What is the best helpline number for ESA?

*This website advises that calls to 084 numbers cost 7p/min plus your phone provider’s access charge.

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) is a working-age benefit which can be claimed by sick and disabled people who are unable to work, or who have limited capacity to work, due to their health condition/s. There are two different types of ESA; contribution-based ESA, which can be claimed by people who have paid a sufficient amount of National Insurance, and income-based, which can be claimed on its own or on top of contribution-based ESA if your income is sufficiently low.

You can open your claim for ESA by calling either the Universal Credit service centre (if you are eligible for Universal Credit) or the Jobcentre Plus contact centre (if you are not). You will need to open your claim during the phone call, which could take up to about 40 minutes, so it may be helpful to make sure you set some time aside. The ESA number is open 8am-6pm Monday to Friday, and in addition to the standard numbers, there is also a Textphone service for Deaf or hard-of-hearing people, and a Welsh language service.

Before You Call ESA

When you call the ESA contact number you will need to have to hand:
• Your National Insurance Number
• Your bank account details
• Your medical certificate/Fitness to Work note from your GP
• Your GP’s address and phone number
• Your own home address, including phone number, and your phone or mobile number
• Details of your mortgage if you own your own home, or landlord and lease if you rent
• A recent council tax bill
• Name and contact details for your employer or most recent employer, with dates of employment or the last day you worked
• Details of any other income you have e.g. benefits, sick pay etc.

What Happens After Calling the ESA Helpline?

After this phone call, the contact centre will send you a form that you need to fill in and send back to make your claim for ESA. You should send any evidence of your health condition – such as appointment or diagnosis letters or reports – in to accompany the form. Once you have made your claim, it may take up to 13 weeks for your claim to be decided. If it takes more than that, then, if your claim is successful, you will be given payments backdated to the 14th week after your claim was submitted.

It is very likely that you will be invited to a Work Assessment appointment with a health professional before your claim is decided. Along with the medical evidence you submit, this is how the DWP will decide whether you are able to work or not.

If your claim is successful, you will be placed either in the Work-Related Activity Group (WRAG), where you will need to undertake some mandatory work-related activity, such as attending training courses, to prepare you for getting back into work to keep receiving your benefit, or into the Support Group, where you can ask for support to get back into work, but do not need to do so as a condition of receiving the payments.

FAQs

What happens if the Work Assessment finds me fit for work, and I disagree?

Initially, you need to ask for a Mandatory Reconsideration of the Decision. If the initial decision is upheld, and you still disagree with it, then you can appeal to the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal.

What if I need the claim form in an alternative format, such as large print or braille?

You need to let the assessor at the contact centre know this when you call to open your claim, and they will be able to provide it to you in the necessary format.

If I am awarded contribution-based ESA, am I able to do any kind of work at all without losing my benefit payments?

If you are put in the WRAG group, you can work for up to 16 hours a week as long as you are earning less than £115.50 a week for up to 52 weeks without it affecting your benefit payments. If you are put into the Support Group, you can continue to do this kind of work indefinitely without it affecting your benefit payments. You can always call the ESA phone number if you have additional enquires.

Does Voluntary Work Affect My ESA Benefits

Voluntary work of any kind should not affect your benefit payments.

Who can claim for Employment and Support Allowance?

If you are sick or have a disability, you may be able to claim Employment and Support Allowance if you are out of work due to your sickness or disability. You can apply for the allowance whether you are employed or unemployed, and even if you are self-employed. Call the ESA telephone number above to start the process.

Are there any eligibility requirements for Employment and Support Allowance?

Yes. You must not be over the State Pension age, you cannot be receiving Statutory Sick Pay or Maternity Pay, and you must not be receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance.

Please note: If you are not a UK national, there may be more requirements that need to be fulfilled.

What circumstances may affect the amount of Employment and Support Allowance I receive?

The amount of your Employment and Support Allowance could be affected by your total income, the income of your partner, your pension income and the amount of savings you have. The amount of allowance you receive could also be cut if you do not do the activities agreed with your advisor.

For example, if you do not go to the regular interviews or activities agreed at an earlier date, your Employment and Support Allowance could be reduced.

Please note: At the time of writing, candidates with over £16,000 of savings are not eligible for Employment and Support Allowance. Contact ESA to determine the current requirements.

What happens after I apply for Employment and Support Allowance?

To be eligible for Employment and Support Allowance, the government asks applicants to be assessed on how much their illness or disability stops them from working. Once you have applied for Employment and Support Allowance, you will usually be required to have a ‘Work Capability Assessment’.

If the assessment shows that your illness or disability sufficiently affects your ability to work, the government may then ask you to attend a regular activity group or a support group. On top of this, you should also receive a regular allowance decided by the government. You may also receive personalised help to enable you to work.

Can I claim Employment and Support Allowance if I am a student?

Possibly. If you are a student receiving a Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independent Payment, you may be able to claim Employment and Support Allowance as well. Call the Employment and Support Allowance number to discuss your specific case.

I was found capable working after my Work Capability Assessment – can I get Employment and Support Allowance again?

Most often, you will not be eligible to claim Employment and Support Allowance if you have been proved able to work after your Work Capability Assessment. However, you may be able to apply to claim Employment and Support Allowance again if your condition worsens and a new assessment shows that your illness of disability stops you from working.

Alternatively, you may be able to apply for Employment and Support Allowance if you are applying with a different condition to your original application. employment and Support Allowance Contact Number to discuss your situation.

Can I claim Employment and Support Allowance if I am working?

Possibly. As long as you meet some requirements, you may still be able to receive Employment and Support Allowance while working. At the time of writing, you could be eligible to receive Employment and Support Allowance while continuing to work if you earn less than £120 and work fewer than 16 hours per week.

This also applies for ‘Supported Permitted Work’ – this means that the work is either supervised by an eligible local council or voluntary organisation member, or it is part of a treatment programme.

Keep in mind, Supported Permitted Work often has to be organised with or through the correct government protocol to be valid. You may also need to fill in the relevant form to update the government on your work status. If you are taking part in voluntary work, you may need to inform your local job centre, call the Employment and Support Allowance phone number to find the nearest location..

Are there different types of Employment and Support Allowance?

Yes. At the moment, there are two main types of Employment and Support Allowance; contribution-based or income-related. Contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance comes in two different forms, the old version and the ‘New Style’.

The old version of contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance usually depends on how much National Insurance contributions applicants have made in recent years. Whereas, the ‘New Style’ of Employment and Support Allowance is for applicants who are entitled to apply for Universal Credit.

The second type of Employment and Support Allowance, income-related, is for applicants who are not receiving Universal Credit and are no longer eligible for contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance.

How can I apply for Employment and Support Allowance?

The government website recommends applicants to apply via telephone. Alternatively, you can apply via the ESA1 form on the government website. Simply print out the form, fill it in and take it to a Jobcentre Plus Office. If you would like to request an accessible form format, such as audio CD, Braille or large print, you can do so by calling the Employment and Support Allowance contact number above.

You may need some personal details to hand to apply for Employment and Support Allowance by phone or by form. It’s recommended that you have the following things prepared; your bank account details, details of any benefits you receive, a recent council tax bill, your last employer’s contact details and details of your time in employment with the company, details of any sick pay you receive, your GP’s contact details, your landlord or mortgage details, your National Insurance Number, your mobile and home telephone numbers, and a recent valid medical certificate.

What happens if my application for Employment and Support Allowance is rejected?

If your application is rejected, you may be able to apply again through the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal. To apply again, you must request ‘Mandatory Reconsideration’ – this is an appeal of the decision made.

Please note: At the time of writing, applicants must apply within a month of the decision made to reject their Employment and Support Allowance claim. Call the Employment and Support Allowance telephone number on this page if believe there was an error.

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