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Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

Being unable to work because of an illness or disability can be stressful, and that’s not to mention the additional money worries. Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) could help you if you find yourself in this situation.

What is Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)?

ESA is a benefit that could give you some money if you have an illness or disability that affects your ability to work.

There are 2 types of ESA:

  • contribution-based ESA – you can get this if you’ve paid enough National Insurance contributions
  • income-related ESA – you can get this if you’re on a low income, either on its own or in addition to contribution-based ESA

Am I eligible to claim ESA?

To claim either contribution-based or income-related ESA you need to:

  • be under State Pension age
  • have an illness or disability that affects your ability to work
  • not be claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support or Statutory Sick Pay

To be eligible to claim income-related ESA, you also need to:

have no income or a low income.

not be claiming Universal Credit or have savings of more than £16,000.

There is no need for you to have paid National Insurance contributions. If you receive income-related ESA, you may also quality for other benefits such as Housing benefit, Council Tax Reduction and help with health costs.

How can I claim Employment and Support Allowance?

Step one: To claim ESA call Jobcentre Plus on 0800 055 6688 (textphone 0800 023 4888). They’ll ask you questions over the phone and fill in the form for you. Alternatively, you can download a claim form from GOV.UK You’ll need to include a medical certificate from your GP and provide your GP contact details.

Step two: Contact your local Age Cymru for advice on making a claim if you’re not sure and need extra help.

Step three: After you apply you’ll be invited to attend a medical assessment called a 'work capability assessment' and fill in a 'limited capacity for work' questionnaire that looks at how your illness or disability affects what you do. After this you’ll be told whether you’re entitled to ESA.

Step four: If you’re entitled to ESA, you’ll be placed in the ‘work-related activity group’ or the ‘support group’.

What do I do next?

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