You can apply for ‘new style’ Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if you’re under State Pension age and you have a disability or health condition that affects how much you can work.
You also need to have both:
- worked as an employee or have been self-employed
- paid enough National Insurance contributions, usually in the last 2 to 3 years - National Insurance credits also count
Check your National Insurance record for gaps.
You might be able to get Universal Credit at the same time or instead of ‘new style’ ESA.
If you get other benefits
You cannot get ‘new style’ ESA if you:
If you get Universal Credit
If you get Universal Credit, you could get ‘new style’ ESA at the same time.
If you get both benefits, your Universal Credit payment is reduced by the amount you get for ‘new style’ ESA.
ESA is usually paid more regularly than Universal Credit, and you get different National Insurance credits.
If your Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is due to end
You can apply for ‘new style’ ESA up to 3 months before your SSP ends. You’ll start getting ‘new style’ ESA as soon as your SSP ends.
If you’re working
You can apply whether you’re in or out of work. There are conditions to working while claiming ESA.