How to claim

Check what type of ESA you’re eligible for before you apply.

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

There are different ways to apply depending on what type of ESA you’re applying for.

There’s a different way to apply in Northern Ireland.

Apply for ‘new style’ ESA

If you have made an appointment with your work coach, you do not need to go to it at the moment because of coronavirus (COVID-19). The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will contact you to let you know what you need to do instead.

Apply online

You’ll need:

  • your National Insurance number
  • your bank or building society account number and sort code (you can use a friend or family member’s account if you do not have one)
  • your doctor’s name, address and telephone number
  • details of your income if you’re working
  • the date your Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) ends if you’re claiming it

You cannot get ‘new style’ ESA if you’re getting Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from an employer. You can apply for ‘new style’ ESA up to 3 months before your SSP ends.

Apply now

When you can apply by phone

Call the Universal Credit helpline if:

  • you cannot make an application online
  • you’re an appointee for someone

Universal Credit helpline
Telephone: 0800 328 5644 (choose option 2)
Textphone: 0800 328 1344 (choose option 2)
Relay UK (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 328 5644
Video relay service for British Sign Language (BSL) users - check you can use the service
Welsh language telephone: 0800 328 1744
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Find out about call charges

Most people cannot make new claims for income-related and contribution-based ESA anymore - check your eligibility before you apply.

You can call Jobcentre Plus to apply by phone for income-related and contribution-based ESA.

Jobcentre Plus
Telephone: 0800 169 0350
Textphone: 0800 023 4888
Relay UK (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 169 0350
Video relay service for British Sign Language (BSL) users - check you can use the service
Welsh language telephone: 0800 012 1888
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Find out about call charges

If you disagree with a decision

You can challenge a decision about your claim. This is called asking for ‘mandatory reconsideration’.

Reapplying for ESA

You may be able to reapply after your ‘new style’ or contribution-based ESA ends. You must wait until at least 12 weeks have passed before reapplying. You may qualify again depending on:

  • what National Insurance contributions you paid in the last 2 full tax years before the tax year you’re claiming in
  • whether your health deteriorates and you’re placed in the support group