Guidance

Changes to contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance: questions and answers

Questions and answers about changes to contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) under the Welfare Reform Act 2012.

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The Welfare Reform Act 2012 included changes to contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance which took effect on 30 April 2012.

These changes were:

  • to limit the amount of time people can receive contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance to 365 days if the claimant is in the Work Related Activity Group or assessment phase. The 365 day time-limit does not include any time spent in the Support Group or the time spent in the assessment phase if they moved from the assessment phase into the Support Group at the start of their claim
  • to remove the special contribution conditions that allowed some young people to qualify for contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance without paying National Insurance contributions

The 104 week linking rule has also been abolished by separate regulations.

This document has questions and answers about these changes.