Employment Support Allowance (ESA)

There are two types of ESA:

  • contribution-based ESA – you can get this if you’ve paid enough National Insurance contributions
  • income-related ESA – you can get this if you’re on a low income, either on its own or in addition to contribution-based ESA

If the outcome of your claim is that you’re eligible for ESA, you’ll be put into a group, which will affect how much ESA you continue to receive. You may be put in to either:

  • the work-related activity group: This is for people who will prepare to return to work and will get some support to do that.
  • the support group: This is for people who are unable to return to work due to their illness or disability.


Am I eligible?
To claim either contribution-based or income-related ESA you need to:

  • be under State Pension age
  • have an illness or disability that affects your ability to work.not be claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support or Statutory Sick Pay

To be eligible to claim income-related ESA, you also need to:

  • have no income or a low income
  • not be claiming Universal Credit or have savings of more than £16,000.


How can I claim Employment and Support Allowance?
To claim ESA call Jobcentre Plus on 0800 055 6688 (textphone 0800 023 4888). They’ll ask you questions over the phone and fill in the form for you. Alternatively, you can download a claim form from GOV.UK You’ll need to include a medical certificate from your GP and provide your GP contact details.

Read more in Carers UK's factsheet: Employment Support Allowance (ESA)