How to Apply for ESA

How to claim 'new style' Employment and Support Allowance (ESA): step by step  

You might be eligible for ‘new style’ ESA if you have a disability or health condition that affects how much you can work. 

Step 1: Check if you're eligible 

You might also be eligible for Universal Credit.  

Start your claim by filling in an NSESAF1 form and arranging a 'new claim appointment' interview. 

Step 2: Attend the appointment with your work coach 

You'll agree what actions you'll need to take to get payments. This is called a 'Claimant Commitment'. 

Step 3: Get your first payment 

You’ll get a letter telling you if you’ll get ‘new style’ ESA and how much.  

You'll get your first payment within 2 weeks of your interview.  

To keep getting 'new style' ESA you must send fit notes regularly, report any change in your circumstances and keep to the commitment you signed at your interview.  

Step 4: Fill in and send the ESA50 form  

You'll get form ESA50 in the post within 4 weeks of your first payment. Return it within 28 days. 

Step 5: Attend your Work Capability Assessment 

You may need to go for a Work Capability Assessment. If you do, you'll get a letter telling you where to go and when. 

Step 6: Get a decision about how much you'll get 

You'll get a letter with a decision. It will also tell you if you'll need to be assessed again. 

To keep getting the right amount you'll need to report any change in your circumstances.  

Step 7: Check if your payments will stop or if you'll be reassessed  

You'll be told if your payments will stop and when. 

If you'll need to be assessed again, you'll be sent an ESA50 form. This is normally within 3 years.