0844 248 2557

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ESA Contacts

Department Contact Number
Claims 0844 248 2557
Head Office 0844 248 2557
Late Payments 0844 248 2557

ESA Head Office Address

Department Address
Head Office 100 Parliament Street, London, SW1A 2BQ

ESA Helpline Opening Hours

Days Opening Hours
Monday- Friday 8am-6pm
Saturday Closed
Sunday Closed

What is ESA?

Employment Support Allowance is the benefit that replaced the previously known Incapacity Benefit. If you are unable to work due to being ill or disabled then ESA will provide you with the additional support that you need whilst you are out of employment. If you are able to work, you can receive personalised help from ESA to protect your wellbeing. There are no restrictions on applying for ESA and you can apply if you are employed, unemployed or self-employed. If you have previously claimed incapacity benefit or income support it is likely that you will be transferred over to ESA if you haven’t been already. ESA aims to help people get back to work despite their illness or disability. ESA itself was introduced in 2008, replacing existing benefits.

Reasons to call the ESA Helpline

  • I want to know if I am eligible to receive ESA
  • My ESA payments have stopped and I am unsure why
  • I want to make a complaint about ESA
  • I have tried other helplines and cannot get through to ESA
  • I think I am being overpaid ESA
  • I want to know if I am entitled to ESA despite not paying sufficient National Insurance contributions
  • I would just like more information in general about Employment Support Allowance
  • I am on ESA and have started working

ESA Benefit

There are a few requirements that you have to meet if you want to start applying for ESA. These include having a ‘fit note’ from your doctor with details of your illness, you must be under state pension age, you mustn’t be getting statutory sick pay or statutory maternity pay and you can’t have yet gone back to work. If you are claiming the benefit Job Seeker’s Allowance, you will not be entitled to claim for ESA as well. However, if you are living on Personal Independence Payment or Disability Allowance then you will be able to put in a claim for ESA. You may also be entitled to it as part of your Universal Credit payments. There is a benefits calculator available on the Government website where you can check your eligibility. If you are having any issues using it or would like further information, please call the ESA helpline. Before you begin receiving ESA, you will be expected to complete a work capability assessment which will ultimately decide whether or not you should receive the payments from ESA. Part of the assessment is the answers that you provide in the capability for work questionnaire upon application. The aim of the actual assessment is to find out whether or not you have a limited capability for work and you will be required to do a range of activities from intellectual to cognitive to mental. If you score 15 points you can remain on ESA.

Claiming ESA

If you are working, you can still claim ESA. If you are doing permitted work, your ESA will not be affected anyway. Permitted work counts as earning up to £20 per week, or working less than 16 hours per week (£115.50 per week). Despite this kind of work not affecting your ESA, you still need to alert the DWP if you undertake any whilst claiming ESA. They will give you a PW1 form to fill in and send back to them. You will need to call the Job Centre Plus or the ESA helpline if you experience a change in circumstances whilst claiming ESA, which could mean a change in your income or a trip abroad. The quickest way to put in a claim for ESA is over the phone. If you call the ESA helpline, you will be connected quickly to the correct department. When you make a claim, you will need to have a number of things to hand before you make the phone call, these include; your National Insurance Number, a medical certificate, the address and phone number of your GP, home and mobile telephone number, mortgage details or a council tax bill, employer’s contact details (if you have one) and details of any other income you might be receiving such as sick pay or other benefits.

ESA Support

There are two different types of ESA and it is imESA supportportant to know which one is which if you are thinking of claiming. Contribution based ESA is paid to anyone that has paid enough National Insurance contributions (National Insurance Credits also count towards this if you get them) and income based ESA is normally paid on top of this if a person does not earn a sufficient income. Contribution based ESA lasts for twelve months and then you may qualify again depending on the National Insurance contributions that you have paid in the last 2-3 years and if your health has deteriorated. The previous ESA was known as Incapacity Benefit and many people have had to make the transition to Employment Support Allowance since it was first introduced in 2008. When you are transferred over, you will be put either in the work-related activity group or the support group, depending on your situation. You can be assured that your details will transfer automatically and there will be no break in the payments that you receive. Your payments will even increase if you qualify for ESA and have previously been receiving less money on incapacity benefit. If you were receiving more than the ESA payment then you will receive a ‘top-up’ payment so that you will receive the same amount and not lose out on any money.


Why is ESA Taxable?

Income-related Employment Support Allowance is a tax-free benefit and you do not have to pay tax on this if you are a claimant.

Can I claim ESA when pregnant?

You will only be entitled to ESA when pregnant if you are unable to work before the 11th week of your due date. You have to be unable to work due to an illness or a disability that would pose a serious risk either to your health or the health of the baby.  If it is only 11 weeks until you are due, you can claim income support instead of ESA.

Which day is ESA paid?

Employment and Support Allowance is usually paid every two weeks into your bank account. If your ESA payments have stopped and you are unsure why, please call the ESA Helpline and something will be done to get to the bottom of your non-payments.