Housing Systems: Combating poverty and sustaining tenancies.
Employment and Support Allowance

  • ESA is an out of work benefit for people who, due to an illness or disability, would struggle to work.

  • There are two types of ESA: Contributory ESA and Income-Related ESA. Some people receive just one type, others get both.

  • Universal Credit is replacing Income-Related ESA. 

  • It is no longer possible to make a new claim for Income-Related ESA.

  • Existing IR-ESA claimants will move onto Universal Credit some time between now and 2024, either following certain changes in their circumstances (natural migration) or when they are told by the DWP to claim UC (managed migration).

  • Contributory ESA is not being replaced by Universal Credit. It is still possible to make a claim for Contributory ESA. For new claims, it is called ‘New Style’ ESA. The claimant might need to claim Universal Credit too. 

  • Someone will only be entitled to ESA if they are treated as having, or found to have a 'limited capability for work' under the 'Work Capability Assessment'.

Click on the icons below for more information. 

What about UC?

How does ESA fit in with Universal Credit?

Contributory ESA

What is it and how does it interact with Universal Credit?

Income-Related ESA

What is it and how does it interact with Universal Credit?


When a backdate can be allowed

Repeat Claims

New rules affecting people who have been found fit for work previously - details here

Health & Work Conversations

An additional, mandatory interview for most new ESA claimants

Limited Capability

To be entitled to ESA, the claimant must have Limited Capability for Work

Awards & Reviews

How long is an award of ESA for? And what happens when it is reviewed?

ESA Sanctions

Who can be sanctioned and why? Can they be avoided?

Challenging Decisions

Details of what the claimant should do if they are not happy with a decision 

Working and ESA

Can someone work and claim ESA?
What are 'permitted earnings'?

Students and ESA

Which students can claim ESA?
How their student income impacts.

Prisoners and ESA

What happens when someone on ESA goes into prison?

And Other benefits

How other benefits are affected by an award of ESA.

April 2017 Changes

Key changes from April 2017.

Help Pack / Letters

Great tools to help you with submitting claims and appeals