ESA payments 2020: Is ESA going up? Will my ESA payments increase?

Employment and Support Allowance is a payment given to people who have limited capability to work due to an illness or disability, but who do not receive Statutory Sick Pay. Several benefits have seen a welcome boost with the arrival of the 2020/2021 financial year, but is ESA rising and could your ESA payments increase?

ESA payments are benefits available to people who cannot work because of sickness or disability.

Universal Credit is a payment to help with your living costs and is replacing the following benefits:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Working Tax Credit.


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However, instead of claiming Universal Credit, you may be able to claim the new style ESA.

The new style ESA is a fortnightly payment which can be claimed on its own or at the same time as Universal Credit.

This payment is a contributory benefit which means normally you may be able to get it if you have paid or been credited with enough National Insurance contributions in the two full tax years before the year you are claiming in.

Are you eligible for the new style ESA?

You may be eligible to claim the new style ESA if:

  • You have a limited capacity for work
  • You are under State Pension age
  • You have made enough National Insurance contributions
  • You are not getting Statutory Sick Pay
  • You are not working.


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How much ESA could you get?

Every ESA claimant must undergo a medical assessment by a medical professional.

During the time when your claim is being assessed, you will be paid the following:

  • Up to £58.90 a week if you are aged under 25
  • up to £74.35 a week if you are aged 25 or over.

This has increased from £57.90 and £73.10 a week respectively.

When the claim has been approved, you will get:

  • Up to £74.35 a week if you’re in the work-related activity group
  • Up to £113.55 a week if you’re in the support group.

This has increased from £73.10 and £111.65 a week respectively.

Both of these payment amounts rose by 1.7 percent in April as a four-year-long benefits freeze ended.

How can you claim ESA?

To claim ESA you should call Jobcentre Plus on 0800 055 6688 (textphone 0800 023 4888).

You will be questioned over the phone and given a form to complete.

You can also download the form here.

You will need a medical certificate from your GP and to provide the details of your GP.

Once you have made your application you will be invited to complete a medical assessment called a “work capability assessment” and fill in a “limited capacity for work” questionnaire which looks at your illness or disability and how it affects what you do.

You will then be told whether you’re entitled to ESA and if so, you will be placed in a work-related activity group or support group.

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