Universal Credit has replaced Income-based Employment Support Allowance (ESA) in Somerset, unless you are in receipt of Severe Disability Premium. There is a new style ESA which can be applied for in specific circumstances.

‘New style’ Employment Support Allowance

Most new claims are for the ‘new style’ Employment Support Allowance.

To get ‘new style’ Employment Support Allowance you need to have both:

  • worked as an employee or been self-employed
  • paid enough National Insurance contributions in the last 2 to 3 years ( National Insurance credits also count)

If you are getting Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from an employer, you can apply for ‘new style’ Employment Support Allowance, up to 3 months before your Statutory Sick Pay ends. You’ll start getting ‘new style’ Employment Support Allowance as soon as your Statutory Sick Pay ends.

‘New-style’ Employment Support Allowance and Universal Credit

You could get Universal Credit at the same time or instead of ‘new style’ Employment Support Allowance. Universal Credit can help with, for example, your housing and childcare costs.

When you can apply for contribution-based Employment Support Allowance

You can apply for contribution-based Employment Support Allowance if you’ve been employed or self-employed and paid National Insurance contributions, usually in the last 2 to 3 years. National Insurance credits can also count.

When you can apply for income-related Employment Support Allowance

If you have not paid enough National Insurance contributions in the last 2 to 3 years you may be able to get income-related Employment Support Allowance.

You cannot get income-related Employment Support Allowance if you have savings or investments worth over £16,000.

Find out how to contact JobCentre Plus here