Employment and Support Allowance Helps the Sick and Disabled

One of the government’s best programmes for disabled or sick people is the ESA (Employment and Support Allowance) which provides you with personalised aid and financial assistance.  It is a programme that is applicable to people who are currently unemployed, employed by someone else, or self-employed.

Eligibility

It is important to check with the state to find out whether you are eligible for benefits offered by the ESA programme.  In order to increase your chances of qualifying, you must meet certain requirements.  If you are under the pension age and your sickness or disability legitimately affects your ability to work, you may qualify, but only if you are not receiving money from the JSA programme or receiving SSP (Statutory Sick Pay) or SMP (Statutory Maternity Pay).  The safest option is to check a “benefits calculator” like those offered by websites such as Entitledto and Turn2us.

ESA Categories

When you apply for ESA as a sick or disabled person, you will fall into one of two categories; namely, contribution based ESA and income related ESA.

The contribution based ESA is normally issued for a year if you have enough National Insurance contributions.  Depending on whether your how many National Insurance contributions you have made over the different tax seasons and whether your health condition worsens causing you to be placed in a support group.  If, you have been put in a support group, the benefits of the contribution based ESA is that you can claim it indefinitely.

On the other hand, we have the income related ESA which can be received on its own and in some cases, along with the contribution based ESA based on your income earnings.  The most likely candidates who qualify for this programme are those who are low income earners and who do not qualify for the contribution based ESA, and best of all, there is no limit on how long you can claim it.

Applying for ESA

If you fall into the ill or disabled categories, you can apply for government assistance through the ESA programme.  The simplest way to apply is over the phone by calling the Employment and Support Allowance offices.  Alternatively, you can go to one of your local Jobcentre Plus Offices with the following documents.

  1. ESA1 Form (filled out online or in pen)
  2. National Insurance account number
  3. Doctor’s contact information
  4. A valid medical certificate
  5. Your council tax bill along with your mortgage details
  6. Employer information (as well as proof of last day worked)
  7. Banking information
  8. Information regarding any additional income

Once you have gathered these documents, a job liaison at the job centre will be able to help you apply for the right form of ESA that fits your case.

Financial and work assistance

If your application/request for ESA is approved, you will be eligible to receive both financial and work related support from the government.  You will normally receive the assessment rate during the 13 week assessment period.  If you are under the age of 25, you can receive a maximum weekly compensation of £57.35 while anyone over the age of 25 is eligible to receive up to £72.40 a week.

In addition to these benefits, if you are in the work related activity group of the support groups, you can qualify for an additional £101.15 a week and £108.15 a week respectively.

Categories: Personal Finance

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