Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) is a benefit for people who are ill or disabled. You can apply for ESA if you’re employed, self-employed or unemployed.

ESA is a benefit to help provide financial support to people unable to work. Employment and Support Allowance also includes a personalised benefit to help you work, if you’re able to.

If you’re currently claiming other benefits such as Income Support or Incapacity Benefit, you might be transferred to ESA.

Work Capability Assessment

You’ll need to have a Work Capability Assessment while your ESA is assessed. The Work Capability Assessment will help determine which of the following two groups you fit into, these are:

  • work-related activity group, where you’ll have regular interviews with an adviser
  • support group, where you aren’t required to have interviews

Contribution-Based ESA

You’ll be eligible for contribution-based ESA if you’ve paid enough National Insurance contributions. It’s taxable.

Income-related ESA

You’ll be eligible for income-related ESA if you have no income or a low income. For income-related ESA, you don’t need to have paid National Insurance contributions. It isn’t taxable.

How much ESA can you claim?

How much ESA you’re eligible to claim depends on your personal circumstances such as; your income, the type of ESA you qualify for,
where you are in the assessment process.