Sickness benefits

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.

Find out more about ESA and how to claim on GOV.UK.

For more information read our factsheets:

If your claim for ESA is refused you can ask for the decision to be looked at again.

See our factsheet how to appeal a refused ESA claim (pdf, 189 KB) (opens new window).

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.

Find out more about Statutory Sick Pay on GOV.UK

You may also be entitled to