'New Style' Employment Support Allowance (ESA) is a benefit for adults whose ability to work is limited through ill health or disability.

'New Style' ESA is a fortnightly payment that can be claimed on its own or at the same time as Universal Credit (UC).

To be entitled to ESA you must have paid national insurance contributions over a certain number of years, normally 2 full tax years before the year you're claiming in.

A 13 week assessment phase applies to all new ESA claimants. During this phase you are normally paid the basic allowance of ESA, if you are under 25 you are paid at the lower rate.

During the assessment phase you will be asked to attend a work capability assessment. The assessment phase can be extended beyond the 13 weeks if there has been a delay in completing the assessment.

If you are found to have limited capability for work, you will be placed in either the work related activity group or the support group, depending on your level of incapacity. You are not entitled to ESA unless you are found to have limited capability for work.

Am I eligible for 'New Style' ESA?

To be entitled to 'New Style' ESA you must meet the following basic qualifying conditions:

  • Must have, or be treated as having, a limited capability for work or work related activity
  • Not be in work
  • Be aged between 16 or over, and under state pension age
  • Be in Great Britain and satisfy the Habitual residence test
  • Not be entitled to Income Support
  • Not be entitled to Jobseekers Allowance
  • Not be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay
  • Must satisfy the National Insurance Contribution conditions
  • Must have a GP medical certificate, certifying your sickness

How much 'New Style' ESA will I get?

Assessment phase

Age range Amount
Aged under 25 £71.70 per week
Aged 25 and over £90.50 per week

Main Phase (following the 13 week assessment phase, the basic allowance may be topped up with an additional component)

Age range Amount
Basic allowance aged under 25 £71.70 per week
Basic allowance aged 25 and over £90.50 per week

Additional component

Additional component Amount
Work-related activity component £35.95 per week
(only on claims made before 03 April 2017)
Support component £47.70 per week

How do I claim?

You can either claim online or phone:

After you apply

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will contact you within 10 working days of applying.

If you're eligible

DWP will contact you within 10 working days to schedule an appointment that you must attend. It will normally be over the phone with a work coach from your local Jobcentre Plus office.

Your work coach will explain what you need to do to get New Style ESA. They will create an agreement with you called a 'Claimant Commitment'.

You must agree to your 'Claimant Commitment' before you can get New Style ESA.

At the appointment, you'll be asked to:

  • explain how your illness or disability affects your ability to work
  • provide medical evidence
  • agree to tell your local Jobcentre Plus if your circumstances change

If a medical professional has said you might have less than 12 months to live, you will not need to attend an appointment or make a Claimant Commitment.