Benefits for people of working age who are ill or disabled
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
If you’re ill or disabled, you may be entitled to claim ESA if you’re unable to work. You can apply for ESA if you’re employed, self-employed or unemployed.
You'll get one type of ESA if you've paid enough National Insurance (NI) contributions and if you haven’t you may be eligible for the means tested type depending on your household income and savings. This is also available as a top-up to the contribution based version.
You'll need to supply a medical certificate. You'll be assessed later as to your capability for work and your money will either go up or you'll have to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance.
Whilst on ESA you won't have to actively seek work but you may have to take part in work preparation activities and you could be sanctioned if you don't.
For more information read our factsheets:
- How to claim ESA (pdf, 270 KB) (opens new window) (pdf, 291k) (opens new window)
- Guide to completing medical questionnaire ESA50 form (pdf, 1.6 MB) (opens new window) (pdf, 1.6MB) (opens new window)
- Benefit sanctions for ESA claimants (pdf, 313 KB) (opens new window) (pdf, 360k) (opens new window)
If your claim for ESA is refused you can ask for the decision to be looked at again.
Statutory Sick Pay
If you're an employee and unable to work because you're ill, you may be able to get Statutory Sick Pay. It’s paid by your employer and can be paid for up to 28 weeks.