What is Employment and Support Allowance?
Definition of Employment and Support Allowance
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) is a weekly benefit payment for people with a health condition or disability that affects how much they can work.
Employment and Support Allowance is available to workers with both short and long-term health conditions, providing that they:
- are under the State Pension age
- have a disability or health condition that affects how much they can work
- are not currently claiming Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) or Statutory Maternity Pay
- are not currently claiming Job Seeker's Allowance (JSA)
- have paid enough National Insurance contributions in the last two to three years (or have sufficient National Insurance credits)
The above criteria may change depending on which of type of ESA a claimant applies for:
- ‘New Style’ ESA - for the majority of claimants
- Contribution-based ESA - for claimants who are ineligible for New Style ESA as a result of being eligible to receive the severe disability premium in the previous month
- Income-related ESA - for claimants who are ineligible for both of the above
Our guide to sick pay for self-employed business owners has more information on how to claim ESA and how much financial support you could receive.
Employment and Support Allowance during the coronavirus crisis
In response to the coronavirus crisis, the government has temporarily altered the rules for claiming ESA. Find out more in our guide to claiming sick pay during the coronavirus crisis.