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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 Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

There are temporary changes to the claims process for New Style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) because of coronavirus.

You can claim New Style Employment and Support Allowance online.

If you cannot claim online, you can make a claim over the phone.

England, Scotland and Wales

Telephone: 0800 328 5644

Textphone: 0800 328 1344

Northern Ireland

Telephone: 0800 085 6318

It can be hard to get through on this phone line.

If you are unable to work because you have coronavirus or someone in your household has coronavirus, you will not have to give a fit note.

If you are unable to work because of a different health condition, check whether you will need a fit note. 

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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