What is Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)?

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) is a benefit for people of working-age who are not working and have a limited-capability for work (or work-related activity) because of a disability or illness. It is made up of two elements, one means-tested and another non means-tested.

If you claim ESA, you will be placed into one of two groups - a ‘work-related activity group’ or a ‘support group’ - depending on your assessment.

There are 3 types of ESA:

  • ‘new style’ ESA if you’re entitled to claim Universal Credit
  • contributory ESA - usually you get this if you’ve paid enough National Insurance contributions (National Insurance credits can count for part of this, if you get them)
  • income-related ESA - usually you get this on its own or on top of contributory ESA, if you’re on a low income.

If you are in a work related activity group, the maximum amount of time that you can receive contributory or new style ESA is limited to 365 days. If you are in the support group, there is no time limit.

Please note that from 01 January 2019 all new claimants who cannot work due to sickness or disability will have to claim Universal Credit. Some claimants will however still be entitled to ‘new-style ESA’. This entitlement should be established at the claim stage for Universal Credit.

Did this answer your question?

Related questions

Brought to you by