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Employment and Support Allowance
Support Allowance (ESA) is a benefit that will be paid to
people whose ability to work is limited by ill health or
disability. From the 27 October 2008 it replaced Incapacity Benefit
Support paid on the grounds of disability for new clients
ESA has two components:
Contributory Allowance - This
allowance replaces Incapacity Benefit and is linked to a person’s
National Insurance record. It will only be paid for 365 days
unless placed in the Support Group.
Income Related Allowance - This is
a means-tested component of ESA and is designed to provide for
basic living expenses and housing costs for a client and their
First 13 weeks (assessment phase)
During the first 13 weeks ESA is paid at a lower rate while the
Jobcentre carries out a ‘work capability assessment’. This
assessment will determine whether ESA can be paid and whether a
client joins the ‘support group’ or the ‘work related activity
group’ from week 14, the main phase.
Work Capability Assessment is used
to determine entitlement to ESA. There are three parts to this
- Limited capability for work test
looks at physical and mental health functions. If this test is
passed then a client can remain on ESA. If they fail it they will
be advised to claim Jobseekers Allowance.
- Limited capability for work-related
activity test determines whether a client is placed in the
‘support group’ or the ‘work related activity group’. The group
that a client is based in will determine the level of ESA paid and
the responsibility that they will need to meet to retain the
- Work focused health-related
assessment. If a client is placed in the ‘work related
activity group’ they will be required to take part in a ‘work
focused health related assessment’. This assessment collects
additional information about the things that a client can do
despite their medical condition, such as aids and adaptations that
could support a move back into work.
Week 14+ - Main phase
After the initial assessment phase clients will join either the
‘work-related activity group’ or the ‘support group’.
The work-related activity group
Clients in this group must adhere to strict work related
conditions in order to continue to receive the full rate of ESA.
This includes a series of six work-focused interviews.
The support group
Clients in this group do not have to undertake work-related
activities and will receive a higher level of ESA.
How to claim
Download and complete Form ESA1 or phone
0800 055 6688.
Download the Employment and Support Allowance
leaflet (pdf 62KB).
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