Employment and Support Allowance

What is Employment and Support Allowance?

Employment and Support Allowance is a benefit that is paid to people in England, Scotland and Wales who are unable to work due to illness or disability. Personalised support is also provided for people who are able to work.

There are three different types of ESA:  ‘new style’ ESA , contribution-based ESA and income-based ESA. The type that you will get depends on your circumstances and amount of national insurance contributions.

Who qualifies for Employment and Support Allowance?

To qualify for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) you will need to be under State Pension age and have an illness or disability that affects your ability to work. You can be employed, self-employed or unemployed and you must not be in receipt of Statutory Sick Pay. You will need to undertake a medical assessment called the Work Capability Assessment.

How much is Employment and Support Allowance?

The amount of ESA that you will receive depends on your age, your personal circumstances and your income and savings (for income-related ESA). It also depends on the phase of the programme (the assessment phase lasts for 13 weeks and you are paid a basic rate of ESA).

How much do I get in the main phase?

The main phase is made up of support groups for those with severe problems who are not expected to work and work-related activity groups for those who are capable of returning to work. The following maximum weekly payments are available:

  • single person (aged under 25) - £57.90

  • single person (aged over 25) - £73.70

After that, if someone is entitled to ESA, they will be placed in one of two groups and will receive:

  • up to £73.10 a week if they are in the work-related activity group
  • up to £111.65 a week if they are in the support group

How do I claim Employment and Support Allowance?

You can claim Employment and Support Allowance by telephone on 0800 169 0350, textphone on 0800 023 4888 or by downloading a claim form.

Where can I get more information about Employment and Support Allowance?

More information about ESA can be obtained from the Government information website. You may also be interested in finding out more about the Personal Independence Payment.