can be found on RNIB's ESA webpage.

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