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Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) - How do I claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)?

Employment and Support Allowance is money for people who have illnesses or disabilities that make it hard for them to work

How do I claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)?

New style ESA

To claim New Style ESA, you first need to fill out a claim form. You can download the claim form from the Gov.UK website.

If you can't download and print out a form, you can call: 0800 328 5644  (Textphone: 0800 328 1344) and ask for a form to be posted for you. The helpline can also arrange for the form to be sent to you in an accessible format.

After you have completed your form, you will need to phone and book an appointment at your local Jobcentre to submit your form. Telephone: 0800 328 5644 Textphone: 0800 328 1344

If you have a fever or a cough please follow the government guidance around Coronavirus and do not go to the Jobcentre.

When you go to your appointment, you should take:

  • Your completed claim form
  • A fit note (sometimes called a sick note) - You do not need this if you are off work or home due to the Coronavirus situation
  • Proof of your identity and address
  • Evidence of any pensions and health insurance payments you get.

Income related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

If you are claiming income-related ESA because you're already getting contribution based ESA, you should call 0800 169 0350 to make your claim. You will need to explain that you are already getting contribution-based ESA and that you started getting it before your local Jobcentre started accepting Universal Credit full service claims.

If you are claiming income-related ESA because you are getting a Severe Disability Premium, you should call:

  • England, Scotland and Wales: 0800 169 0350 
  • Northern Ireland: 0800 587 1377 (Textphone: 0800 328 3419)

You will need to explain that you get a Severe Disability Premium and so cannot claim Universal Credit.

What documents will I need to claim Employment and Support Allowance?

You should give your national insurance number. If you do not have a national insurance number, send in the claim form anyway to save delays. You may also be asked for proof of your identity, such as a birth certificate, passport or driving licence.

When will my Employment and Support Allowance claim begin?

Employment and Support Allowance can be backdated for up to three months before the date of claim if you would have been entitled to it earlier. For example, if you had a health condition that meant you were unable to work. You will be asked to provide a medical certificate to show this. It does not matter why your claim is late. Request backdating when you make your claim.


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