'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 £67.20 per week
Aged 25 and over £84.80 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 £67.20 per week
Basic allowance aged 25 and over £84.80 per week

Additional component

Additional component Amount
Work-related activity component £33.70 per week
(only on claims made before 03.04.17)
Support component £44.70 per week

How do I claim?

You can either:

What you need to bring to your appointment

You'll need to bring the following to your appointment:

  • your completed NSESAF1 form
  • GP medical certificate (sometimes called 'sick note' or 'fit note')
  • proof of your identity*
  • proof of address*
  • proof of any pensions you get
  • proof of any health insurance payments you get

* Check your claim form to see what documents you can use to prove your identity and address.

You'll be told if you need to bring any other documents to your appointment.