How to claim

How you apply depends on which type of ESA you’re applying for.

You’ll be told when you need to send your fit note (sometimes called ‘sick note’ or ‘doctor’s note’).

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

You can only apply for contribution-based and income-based ESA if you either:

  • get the severe disability premium
  • got the severe disability premium within the last month and you’re still eligible for it

If not, you can only apply for ‘new style’ ESA.

‘New style’ ESA

To apply for ‘new style’ ESA, fill in an NSESAF1 claim form. You can either:

If you cannot download the form or use the phone, you can get a claim form from your local Jobcentre Plus.

You can also get the form in an accessible format, for example, braille, large print or audio CD by calling the Universal Credit helpline.

Make a ‘new claim appointment’

Call the Universal Credit helpline to make a ‘new claim appointment’.

If you cannot use the phone you can make an appointment in person at your local Jobcentre Plus.

Universal Credit helpline
Telephone: 0800 328 5644 (option 2 then option 6)
Textphone: 0800 328 1344
NGT text relay (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 328 5644
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Find out about call charges

What you need to bring to your appointment

You’ll need to bring the following to your appointment:

  • your completed NSESAF1 claim form
  • fit note (sometimes called ‘sick note’ or ‘doctor’s note’)
  • proof of your identity
  • proof of address
  • proof of any pensions you get
  • proof of any health insurance payments you get

Check your claim form to see what documents you can use to prove your identity and address. You’ll be told if you need to bring any other documents to your appointment.

Call the contact centre to apply for contribution-based and income-related ESA.

Contact centre
Telephone: 0800 169 0350
Textphone: 0800 023 4888
NGT text relay (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 169 0350
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.

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

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

British Sign Language (BSL) video relay service

To use this, you’ll need to:

  1. Check you can use the service.

  2. Go to the video relay service.

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

What you’ll need when you make your claim

To help you fill in the claim form for all types of ESA, you’ll need the following:

  • National Insurance number
  • fit note (sometimes called ‘sick note’ or ‘doctor’s note’)
  • GP’s address and phone number
  • home and mobile telephone numbers
  • employer’s address and telephone number and dates of employment or last day worked
  • bank account details
  • details of any other money you’re getting, such as benefits or sick pay

If you’re applying for income-related ESA, you’ll also need your:

  • mortgage or landlord details
  • Council Tax bill

If you disagree with a decision

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