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.
Claiming Universal Credit and New Style ESA
You might be able to get Universal Credit at the same time or instead of New Style ESA.
If you get both benefits, your Universal Credit payment is reduced by the amount you get for New Style ESA.
Your New Style ESA will usually be paid more regularly than Universal Credit. You’ll also get different National Insurance credits which count towards your State Pension and help you qualify for other benefits.
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.