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Coronavirus: What's Changed - Employment and Support Allowance
Coronavirus - Employment and Support Allowance
Waiting days

For people with the COVID-19 virus or who are self-isolating according to government guidance, or who are looking after a child who is infected or isolating, ‘New Style’ Employment and Support Allowance is payable (to those who meet the claiming criteria) from day 1 rather than day 8. The regulations have been amended to allow the DWP to disapply the 7 waiting days.

This measure is now due to end on 24th March 2022.

The original regulations - The Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit (Coronavirus Disease) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/289)

No need for a medical assessment

These claimants will be treated as unfit for work for the period they have the virus or are having to self-isolate, or are looking after a child who is infected or isolating.
This measure is now due to end on 24th March 2022 (for the regulations see the links above).

Self certification

In response to the surge in the Omicron variant, from 17th December 2021, until 26th January 2022, self certification for sickness extends from 7 to 28 days for SSP. This means no requirement for a fit note to benefits including Statutory Sick Pay, Universal Credit and ESA. 

What about shielding?

Shielding ended from 31st March 2021 - so ESA can no longer be paid for that reason.

How much is New-Style ESA?

A claimant can get up to £74.70/week – the amount won't be affected by either their or their partner's savings or income, though it will be reduced by any private pension the claimant receives if worth more than £85/week.

Claiming New-Style ESA

New Style ESA can be claimed online.

Those who are unable to claim online should ring the UC Helpline 0800 328 5644 (or textphone: 0800 328 1344).

As a temporary measure - from 17th December 2021 until 27th January 2022 - claimants do not need to submit medical evidence after seven days of sickness. The temporary suspension is to take pressure off GPs working on the covid booster push.

Claiming other benefits

Someone in receipt of New-Style ESA (NS-ESA) can also receive Universal Credit, but you cannot get Statutory Sick Pay, Maternity Pay, or New-Style Jobseekers Allowance if you are getting NS-ESA.

It will continue in payment for the period the claimant is having to self-isolate. If they are still unable to work, then they may be able to claim New-Style Jobseekers Allowance instead.

NOTE: If someone is off sick for any other reason, standard rules apply and New-Style ESA will be paid from day eight, not day one.

Click here for a detailed guide to New-Style Employment and Support Allowance on the gov.uk website.
Click on the questions to reveal the answers.

A: ‘New-Style’ Employment and Support Allowance is not just for those finishing work through ill-heath – if you meet the qualifying conditions for it then even if you still have an employment contract you can make a claim for it.
Depending on your situation you may be able to make a claim for Universal Credit and / or Council Tax Support too – contact a Benefits Adviser to find out more.