5. How to claim

The quickest way to apply for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) is by phone.

The number you call depends on which type of ESA you’re applying for.

You may be able to claim Universal Credit. Check you’re eligible for ESA before you apply.

‘New style’ ESA

Apply for new style ESA over the phone.

If you live in a Universal Credit full service area you can claim by calling the full service helpline and choosing option 2, followed by option 6.

Universal Credit full service helpline
Telephone: 0800 328 5644
Textphone: 0800 328 1344
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Find out about call charges

If you live anywhere else and you’re eligible for new style ESA, call:

Telephone: 0800 328 9344
Textphone: 0800 328 1344
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Find out about call charges

If you’re not eligible to claim Universal Credit in your area, then you won’t be able to claim new style ESA. You may be able to claim contributory or income-related ESA instead.

Call the Contact centre to apply for contributory and income-related ESA.

Contact centre
Telephone: 0800 055 6688
Textphone: 0800 023 4888
Welsh language telephone: 0800 012 1888
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Find out about call charges

You can also fill in and print out the ESA1 form and send or take it to your local Jobcentre Plus office.

Alternative formats

Call the contact centre to ask for accessible formats of the ESA1 form, such as braille, large print or audio CD.

British Sign Language (BSL) video relay service

You can also use a British Sign Language (BSL) video relay service to apply. You’ll need to:

  1. Check you can use the service.

  2. Go to the video relay service.

The service is available Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm.

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

What you’ll need when you make your claim

You’ll need the following:

  • National Insurance number
  • medical certificate
  • GP’s address and phone number
  • home and mobile telephone numbers
  • mortgage or landlord details
  • council tax bill
  • employer’s address and telephone number and dates of employment or last day worked
  • bank account details
  • details of any other money you are getting, such as benefits or sick pay

If you disagree with a decision

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