This benefit provides financial help to people who are under State Pension age and are unable to work because of their illness or disability.
There are two types of Employment and Support Allowance: contributory-based and income-related (means-tested). You may get either or both types, depending on your income, savings, and how much national insurance you’ve paid.
For income-related Employment and Support Allowance, some types of earnings (including those of your partner) may be disregarded. This is usually £20 of your weekly income. But if you are doing certain types of ‘permitted work’ that you are allowed to do while claiming, more of your income may be disregarded.
Applying for Employment and Support Allowance
When you apply for this benefit, you will usually have to provide the DWP with medical certificates about your illness or disability. You may also need to attend a face-to-face medical assessment.
If you meet the initial medical requirements, you will be paid at a basic rate of up to £72.40 for the first 13 weeks of the claim.
Unless you’re terminally ill or awaiting, having or recovering from certain types of cancer treatment, or have claimed the benefit before in the previous 12 weeks, you may need to take part in a work capability assessment.
The work capability assessment is to find out how your illness or disability limits your ability to work. You may be asked to attend a face-to-face meeting as part of this assessment.
You can take someone with you for support to any face-to-face assessments that you are asked to attend as part of your claim.
If the work capability assessment shows that you still qualify for Employment and Support Allowance, you will be placed in either the support group or work-related activity group.
If your illness or disability has a severe effect on your ability to work, you’ll be placed in the support group and you won’t have to do work-related activities. An extra payment of £35.75 is paid to anyone in the support group.
If your ability to work is limited, but not severely, you’ll be placed in the work-related activity group, and you’ll have to go to six work-focused interviews. A smaller additional payment of £28.75 is paid to anyone in this group.
If you are receiving, waiting for, or recovering from certain types of cancer treatment, or if you are terminally ill
If you’re receiving, waiting for, or recovering from, any kind of chemotherapy or radiotherapy, you should be treated as unable to work or to undertake any work-related activity. This should mean you meet the requirements for Employment and Support Allowance and are automatically placed in the support group after 13 weeks of receiving Employment and Support allowance at the basic rate.
If you are terminally ill, you will automatically be placed in the support group from the start of your claim.