Overview

If you’re ill or disabled, Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) offers you:

  • financial support if you’re unable to work
  • personalised help so that you can work if you’re able to

You can apply for ESA if you’re employed, self-employed or unemployed.

Check if you’re eligible for Universal Credit. If you are, you could get Universal Credit at the same time or instead of ‘new style’ ESA.

You might be transferred to ESA if you’ve been claiming other benefits like Income Support or Incapacity Benefit.

This guide is also available in Welsh (Cymraeg).

Work Capability Assessment

If you claim ESA you must have a Work Capability Assessment. This is to see to what extent your illness or disability affects your ability to work.

You’ll then be placed in one of 2 groups if you’re entitled to ESA:

  • work-related activity group, where you’ll have regular interviews with an adviser
  • support group, where you do not have interviews

What you’ll get

How much ESA you get depends on:

  • your circumstances, such as income
  • the type of ESA you qualify for
  • where you are in the assessment process

Use a benefits calculator to work out how much you can get.