How to claim
You could get Universal Credit at the same time or instead of ‘new style’ ESA. Check if you’re eligible for Universal Credit.
There’s a different way to apply in Northern Ireland.
What you need to apply
- 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
- a fit note (sometimes called a ‘sick note’ or a ‘statement of fitness for work’) if you’ve not been able to work for more than 7 days in a row because of a disability or health condition
- 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.
Once you’ve applied, you’ll be contacted by phone and told when to give the evidence and where to send it.
Apply online for ESA
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 3)
Textphone: 0800 328 1344 (choose option 3)
Relay UK (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 328 5644
British Sign Language (BSL) video relay service if you’re on a computer - find out how to use the service on mobile or tablet
Welsh language telephone: 0800 328 1744
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Find out about call charges
After you apply
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will contact you within 10 working days of applying.
If you’re eligible
DWP will contact you within 10 working days to schedule an appointment that you must attend. It will normally be over the phone with a work coach from your local Jobcentre Plus office.
Your work coach will explain what you need to do to get ‘new style’ ESA. They will create an agreement with you called a ‘Claimant Commitment’.
You must agree to your Claimant Commitment before you can get ‘new style’ ESA.
At the appointment, you’ll be asked to:
- explain how your illness or disability affects your ability to work
- provide medical evidence
- agree to tell your local Jobcentre Plus if your circumstances change
If a medical professional has said you might have 12 months or less to live, you will not need to attend an appointment or make a Claimant Commitment. Find out more about getting benefits if you’re nearing the end of life.
If you’re not eligible
DWP will send you a letter within 10 working days of applying to explain why you’re not eligible for ESA.
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 cannot make a new claim for income-related ESA. You’ll continue to get payments while you’re eligible until your claim ends.
You may be able to reapply after your ‘new style’ ESA ends. 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 you’re placed in the support group because you developed a new condition or your health deteriorated