Applying for Employment and Support Allowance

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What is Employment and Support Allowance?

If you are ill or disabled, Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) can be a lifeline when you are unable to work or find it difficult to do so. It can provide financial support if you are completely unable to work or help tailored to you so that you can work if you are able to.

[box type=”info” style=”rounded” border=”full”]To speak to someone about Employment & Support Allowance call  0844 826 0689 now.[/box]

 How to Claim ESA

The best way to claim for ESA initially is over the phone. However, if you go to your local Job Centre, they may be able to assist you in making your claim- just print off the ESA1 form and send or take it to your local job centre. To apply, you will need:

  • Medical certificate
  • Doctor’s address and phone number
  • National Insurance number
  • Home and Mobile telephone numbers
  • Your mortgage or landlord details
  • A council tax bill
  • Your employer’s address and telephone number and dates of employment/ last date worked.
  • Bank account details
  • A breakdown of any other money you are receiving i.e. benefits.

Work Capability Assessment

Whilst your ESA claim is being checked to see if you are eligible or not, you are required to undergo an assessment to see if you are capable to work or not. During the application, you must fill in the capability to work questionnaire- this will ask you about your physical and mental health.


If your disability/illness affects your ability to work and you are below State Pension age, not receiving Statutory Sick Pay or Maternity Pay and you don’t get Jobseekers Allowance, you may be eligible for ESA.

You can apply for ESA whether you are unemployed, employed, self-employed or if you are a student receiving Disability Living Allowance/ Personal Independence Payment.

If you have lived abroad and you are deemed to have paid enough National Insurance contributions, you may be eligible to receive ESA.

Repeat Claims

In the majority of cases, you won’t be eligible for ESA if you were found capable of doing some work following your Work Capability Assessment.

Claiming ESA Whilst Working

Generally, your ESA won’t be affected if you:

  • Earn up to £20 a week.
  • Work for less than 16 hours per week and earn up to £104 a week, for 52 weeks or less.

This is known as ‘permitted work’. You can do ‘supported permitted work’, as part of a treatment programme or supervised by the council or a voluntary organisation.

If you begin doing permitted work, you must tell the Department for Work and Pensions.

Income and Savings

Your income may affect your ESA. You won’t qualify if you have savings over £16,000.

Universal Credit

You will not be eligible for income related ESA if you receive Universal Credit.

If you wish to claim ESA, call the Department for Work and Pensions contact number.