Who is it available to?
Employment and Support Allowance / Universal Credit is available if you have a disability or health condition that affects how much you can work. It gives you money to help with living costs and support to get back into work if you’re able to. The allowance is open to the employed, self-employed and unemployed. Please note,
You cannot get ESA at the same time as SSP, SMP or Jobseeker’s Allowance, but you can apply for it in 3 months in advance to SSP ending.
What you’ll get
Whilst your application is being assessed, you will be paid an assessment rate for 13 weeks of up to £57.90 a week if you’re aged 25 or under and up to £73.10 a week if you’re aged 25 or over. If the assessment takes longer than 13 weeks, then you will be paid the assessment rate until you get a decision. Your ESA will be backdated if you’re owed any money after 13 weeks.
Once assessed, if you are entitled to receive ESA then you will be placed into one of 2 groups.
- Work-related activity group (if you’re able to get back into work), you will receive up to £73.10 a week
- Support group (if you’re unable to get back into work), you will receive up to £111.65 per week
ESA is paid every 2 weeks directly into your bank, building society or credit union account.
Working while you claim
You can usually work up to 16 hours a week and earn £131.50 a week whilst you claim ESA. If your work is either voluntary or ‘supported permitted work’, then you can work more than 16 hours a week, but still not earn more than £131.50 a week.
Supported permitted work is either:
- Supervised by someone from a local council or voluntary organisation who arranges work for disabled people
- Part of a treatment programme under medical supervision
How to claim
If you’re already getting the Universal Credit, then you will need to speak to your work coach or case manager about applying.
If you’re not already getting Universal Credit, you’ll need to:
- Phone the Universal Credit helpline to arrange a new claim appointment with a work coach on 0800 328 5644 (choose option 2)
- Fill in a claim form
ESA/Universal Credit for COVID-19
Those affected by coronavirus will be able to apply for ESA / Universal Credit and can receive up to a month advance up front without physically attending a jobcentre.
The 7 waiting days for ESA for new claimants will not apply if they are suffering from coronavirus or are required to stay at home, so it will be payable from day one.