1. Overview

If you’re ill or disabled, Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) offers you:

  • financial support if you’re unable to work
  • personalised help so that you can work if you’re able to

You can apply for ESA if you’re employed, self-employed or unemployed.

You might be transferred to ESA if you’ve been claiming other benefits like Income Support or Incapacity Benefit.

Work Capability Assessment

You must go to a Work Capability Assessment while your ESA claim is being assessed. This is to see to what extent your illness or disability affects your ability to work.

You’ll then be placed in 1 of 2 groups if you’re entitled to ESA:

  • work-related activity group, where you’ll have regular interviews with an adviser
  • support group, where you don’t have interviews

What you’ll get

How much ESA you get depends on:

  • your circumstances (eg income)
  • the type of ESA you qualify for
  • where you are in the assessment process

Use a benefits calculator to work out how much you can get.

Help us improve GOV.UK

Please don't include any personal or financial information, for example your National Insurance or credit card numbers.