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.

Call the Contact centre to apply for contributions-based 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 alternative or accessible formats, such as braille, large print or audio CD.

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

‘New style’ ESA

Apply for new style ESA over the phone.

If you’re in a ‘live service area’ for Universal Credit
Telephone: 0345 600 0723
Textphone: 0345 600 0743
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Find out about call charges

If you’re in a ‘full service area’
Telephone: 0345 600 4272
Textphone: 0345 600 0743
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Find out about call charges

You’re in a full service area if it has an asterisk (*) on the list of Jobcentre areas. If your area doesn’t have an asterisk, it’s a live service area.

If your area isn’t on the list:

  • call the live service number, if you’re single
  • claim a different type of ESA, if you live with your partner or family - you can’t claim new style ESA unless your area’s on the list

Alternative formats

Call the same number to ask for alternative or accessible formats, such as braille, large print or audio CD.

What you need to claim

You’ll need the following when you make a claim:

  • 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

Appeal a decision

You can appeal to the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal if you disagree with a decision. You must usually ask for ‘mandatory reconsideration’ before you appeal.