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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/employment-and-support-allowance-changes-from-3-april-2017/employment-and-support-allowance-esa-changes-from-3-april-2017
1. Changes to ESA work-related activity group payments
From 3 April 2017, new Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claimants who are placed into the work-related activity group (WRAG) following a Work Capability Assessment (WCA) will not get the work-related activity component.
This change doesn’t affect:
- existing ESA claimants who made a claim before 3 April 2017
- claimants in the support group, who will continue to get the support group component
- existing ESA claimants who have a further WCA (re-assessment) after 3 April 2017 and are placed into the WRAG, even if they move from the support group to the WRAG
- Incapacity Benefit re-assessment cases that are awarded ESA
- claims made from 3 April 2017 which are backdated for up to 3 months to a date before 3 April 2017
- claimants who have a break in their claim and come back to ESA within 12 weeks and their original date of claim is before 3 April 2017
- claimants who claimed ESA before 3 April 2017 and their ESA claim was closed due to getting Maternity Allowance who then make a new claim to ESA within 12 weeks of Maternity Allowance ending
- mandatory reconsideration and appeal decisions for claims made before 3 April 2017
Claimants will still get Cold Weather Payments if they meet all the other conditions.
2. Changes to hardship payments
For new claims made from 3 April 2017 ESA hardship rates will change for claimants placed into the WRAG who don’t get the work-related activity component.
This means claimants, or a member of their family, who are in hardship will receive 80% instead of 60% of the basic ESA rate if they:
- are pregnant
- can show they are incurring additional living costs due to their illness
3. Changes to ESA permitted work rules
The 52 week time limit for permitted work that applies to ESA WRAG claimants and claimants who get the assessment rate will be removed. This includes claimants who are already doing permitted work. This means, from 3 April 2017 claimants can:
- work for less than 16 hours a week
- earn up to £120 each week after tax (2017 rates)
- do permitted work for an unlimited number of weeks while getting ESA and keep all of their ESA payments
Claimants must tell Jobcentre Plus straightaway if they are doing or are thinking about doing any work.
The rules for claimants doing ESA supported permitted work will not change.
Benefits of permitted work
Work is generally good for physical and mental wellbeing. Permitted work can help claimants:
- learn new skills
- build their confidence
- start thinking about types of work they could do when they are able
We would like to encourage and support people with a disability, illness or health condition to stay in, or go back to work once they are able to.
Claimants already doing permitted work but they haven’t told Jobcentre Plus
Claimants must call Jobcentre Plus straightaway and tell them they are doing permitted work. If they don’t tell Jobcentre Plus straightaway about these changes they could be paid more or less money than they should. They may have to pay back any money they are overpaid.
Claimants already doing permitted work and they’ve told Jobcentre Plus they’re working
If a claimaint has already told us they are doing permitted work they won’t need to contact us again unless:
- they change the number of hours they work
- the amount they earn changes
We will let claimants know if they need to do anything.
Changes in health conditions
Claimants must let Jobcentre Plus know if:
- their condition has got better
- their condition has got worse
- they have a new condition
If they don’t tell Jobcentre Plus straightaway about these changes they could be paid more or less money than they should. They may have to pay back any money they are overpaid.
4. Contact Jobcentre Plus
Telephone: 0800 169 0310
Textphone: 0800 169 0314
Welsh language: 0800 328 1744
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Find out about call charges