If you're ill or disabled, you may be able to apply for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). This offers you:
- financial support if you're unable to work
- personalised help so that you can work if you're able to
You can apply for ESA if you're employed, self-employed or unemployed.
You might be transferred to ESA if you've been claiming other benefits like Income Support or Incapacity Benefits.
How much ESA you'll get
How much ESA you get depends on:
- your circumstances, such as your income
- the type of ESA you qualify for
- where you are in the assessment process
Find out more from GOV.UK about how much ESA you can get.
Universal Credit provides a new single system of means-tested support for working-age people who are in or out of work. Support for housing costs, children, childcare costs, carers, and claimants with health conditions and disabilities are integrated into the new benefit. This means that more support will be targeted at people with more severe disabilities.
This will be achieved through two elements. The Limited Capability for Work element and, for more severely disabled claimants, the Limited Capability for Work and Work Related Activity element. Entitlement to these elements is based on the outcome of a Work Capability Assessment, aligning with existing arrangements for ESA.
- The Limited Capability for Work (LCW) Element is £124.86 per month. This is the same level of support provided for disabled adults in the Work Related Activity Component of ESA).
- The Limited Capability for Work and Work Related Activity Element (LCWRA), the higher rate of additional support for severely disabled adults, is £311.86 per month. (This is significantly more than the support currently provided by the Support Component of ESA).
The LCWRA element is at a higher rate than the ESA equivalent to recognise the additional needs of severely disabled claimants.
Additionally, disabled people will receive larger work allowances for earned income. The government hopes this will encourage people currently out of work to take their first steps into employment. They aim to do this by increasing the incentives to do even a small amount of work.
Find out more from GOV.UK about Universal Credit.
Work Capability Assessment
You must go to a Work Capability Assessment while your ESA claim is being assessed. This is to see to what extent your illness or disability affects your ability to work.
You'll then be placed in one of two groups if you're entitled to ESA:
- work-related activity group, where you'll have regular interviews with an adviser
- support group, where you don't have interviews