Employment Support Allowance
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) is a benefit for people who are too unwell to work. This section explains who can get ESA, how to claim, how you will be assessed and how to challenge a decision you do not agree with.
- ESA is paid to people who are unable to work because of an illness or disability.
- To start a claim for ESA you need a fit note from your GP that says you are not able to work.
- The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) use a Work Capability Assessment to decide if you are able to work or not.
- If you get ESA you will be put in either the ‘Work Related Activity Group’ or the ‘Support Group’.
- If you are in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) you have to go to meetings which try to improve your chances of working.
- If you are in the Support Group you don’t have to go to as many meetings and you will be paid more ESA than if you in the WRAG.
- If the DWP decide that you can’t get ESA then you may have to claim Jobseekers Allowance (JSA).
- If you disagree with a decision, you can ask the DWP to look at the claim again. You can then appeal if you still do not agree with the decision.
Last reviewed in November 2014. Next review March 2015.
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